This Film is NOT a Future Release.
The Following Preview has been Archived.
January 1st, 2007:
In the past few years, the aging John McClane (Bruce Willis
) has spent his time in and out of Alcoholics Anonymous and has managed to get divorced from his wife. He is no longer employed by the police department, but has found a position with Homeland Security chasing dangerous computer hackers. On his way to turn a young hacker named Matt Foster (Justin Long
) into custody, he experiences a modern version of a terrorist attack first hand when he gets stuck in traffic. A group of hackers have struck at the vulnerable United States computer infrastructure and are systematically shutting it down, beginning with the traffic light system. As they move on to crash banking networks and the stock market, the indexes plummet and America’s economy becomes crippled. As usual, McClane gets caught up in the middle of the excitement. It turns out that the recently captured Matt seems bright enough to understand exactly what the terrorists are doing and what steps they are taking to achieve their mission. The sophisticated criminals have a nearly foolproof plan to bring the country to a halt, but they didn’t count on an old-school cop and his computer geek buddy to figure things out. Soon, the crime-fighting duo of McClane and Foster are pulling out all the stops and matching wits with the terrorists, hoping to figure out the motives behind their actions and to stop them before the entire nation collapses to its knees on the anniversary day of its independence.What to Expect:
The first screenplay for the fourth installment in this popular franchise needed a serious rewrite due to a controversial action scene that would have been in poor taste if it had been left in. An elaborate sequence that took place in New Orleans featured the terrorists using a freight train to cause a massive explosion by having it jump rails and fall of a bridge directly onto a fuel tanker below. The enormous blast would have subsequently caused 70-foot-tall waves to flip the vessels in the canal and flood parts of the city. As spectacular and exciting as the scene sounds, it would have been inappropriate following last year’s Hurricane Katrina tragedy, from which New Orleans is still reeling. Instead, the film has adopted New Hampshire’s state motto, “Live free or die,” as its title and has taken a decidedly patriotic route by having the story take place on Independence Day. With the release date scheduled on the weekend prior to the holiday and rumors that it may actually be moved to July 4th, the producers are attempting to promote it as not only a film, but rather an event that will be incorporated into everyday American lives. As silly as this sort of advertising is, it frequently works quite well. Article continues below
The three prior films in the series have grossed nearly $300 million domestically and $729 million worldwide and that doesn’t even take into account video or DVD sales and rentals. The original, and still the best, was action movie perfection and although the next two entries never quite lived up to it, the franchise has maintained a solid level of quality, similarly to the Lethal Weapon movies (excluding the fourth one). Director John McTiernan
helmed the first and third parts, which were also probably the best two in the series, and there were rumors of him returning for the fourth installment as well, but a case that incriminated him for lying to the F.B.I. about a wiretapping scandal (to which he pled guilty) has filled up his schedule. Producers were looking to give the series a new slant with a young, up-and-coming director and so they decided on Len Wiseman
, who directed the two mediocre Underworld movies. Since their idea of “modernizing” the series basically consists of having the story revolve around computers, which have been around for decades, I wouldn’t really call their updates very drastic. Writers David Marconi (Enemy of the State) and Mark Bomback (Godsend) have been accredited with the script. Marconi’s original script had terrorists flying a jumbo jet into Manhattan by remote control, which was shelved after the 9/11 attacks. Later, Bomback was brought on to retool the premise.
With the exception of hero John McClane, no other characters from past Die Hard films are returning for the third sequel. The new McClane looks old and a little strange without any hair, but he’s still the same low-tech cop, who largely depends on fist fights to get him out of trouble. As usual, he becomes involved in the villains’ plot after being in the wrong place at the wrong time and after that, the fate of the country will basically rest on his shoulders. Bruce Willis rejected several scripts before agreeing to the current version. In interviews in the past, the actor expressed some displeasure with the series, claiming that only the first flick had any merits to it. He has also admitted to being bored with the character, which makes me wonder if his jaded attitude will be reflected in his performance. Hopefully, he will not simply dial in his performance and somehow, his apathy will be used toward the movie’s benefit.
