Can you believe that Live Free or Die Hard released June 22nd, 2007?
I mean, damn. I feel old.
Ten years later, and I have such a mixed relationship with this movie. The Hollywood Hacking cliches are offensively straight out of an early 1990’s film, but the dialogue is spot on. The action scenes are completely over the top, and yet they are fun as hell to watch.
Ten years later, I still have no idea how I feel about the film.
Ten years later, we are more dependent on computers than ever before, but if anything, the film’s premise of a dedicated group of cyberterrorists being able to shut down the entire national infrastructure seems more distant than it did in 2007. Part of that is we just have a better public understanding about how IT works today — one of the benefits of being so uniformly dependent on computers. Another part is that the technology has advanced more, and still yet another part is that the movie’s plot has always been… well, let’s be charitable and call it “highly implausible”.
So why do techies hate this movie? I mean, it’s a dumb but fun summer flick, isn’t it? Well yes, but it presented just realistically enough in 2007 that a lot of people believed it was pretty accurate. More than that though, as I’ve said before when discussing this movie: “You don’t go into an alley to get stabbed, but you still feel the knife when it happens.”
Live Free or Die Hard doesn’t mean to fool people. It doesn’t mean to cause a virtual aneuryism in techies and gadget geeks. It just wants to be a fun movie. Fortunately, for the most part, it is. So, the science underpinning the plot is hilariously and offensively wrong. Big whoop. The action scenes are fun to watch and appreciably over the top, even if the previous films felt a bit more grounded in reality. The dialogue is snappy, snarky, and sarcastic at all the right points, with Bruce Willis and Justin Long trading positions regularly as the guy calling out the absurdities of the plot, and there are plenty of those moments to be found.
Ultimately, Live Free Or Die Hard doesn’t play by the rules of reality. It plays by John McClane’s, which as the films repeatedly go out of their way to point out, don’t really ever make full sense.
Live Free or Die Hard is a great movie. It’s fun, it’s witty, stuff blows up and Bruce Willis manages to be himself throughout.
I just wish I wasn’t so compelled to scream “OH MY GOD THAT COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG” at every single turn of technobabble.
And fuck that F-35 scene.
Here’s hoping you all get another opportunity to enjoy this underrated classic of American Summer action cinema on this upcoming Fourth of July.