Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

July 16, 2008 § Leave a comment

I’m not sure I understand something here. I mean, I know it’s all about making an entertaining summer action flick, but who sets out to make such a preposterous action film? Who decides that after someone is hit by a pickup truck going full speed, she can just hang on to the hood until the truck goes down an elevator shaft, and then she and the hero can duke it out while hanging from cables and a tenuously balanced car?

Let’s try something else, for a second here. Let’s remember an old action film from 1982.  A little film called Raiders of the Lost Ark. Harrison Ford is in a huge pit with snakes and a few torches to keep them away, when his companion freaks for a second and shoves a torch in the direction of the bullwhip on his belt, his “Ow, Jesuuus!” immediately making him human and vulnerable. On the other hand, if your hero can hop from a collapsing expressway to the wing of an F-15 fighter and then hang on, the fun goes out the window. At least, it does for me, along with the suspense. Die Hard (1988 ) had action that was vaguely within the limits of possibility and so did the sequels, even if they were less memorable than the original.

Competition in the genre and even the need to top the last film in the same franchise seems to have led to some increasingly cartoonish standards. I imagine the next film will be called Between a Rock and a Die Hard Place, with Willis leaping from the top of Mount Everest to kick a dude in the head. Or, maybe the next one could be loosely based on the Dickens book, Die Hard Times. That might be more original, at least.

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