By Ryan Parsons | Image property of 20th Century Fox.
Live Free or Die Hard
What the heck? I am officially shocked. After reading and hearing a ton of negative screening reports for Live Free or Die Hard, the first official reviews to get shotgunned online are (surprisingly) positive.
Official Reviews: Live Free or Die Hard
'McClane Jr.' has alerted us with news that the tide might be turning for Live Free or Die Hard. Though the official reviews for the film admit that the fourth installment is way more over the top than any of the previous three installments -- something that some Die Hard fanatics will hate, by the way -- the film still pulls it off.
Philadelphia Daily News
Luckily for Bruce Willis and the audience, his die-hard cop still has a lot of yippee-ki-yay in him, nearly 20 years after the first "Die Hard."
Let's be clear. "Live Free or Die Hard" is silly, outlandish and painfully implausible, and it grows more so as director Len Wiseman revs up the climactic action sequences to preposterous extremes.
Yet for a pure summer power trip, it's a decent throwback to the pure-brawn heyday of Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, an agreeable respite from today's cartoonlike ballets of computer-generated action.
The kick-ass spirit of the old "Die Hard" series gets a terrific contempo revival.
Meanwhile, the movie itself insists on keeping its almost nonstop stunts and action real with very little assistance from CGI. So when a car gets launched into the air to destroy a helicopter, or another car slams down an elevator shaft with McClane and the movie's bad girl clinging to its debris to duke it out to the death, it's all real. Well, maybe real isn't the right word: It's simply old-school stunts and movie magic.
It's the Luddite versus the techies in "Live Free or Die Hard," and guess who wins. Back for a fourth round after a decade on the sequel sidelines, Bruce Willis enthusiastically resurrects resourceful working-class cop John McClane as the unlikely opponent of computer creeps bent on bringing down a digital-dependent nation. Tone careens madly from serious peril to action camp and everything in between, but the sheer quantity of often outrageous stunts should help overcome franchise mustiness to entertain general auds and rack up solid returns here and abroad.
Head shaven and still in fine shape, Willis has no trouble convincing that he's still capable of handling heavy action. Long's character spends so much time seeming desperate that thesp has little opportunity to give him other personality traits, leaving Matt a basically rote creation. Olyphant is all unruffled smoothness as the vengeful villain, while Maggie Q, as Gabriel's martial arts-proficient g.f. and Winstead as McClane's initially estranged daughter provide incidental hottie moments.
Check out all the reviews for Live Free or Die Hard by clicking the bold links above.
Live Free or Die Hard opens to theatres on June 27th.