Thursday, November 15, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Bruce Willis Franchise Revived by Die Hard 4

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a dozen years since Die Hard 3, but nobody can complaining about the wait when a sequel’s as scintillating as this. Bruce Willis is back and larger than life as NYPD Detective John McClane, an anachronistic, analog crime fighter in a hi-tech, digital age. The point of departure is the Fourth of July weekend, on which we find the grizzled gumshoe taking on a routine assignment to bring Matt Farrell (Justin Long) in to the FBI for questioning.
But soon after he picks up the smart aleck kid, it becomes quite clear that this computer hacker has enemies who will stop at nothing to prevent him from reaching the Bureau’s headquarters. What ensues is a roller coaster ride filled with non-stop, pulsating action which rarely relies on computer-generated imagery for special effects.
The plot isn’t anywhere as complicated as it might sound. Cyber terrorist Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Oliphant) is trying to bring the U.S. to its knees via what he calls a “Fire Sale,” because everything must go. His diabolical plan is to maximize chaos and confusion by shutting down the country’s entire infrastructure electronically with the help of an army of goons, including his high-kicking henchwoman, Mai Lihn (Maggie Q),
McClane and Matt grudgingly become buddies, the former supplying the brawn, the latter the brains, as they match wits with this army of far better equipped, evil adversaries. Our heroes encounter a close brush with death every other minute or so, each one an eye-popping spectacle, whether it’s cars hurtling through the air, machine gun-fire from a helicopter, a hovering Harrier jet, or hand-to-hand combat in an elevator shaft.
A satisfying throwback which reminds us exactly how a big-budget action flick is supposed to be made.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 130 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Audio commentaries by Bruce Willis, the director and the editor, a music video, theatrical trailers, additional Fox trailers, and a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette.

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