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DVD Review: Live Free or Die Hard

Live Free or Die Hard


The fourth installment of the series arrived twelve years after the previous film. John McClane is older, wiser, and a little less crazy than before. He is pegged as a lone ranger without the comfort of his wife or support from his son and daughter.

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The story opens up with McClane checking on his daughter at Rutgers University. After a funny exchange of dialogue, Lucy "Gennaro" McClane (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) vents her frustration at her dad's interference in her life. The father, daughter relationship is solidified as the film progresses and fuels John's actions as the threat escalates.

Justin Long plays "Matt Farrell." He specializes in math-based security mainly used by large corporations and the government. He has been tricked, along with other computer hackers, in helping the villain implement a plan to shut down the U.S. transportation, utility, and financial sectors operated by computers. Ultimately, it is another form of terrorism. Long adds a level of cool intelligence that has not been utilized in the series before.

More so, the villain actually has a plan that makes sense. It's "brilliant!" Timothy Olyphant is "Thomas Gabriel," a former employee of the U.S. government who was unjustly terminated for wanting to go "public" with the lack of security America has against cyber-terrorism. Along with his cohorts, played by Maggie Q and Jonathan Sadowski, they stay leaps and bounds in front of the U.S. agencies trying to stop them.

Enter John McClane. With Matt Farrell, they become a thorn in the side of the bad guys. The action scenes are impressive. Helicopter vs. Car chases, one-on-one brawls, and old-fashion shoot-outs contribute to the excitement. A few of the sequences are over-the-top, but fun to watch. Without question, it is obvious that McClane is hard to kill.

The Un-Rated version includes a bit more violence and profanity that gives the series its regular "R" rating. None of the added language or violence is necessary to tell the story, which is why the PG-13 version in fine. The chemistry between all the characters works great. The story was presented with a fresh, modern take on what can actually happen in our current society.

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