Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Movies: Live Free or Die Hard

For some reason, sometimes the most fun movies to watch are the hardest movies to write about. Perhaps that is why I've been procrastinating with regard to this post on Die Hard, which I saw for the first time on July 4th, and again a few days later.

As a self-proclaimed "intellectual," there is much that I could problematize about the film: the jingoist, anti-Eurasian race relations, or simply the physical impossibility of a number of scenes (in particular, the final chase sequence, in which McClane surfs through the air on the wing of a kaput F-35), but that is precisely the kind of thing that takes out the fun.

I have to admit that, unlike the first Die Hard, a second viewing also takes out some of the fun. The chases, shootouts, and explosions are so beautifully choreographed in LFoDH that, upon first viewing, the sheer glee and adrenaline rush completely blinded me to the CGI (again, in particular, during that final chase sequence, where the concrete highway starts to digitally melt rather than break, and the curvature of the F-35's trajectory runs like a watercolor painting), which is extremely well done (better than, say, 300), but still not as good as the real thing. The best explosion, crisp and full of that "no way!" factor, comes much earlier in the movie, when McClane drives a police car out of a tunnel, rolls out the door with the car still running, and sends it up a ramp into the air, where it meets with the enemy 'copter in a glorious ball of fiery fury.

For all of its expensive glory, LFoDH can't top the spare, hardest-core ever, original Die Hard, but it does beat out, in my humble opinion, DHs 2 and 3. Actually, I've not seen DH2, but I am assured by all that it's dreadful.

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