Knee-jerk review: "Live Free or Die Hard"

1. That's a pretty lame title.
2. But this is a pretty kick-ass movie.
3. With the possible exception of Harrison Ford in his Indiana Jones prime, no actor can take a beating quite like Bruce Willis. It never takes long for Willis' John McClane to get bruised and bloody and covered in a film of sweat and grease. He always seems to be just barely hanging on...
4. ...then again, the McClane character has by now proven to be wholly indestructible. There's no hopelessly dead-end situation that he can't somehow manage to wriggle out of at the last possible moment (see also: "jumping off a high-rise building tied to a fire hose" and "using an ejector seat to avoid hand grenades"). With this film in particular there's a clear connection to the 1930s cliffhanger serials. You know he'll get out of it - you're just not always sure how.
5. Maggie Q is exceedingly hot, just in case there was any debate.
6. It's hard to remember a movie with this many scenes of people typing on computer keyboards and staring into computer screens with colorful, sleek graphics that only exist in Hollywood movies.
7. Here's how The Cheese Fry rates the Die Hard movies: 1) 1988's perfect Die Hard, 2) 2007's Live Free or Die Hard, 3) 1990's over-the-top Die Hard 2, and 4) 1995's abominable and essentially unwatchable Die Hard with a Vengeance.
8. The PG-13 rating feels a bit awkward, what with the many bloodless shooting deaths and the clumsy use of "jerkoff" as a curse word. It's a wonder McClane's trademark "yippe-ki-yay" line got to stay in.
9. The action scenes here certainly do strain credulity at times (note the spectacular but silly truck/plane fight or the SUV-in-an-elevator-shaft sequence), but this is without question the best pure action film since Casino Royale. And much of it is fairly cleverly plotted, one move ricocheting into another and spinning things out of control.
10. Justin Long, the guy from the PC/Mac ads, is much better than you'd expect as McClane's reluctant sidekick. He fares much better than Samuel L. Jackson did as the sidekick in Die Hard with a Vengeance.

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