Thursday, July 19, 2007

Witz Pickz: "Live Free or Die Hard!"

I overheard this conversation in Borders about six years ago:

Guy: You didn’t see Die Hard?
Girl: Nah…
Guy: Oh man, it’s so good, how could you not have seen Die Hard?
Girl: I dunno, I just never felt the need to see it…
Guy: But things blow up!
Girl: I’ve seen things blow up before.
Guy: Yeah…but not like in Die Hard.

While I’ve seen the other Die Hard films (Die Hard, Die Hard II, Die Hard With a Vengeance), it was not until today, when I watched Live Free or Die Hard that I agreed completely with the guy’s statement. I have always loved the Die Hard franchise, and was super excited to see this latest installment. I waited and waited for the right time to see it, and today, when it finally rained, I drove as fast as possible to the theater and bought a matinee ticket (for only 6 bucks which is pretty good these days!). AND I WAS BLOWN AWAY! I mean, I was BLOWN AWAY by “Live Free or Die Hard” unlike I’ve been BLOWN AWAY by an action movie in a long time—and I’ve seen BLOWN AWAY with Jeff Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones and Forrest Whitaker (Was it during Blown Away when the now infamous “Eye Incident” sent Forrest Whitaker from being a casual nobody to a standout Oscar nominee??).

Live Free or Die Hard aka Die Hard IV was just great. It matched every anticipatory expectation I had and gave me two hours of supreme action movie bliss. I laughed, I cried (well, because of the laughing), I ogled, and I was awed by the hugely unnecessary and complicated violence that took place. More than all of that, however, I was filled with warmth that only massively over the top movie explosions (and probably house fires) can provide. SHIT. BLEW. UP. Cars blew up. Guns blew up cars. Cars blew up helicopters. Helicopters blew up buildings, Buildings blew up people. People blew up buildings. People in buildings blew up other people in vans. Planes blew up trucks. SUVs crushed people. PEOPLE CRUSHED SUVS. The random action sequences were perfectly constructed and spread out between the dialogue, actual plot, and, of course, the one liners. In addition, while I didn’t think Mac (of the Mac and PC ads) was necessarily the best choice for the role, he did a great job and filled the role of “sidekick” well. Plus, he made me laugh, so well done.

Which leads us to the following statement: I believe that John McClane is the best action hero of all-time. He is four flicks deep, has yet to disappoint, has killed men twice his size with ridiculous resourcefulness. He makes us laugh. He makes us sit on the edge of our seat even though we know he ain’t gonna die. He always has a civilian sidekick who he brings out the best in. One of those sidekicks was Carl from Family Matters. He has killed someone with an icicle, an ax, grenades, lots of guns, cars, and, oh yeah, his bare hands. He is badass. And he never does wrong. He is the original Jack Bauer, but without the annoying daughter and with a better catchphrase (“Yippie kayay, motherfucker” waaaaay outdoes “we’re running out of time.”). He’s also been around for years, is now over 50 (right?) and still gets the job done. I mean who are the other competitors? Action franchises include, The Terminator, Aliens, Lethal Weapon, Indiana Jones (kinda), James Bond (but only one Bond per grouping), Rambo (massively one dimensional and out-dated), Batman, RoboCop (lamest ever), and numerous others that don’t quite make it to the top. Therefore, I must conclude that John McClane is number one. And if you don’t believe me, go see the movie. It’s been twenty-years since Die Hard I and still, nothing blows up like in Die Hard.

“That guy died…….that guy died harder….”



Cindy said...

I agree, it was so good. I hadn't seen the first one and my roommate rented it and I liked it, but I wish I had seen it first and had that nostalgic feeling about it.

What did you think about the bad guy?

WitzPickz said...

I think the bad guy was great. He was pretty much a regular dude (who I'm pretty sure I play softball with) who was good with computers and owned all the old non-tech folks. It was tough to even really dislike him, which I thought was interesting given that he was the bad guy. I mean, he was just a tough love kinda guy and his girl got killed and the only times he expressed a will to intentionally and directly harm people was when he sent the cars at each other in the tunnel and when his men shot all the guards, etc. Other than that, I thought he was a pretty cool dude (I liked that he knew Freddy), and think he'll be great in a vampire movie someday.

Cindy said...

As far as bad guys go, he didn't do it for me. I felt like he delivered his lines like a robot. He was pretty handsome though. I like Alan Rickman in the first one when he reads the message on the santa suit, "Now I have a machine gun. Ho! Ho! Ho!"