Live Free or Die Hard

July, 2007, Thriller

Directed by:Len Wiseman

Starring:Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Maggie Q, and Kevin Smith

It’s been nearly 20 years since Bruce Willis brought his particular brand of cynical machismo to John McClane, the New York cop who made his debut in the first Die Hard film. In the two decades since then, Willis, aged 52, has lost the rest of his hair and much of the cocky strut that made the original such a guilty pleasure. But regular visits to the gym and an age-appropriate demeanor render him still quite capable of playing the action hero, albeit one old enough to have a college-age daughter. Having faced down villains like Jeremy Irons and William Sadler in previous sequels, the redoubtable McClane now faces cyber geek Timothy Olyphant, (the taciturn sheriff in HBO’s Deadwood series) in a plot which involves the takeover of America’s computer systems. The plot is as silly as the movie’s preposterous action sequences and McClane’s ally, a nerdy computer whiz played by Justin Long, manages to be as consistently annoying as Alan Cummings was in the disastrous Sweet Land.

Power plants explode, fighter planes attack lumbering long-haul trucks and McClane annihilates whole platoons of bad guys before suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound in what has to be the silliest climax yet in this genre.  But judging by the already favorable box-office results, are we in for Die Hard 5 at some point in the future? If so, it will probably have to be set among the rampantly violent goings on at senior citizens center…

The verdict? Despite Willis’ success at holding off Father Time, even he can’t save this one from quickly becoming a complete waste of time.

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