Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Live Free or Die Hard DVD Review
Written by General Jabbo
When computer hacker Matt Farrell, played by Justin Long, finishes a program amidst competition from his fellow hackers, he unknowingly helps his employer, Mai Linh (played my Maggie Q), and her boss, Thomas Gabriel (played by Timothy Olyphant), begin a takeover of the U.S. Government’s computer networks. When traffic signals are altered to cause mass pile-ups on the road, and entire areas of the country are left without power, a move no doubt inspired by the real life blackout the United States suffered in 2003, the government attempts to round up all the known hackers they can find for questioning. McClane is asked to bring in Farrell and is assured the task won’t be a big deal.
Always in the wrong place at the wrong time, McClane goes to find Farrell and he and Farrell are attacked by Gabriel’s henchmen who proceed to blow up Farrell’s apartment. McClane brings Farrell in for questioning by the FBI only to find out that seven other top hackers have all been killed by similar explosions. Farrell later admits to knowing who the other hackers were, stating that they were his competition while working on the program for Linh. Farrell informs McClane the hackers are attempting a three-stage “fire sale” on the U.S. computer networks. “Everything must go,’ he says and by everything, he means the transportation and financial systems, as well as the power grid. Computers alone cannot take out the power grid and it is with knowledge that Farrell and McClane attempt to track down Gabriel.
Gabriel’s hackers prove to be too much for the government to stop, so Farrell suggests going to see the Warlock, played by Kevin Smith. Warlock informs McClane and Farrell that Gabriel was a former FBI computer security director who was publicly humiliated after interrupting a Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting after 9/11 to inform them the U.S computer system security had been compromised and was vulnerable to attack. Warlock tells Farrell the code he was asked to write for Linh is used only at one location in Maryland that wasn’t “storing Social Security numbers.” Turns out, while Gabriel was working for the government, he created a fail safe where if the government’s computers were hacked, all the financial data from the entire country would be automatically downloaded into the computer in Maryland as a backup. Knowing this, Gabriel hacked the system so he could download this financial information for himself. Gabriel is alerted to McClane’s presence and captures McClane’s estranged daughter, Lucy (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in an attempt to blackmail him. McClane and Farrell come to rescue Lucy and predictably save the U.S., after which Farrell and Lucy separately profess their romantic interest in each other to McClane – much to McClane’s chagrin.
While Live Free or Die Hard presents a terrorist scenario that is entirely possible, one still has to suspend their belief in reality during some of the scenes. For instance, McClane takes out a helicopter with a moving car by timing a jump just right and manages to “surf” on a crashing F-35 jet without falling off. Still, one expects that sort of thing in this type of movie and thankfully it is kept to a minimum.
The DVD features a number of bonus features, including the theatrical and unrated versions (It was released in theaters with a surprising PG-13 rating), a documentary “Analog Hero in a Digital World: the Making of Live Free or Die Hard,” a conversation between Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis, entitled “Yippee Ki Yay MotherF******,” a music video by Guyz Nite and a commentary with Bruce Willis, Director Len Wiseman and Editor Nicolas De Toth.