Yippee Ki Yay Yah: Bruce is Back! Live Free or Die Hard - A Len Wiseman Film

Live Free or Die Hard,  the fourth installment in the Die Hard franchise is an action packed, high body count, roller coaster thrill ride. Bruce is  bald, handsome and he is back, full force and full-tilt.

The film begins with hackers, those who for pleasure break into computer systems, downloading information for an anonymous female, with a silky smooth voice who sends an immediate virus through the computer system. This causes the need to reboot the computer. When the hacker reboots, the system generates an explosive charge. The premise is that the hackers, those who are incredibly advanced computer programmers and tech wizards, are being murdered after completing the on-line assignment.

On the set with Die Hard Director Len Wiseman and Bruce Willis.

This follows with John McClane receiving orders to detain and deliver a local hacker from Jersey. He is caught spying on his daughter, Lucy, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead,  who is caught by her dad making out with a boy who is caught by both being a jerk.  McClane arrives at Matt Farrell's apartment, played by Justin Long, who is obviously skirting the legal edge of hacking as he attempts to escape through a window.  It is then that the movie erupts into automatic weapons, high tech shoot-outs, guns that shred walls, all over-the-top stuff for the simple hacker who is stunned to see his apartment being systematically destroyed by an OK corral meets Star Track, a no one leaves alive, shoot-out. 

Bruce hits the floor returning gunfire.

Die Hard gives you what you expect: Indestructible John McClane taking over the top chances as a straight-laced detective with a wild child hidden within. Now at middle age, his devotion and commitment to his career have cost him his family. His wife, as we learned in the first Die Hard, left him and stayed gone. It is still an open sore. His daughter is more like him, as we see in the movie, and her actions portray her need to be near her dad by choosing to attend Rutgers University in New Jersey. She fights her anger for her dad and her need to be near him and ends up a female version of him.  

There was not one premise that was unbelievable. The scenes, however, are a different story. That, I will get to later. Although I don't know if Fire Sale, as in Everything Must Go,  is an actual tech term it makes sense. The infrastructure, macroeconomics, the ability of a country to sustain itself, is also the avenue for a country's destruction.

That is wartime strategy. Disgruntled government workers going Postal does not always equate to picking up a gun. That is the premise here. A disgruntled post 9-11 high-level tech man concerned over the vulnerability of the infrastructure of his country designs a computer program system that will create a protective firewall. His ideas and software program are met with resistance and he is finally terminated and his plan and computer program design are never implemented.

The stunning special effects include this car helicopter crash.

He becomes his country's worst enemy. He puts in place the computer software and simultaneously a major portion of the eastern seaboard states are without electricity, reduced to chaos. He works at stopping, without possibility for re-starting, the entire transportation, media and electrical power systems reminiscent of the Black Out of 2003 that caused the entire eastern half of the country and half of Canada to lose power.

This sends McClane and Hacker Farrell to Washington, D.C to FBI Homeland Security Headquarters. By the time they reach D.C. the former G-man, Thomas Gabriel played by Timothy Olyphant has gone postal and chaos is in the street. McClane and Farrell are left to their own resource to figure out who, what, when and where. As the entire country is now in an infrastructure melt down the FBI is somewhat unavailable. Not surprising.

McClane and Farrell plot their next move.

So between the two of them, a hacker and a wacker, they are able to destroy the majority of the foreign terrorists who are assisting the G-man and figure out the programming codes and second guess the next moves. This takes them to Philadelphia to an on-line friend of Matt Farrell's who has adopted the name Warlock. McClane asks Farrell "how will we be able to find his house?" To which Farrell responds "it will be the only one with lights."  The Warlock, played by Kevin Smith, is a tech wizard and savvy enough to have hacked into a main power generator and supplied his home with electricity. There is an exchange of tech admiration and language, none of which I understood, and the audience discovers the Warlock has maintained one tie to a non-computer past: A CB Radio.

The action sequences were packed with explosive, in your face, heart pounding, fast attention grabbing scenes. An action filled roller coaster of thrills and unending special effects. Even the pan-caking of the highway after an F-14 takes it out with a heat seeking, lock and load, bomb seemed genuine in that I could envision an actual sequence like this during news reporting of an Earthquake.

Bruce barely escapes being taken out by a misguided F-14.

Under the direction of Len Wiseman, the movie's explosive sequences are stunning and without flaw. The Mai Lihn/Bruce Willis Martial Art sequences were not believable. For a woman of Maggie Q/Mai Lihn's weight it is impossible to knock a man of Mr. Willis' weight through a plate glass window with a stiletto packed sidekick. She might have been able to pierce his heart. This entire sequence reminded me of Lindsay Wagner and the Bionic Women. This chick was not going to die!  

As I watched her blood stained emotionless face as she was picking herself up off the floor with her hair still immaculately in place I felt like I that I was watching Ah-Nold in The Terminator. I have to admit driving her into a cement wall with her legs dangling over the front of the SUV, I could almost hear her saying, "I'll be back!"

Maggi Q, manhandling Matt Farrell as he attempts to subvert the plans for destruction.

Other minor flaws, the creation of the FBI badges were authentic in their depiction of a FBI building pass and yet clearly not authentic as government issued FBI Identification. This is a common tactic for con artists to laminate a corporate building pass.

Mr. Willis was able to portray important messages, "No means No" in the film and yet almost in contradiction there are several instances where violence against women is portrayed unnecessarily. 

Thomas Gabriel holds Lucy McClane hostage.

The use of high tech wizards to explain the advancement of the computer capabilities and destructibility's was beyond plausible almost prophetic. The CB radio, a staple in any high tech computer wizards War Chest was a reminder that when all else fails the tried and true is what will get you through.

Bruce remained true to his character and didn't tech up for this movie. According to the movie, he is a "Timex in a digital age." And just like the CB radio in Warlock's den when the digital goes you can always depend on the Timex. 

Bruce is bald, handsome and back with a huge summer hit.

And you can always depend on Bruce to deliver an action packed thrill ride as NYPD Detective John McClane.

All photos courtesy of www.ign.com and Twentieth Century Fox where indicated.

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