In honor of "Live Free or Die Hard’s" PG-13 rating, this review has been edited from its original R rated version for a teenage friendly PG-13. Apologies to those readers expecting a few more curse words this week.
Yippie-kay-ya, mother-fudge cake! John McClane, the original everyman hero, is back again in "Live Free or Die Hard," the fourth installment of the "Die Hard" series. Bruce Willis, who plays the formally seriously foul mouthed McClane, has been touting this installment as the best "Die Hard" since the first film, which basically defined an entire genre of action cinema, and he may not just have been spewing bull dung. It’s definitely far better written and conceived than "Die Harder," and has even more action crammed into it than "Die Hard with a Vengeance."
Action is what this movie is all about. Not that the "Die Hard" films are known for their incredibly complex or even believable plots, but "Live Free" is the gosh darn champion of avoiding logic and sense in order to present non-stop, all out action. This time McClane, who by now must be considered a heavy liability for any police force that hires him even if he does seem to be curiously invincible, is once again sucked into a terrorist plot when he’s sent to pick up hacker Matt Farrell, (Justin Long, insert dumb-butt Mac joke here), who is suspected of hacking into the CIA’s computer and tasked with escorting him to Washington D.C., which looks disappointingly like LA with a few wide shots of the Washington Monument thrown in.
After the real bad guys show up and start to wreak havoc in downtown D.C. and that hot hub of civilization, West Virginia, it’s pretty easy to stop thinking and start shouting "Dang Yes! That was awesome!" as PG-13 action sequence after action sequence piles up.
That PG-13 doesn’t really do all that much dampening of the violence, though, as most of the fights are more intense than any in previous films. McClane still cusses like a sailor, even if it’s only "jackarse" and
"A-hole" instead of constantly dropping the F-bomb.
Why does the amount of cussing even matter? Because it's John McClane — a hard nosed, rough edged, jerk face, action hero from a time before super-hero movies, kung-fu films and overbearing political correctness. The PG-13 rating, for many fans, was a serious threat to keeping McClane old school. Director Les Wiseman and Willis realized this, keeping the fights and action very down to earth and rough-and-tumble until the inevitable jumping of the shark near the end of the film.
McClane has always been non-apologetic and terribly un-PC; but in a world that is constantly moving away from this old school attitude, it’s good to know not even a PG-13 rating can stop him from kicking some serious rump roast.