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Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

We are twelve years removed from what was certainly the end of an amazing film franchise. John McClane had surely prepared himself for a normal life alongside his wife and children, hoping that nothing like the events of the first three films would ever take place again. Director, Len Wiseman, and writers, Mark Bomback and David Marconi, had different plans for the beloved character. From the second the film kicks off, it is easy for the audience to tell that it had been modernized to accommodate today’s audiences. Modern technology, more action and a straight to the point story was necessary to hook the audience. As film series continue (especially over the course of twenty or more years), they must take into consideration that their audience is continuing to change as well. Opening the film in the manner that they did was smart in the sense that Wiseman and the writers most certainly took into account that they were now speaking to an entirely new audience and that things needed to be sped up in comparison to the original films. The Die Hard franchise has regularly introduced new characters (including new, menacing villains), and while this was only half true in the case of this film, I found that the two biggest editions to the cast (Justin Long’s Matthew “Matt” Farrell and Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s Lucy Gennaro McClane) were enough to get the audience excited. Lucy, while possessing a minor role in the film, brought something to the table that Die Hard with a Vengeance lacked, family. The role of Holly Gennaro McClane was missed in this film’s predecessor and I believe that all who contributed to this film were aware of that fact--making the addition of Lucy impressive. Long’s Farrell, while strange and certainly goofy, managed to fill the role of McClane’s “partner” well (considering he had to follow the likes of Reginald VelJohnson and Samuel L. Jackson). What lacked in this film, more than the others, was the threat presented by Timothy Olyphant’s Thomas Gabriel and Maggie Q’s Mai Linh; it paled in comparison to people they followed. Like in the previous films, it is McClane’s smart mouth and quick wit (paired with his incredible, superhero-like skills) that draws people to the character. He, more than ever, carries those qualities in this film, making him more fun and enjoyable than ever before. This film did not live up to the standards of the first three, however, I felt that the goal of this film was simply to open the door to a new audience and the potential of more films in the future. If this was, in fact, the goal of this crew, then it was a complete success. More action, more family matters and the introduction of technologically-based crimes allowed for an entirely new group to appreciate what John McClane does and is capable of.



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