Live Free or Die Hard

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A disgruntled government cyber-security bigwig (Timothy Olyphant, utterly dull) goes postal in a major way, and aging detective John McClane (Bruce Willis, utterly Bruce Willis) must pause from over-protecting his daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to save the nation. He can handle it; he’s in great shape for his age, plus he’s been through this sort of thing many millions of dollars before. This time McClane’s reluctant sidekick is a computer hacker played by the accomplished scene-stealer Justin Long (yeah, from the Mac commercials), who has a rare and useful gift: He dignifies everything, yet takes nothing too seriously. Including the occasionally thrilling, increasingly preposterous action showcases on which director Len Wiseman and editor Nicolas De Toth dwell at the expense of—well, I was going to say character development. Yeah, OK. Seriously, though, the movie has a weird habit of refusing to let people have reaction shots or even finish their lines. Also, while the vaguely racist brawl with villainess Maggie Q was fine, the promise of Willis beating the shit out of Long’s fellow hacker Kevin Smith, had it been kept, would alone have been worth the 10 bucks.

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