With Justin Long (Accepted
, The Break-Up
, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story) playing Matt Foster, the film essentially becomes a buddy flick, not altogether different from the previous installment, Die Hard: With a Vengeance. While Willis will provide the brawn, Long will be the brains and the comic relief. His role truly has some scene-stealing potential and the young actor is likeable and capable enough to make the best of it. Some have already pointed out that the pairing is a bit laughable given Long’s appearance in Apple commercials and McClane’s fear of technology. In this case, McClane would be the bungling PC guy from the advertisements, and the duo would stretch the comedy act for two hours.
The film’s villains are actually quite promising, especially with character actor Jeffrey Wright
(Broken Flowers, Syriana, Casino Royale
) leading the charge. The talented performer can easily craft a cold, brilliant mastermind who would bring more than enough plausibility to the story, but there’s always a wide range of possibilities of what he may actually bring to the table. Timothy Olyphant
(Go, Dreamcatcher, A Man Apart) has already played some sinister characters in the past so he should fit right in as well. However, I cannot quite see him as the mastermind of the scheme so hopefully Wright will be the one orchestrating the plot. The attractive Maggie Q
(Mission: Impossible III
, Balls of Fury
) will also be on the bad guys’ side as a super-hacker who will constantly be trying to stay a step ahead of McClane and Foster.
Rising starlet Mary Elizabeth Winstead
(Final Destination 3
, Sky High, The Ring Two) has been cast as John McClane’s daughter Lucy so the plot is bound to feature some family drama. Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan
, and Paris Hilton were all either rumored or considered for the part, while Jessica Simpson
actually auditioned, unsuccessfully. If either one of those four made it into the movie, the flick would have immediately lost all credibility. After Willis worked with Justin Timberlake
on the upcoming Alpha Dog
, he was so impressed with the pop star’s abilities that he approached him to play his son in the movie. The move would have probably alienated fans as much as it would have if any of the four tabloid queens above made it in.
In an earlier script, the story begins to unwind when Foster discovers that, to orchestrate their attack, the hackers follow instructions from a book written by a computer prodigy that once worked for the government. After being deemed a security risk and being let go from his post, the man went on to write a book that outlined, in great detail, exactly how to crash an empire like America, by using cyber-terrorism. The key would be for the hackers to carry out the entire attack in less than 3 days, as this would destroy the infrastructure faster than it can be fixed.
The filmmakers are promising that Live Free or Die Hard will be a much more epic film than the other three and that the nationwide threat will take the series to a much grander scale. Filming has taken place in downtown Baltimore, with Washington D.C. being involved in the shoot as well. While that sounds epic enough, this time around there doesn’t seem to be anything personal at stake for McClane. In the past, usually his wife was involved somehow, which made the action so much more urgent and suspenseful. Hopefully, the lack of a personal interest coupled together with Willis’ weary approach toward the character will not result in a dull action flick, full of meaningless explosions.In Conclusion:
Live Free or Die Hard will stand on its own and familiarity with the franchise up to this point will not be necessary in order to enjoy the movie. The teaser trailer
seems to suggest that this will be pure action
once again, but there have been some disappointing rumors that the flick could end up being a safe, watered-down, PG-13 rated popcorn movie for the masses. Hopefully that will not happen because that would mean that McClane would not get to utter his trademark catch-phrase, “Yippie-kay-yay, motherf***er!” The film should offer up some fun, but I’m worried that it will be a lame finale, much like the fourth installment in the Lethal Weapon series. And J. Long may not attract the same crowds that J. Li did. Additionally, the problem that Live Free or Die Hard will run into is that it will have to compete against Transformers
and that’s not a good place to be.Similar Titles: Bad Boys
, Lethal Weapon 4
, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines