Live Free or Die Hard review by Rosie

Live Free or Die Hard

SH: And welcome back once again to At the Movies with Ebert & Roeper. Sean Hannity here alongside my partner Alan Colmes, sitting in all this week for Roger and Richard, who are off for some well deserved ‘R and R’, no pun intended. Coming up on the show we’ve got a special behind the scenes look at the making of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and why some parent groups are saying J.K. Rowling has finally gone too far. And later, an exclusive interview with Australian actor Russell Crowe. I’ll ask him why he’s not American and whether he thinks we should continue allowing immigrants to star in films that Americans could be starring in. But first, Alan.

AC: But first we can all sleep easier tonight because America’s favorite detective is back on the case and he’s taking down the terrorists. That’s right, Detective John McClane just refuses to die, both literally and figuratively, and now he’s back with an ultimatum for anyone who would do his country harm: Live Free or Die Hard.


AC: And, basically it goes on like that for another two hours or so. Bruce Willis, of course, returns as John McClane, this time taking on a rogue band of cyber-terrorists who have hacked their way into the infrastructure of the government and threaten to bring America to its knees by wiping out every communication line, security system, and financial record in existence and sending the entire country into chaos. Timothy Olyphant also stars as the leader of these cyber-goons, along with Justin Long as McClane’s tech-savvy, accidental sidekick. Sean, if you’re done toweling yourself off from that preview, what’d you think?

SH: Alright, I want you to listen to this and hear me good, Alan. Live Free or Die Hard is the best and most important movie in America today and -

AC: Really? Best and most important? That’s -

SH: Well, first of all, can I finish? Yes, best and most important, and I’ll tell you why. One, John McClane is the quintessential American man: he’s tough, he’s a fighter, he’s the kind of old fashioned, blue collar, American hero that this country needs more of today. If every school that forced their students to watch An Inconvenient Truth made time for this movie instead, we’d be eating cotton candy at Six Flags: Iran within five years. Two, -

AC: Wait, what? What does that even mean?

SH: Can I finish? Can I, you asked me what I thought, let me answer first and I’ll go back for whatever you don’t understand after I lay it out. One, John McClane, hero. Two, this is a message movie that finally deals head on with the issue of the very likely possibility of an orchestrated attack of this very nature occurring on U.S. soil in the near future. If we’re going to have any chance of being prepared for it, we need to bring this issue to the forefront of the discussion with more films like this one. Thr-

AC: A message movie? So it’s a ‘very likely possibility’ that a small group of disaffected Miami nightclub models will hack into all of the central mainframes of government and industry in the near future and leave every federal agency in America chasing its tail while the country crumbles all around us. I’m just trying to make sure I understand what you’re saying.

SH: No, see, no, there you go again. You’re trying to put words in my mouth. That is not what I said at all which, if you had been listening, you would know. What I said was it is a very likely possibility that we could see an orchestrated attack of this nature sometime in the very near future. I was going to make this point in a minute but since you don’t know how to have a reasoned debate, I’ll say it up front: I do absolutely have a contention with the producers about their casting of the bad guys as Americans turned against their own country. I think it was a cop-out, and I think it hurts their credibility tremendously. Everything about this movie revolved around one key issue: terrorism. Now we all know who the terrorists were and are and would be, but this is what happens when you live in a society where the media is controlled by Hollywood liberals who are ruled by their own white guilt and can’t even be honest when it comes to something as cut and dry as who our enemies are in the war on terrorism.

AC: And who is that again?

SH: Oh don’t give me that, we both know who we’re talking about here.

AC: No, I don’t, tell me who?

SH: You know, the sad part is I almost believe you might be that naïve. But this is exactly the kind of liberal paranoia about the (finger-quotes) dangers of stereotyping (end finger-quotes) that is going to leave us unprepared as a nation when reality strikes. I mean, I’m all for equal opportunity but there are some things we just need to leave the thought police out of and talk straight about before it’s too late.

AC: Oh, yeah, there were no stereotypes in this movie. So you’re saying the fact that the Asian girl knew karate, the henchmen were all expressionless Eastern European mercenaries who knew enough gymnastics to fight on catwalks, and that anyone who knew how to use a computer was a twentysomething loser living at home in their parents’ basement with a collection of comic book action figures and Star Wars memorabilia was just talking straight. It must be if the producers were so afraid of (finger-quotes) stereotyping (end finger-quotes).

SH: Some of it, yes. But you see, that’s what you do, you act like everything needs to be black and white but I’ve been trying to tell you for years now, Alan, there’s this thing in the world called ‘nuance’. We can’t all live in Candyland.

AC: Well, I’m just saying, you’re sitting here ripping the producers for not casting the terrorists in whatever way you think would be more accurate but when I ask you what exactly that would be, you won’t give me an answer.

SH: I’m not the one making a movie here, so the question doesn’t even make sense. But if you think you can hold on for just one more minute I can finish laying out my points here and explain to you what I’m saying in a way that even you can understand. Is that ok?

AC: (leans back, opens palms up towards ceiling in front of him in a gesture to continue)

SH: Thank you. You see what I have to put up with everyday, folks? One, John McClane, hero. Two, we need to raise awareness and public debate about the possibilities of new kinds of terrorist attacks. Three, there’s an important lesson to be learned here about commitment and responsibility and hard work. We’ve got a whole generation of kids in this country who’ve been raised by what they see on TV, or by parents who want to be their kids’ friends, to think that the only thing that matters is what feels good now. John McClane is a perfect example of the power of American determination to triumph over those who would do us harm. He does what needs to be done, he doesn’t back down, he doesn’t give in and, in the end that’s what America is all about and what still makes this the greatest country in the world. I’m not sure how someone could have a problem with hard work but something tells me you will.

AC: Oh, is it my turn to talk now? No, I don’t have a problem with hard work. I’m not sure how you get from what John McClane did in this movie to a lesson about the value of hard work, but …

SH: What don’t you see about it?

AC: Well for starters I think he single-handedly blew up and destroyed more property on his own than the terrorists were ever even trying to. I mean, there’s hard work and there’s recklessness, isn’t there?

SH: He does whatever it takes to get the job done.

AC: He just destroys everything! You don’t think there might be any other possible way to handle a situation like that? Even if it works eventually, is it worth it to burn down your whole house to kill one mouse?

SH: Well, you see, that’s why you live with mice. If that’s what it takes to get a rat out of my house and keep it away from my children then that’s what it takes, and it’s attitudes like yours that are exactly the reason why so many rats know it’s safe to try to sneak into and live in our country – because they know you’d rather live with them than do what it takes to get them all out.

AC: Ah, I see, so because I’m skeptical that one aging New York City detective could stop a band of genius cyber-terrorists by punching them, and then punching them harder whenever they say something he doesn’t understand, that means I must be inviting illegal immigrants in to sleep on my couch.

SH: Well, first of all, let me just say that I wouldn’t put anything past any member of the NYPD. But I never said any of that, you did.

AC: Alright, I think we could talk about this for the rest of the show but we’re up against a hard break here. Final word, thumbs up or thumbs down?

SH: Two thumbs up. Best feel good American movie since Rocky IV.

AC: And I’m going to have to go thumbs down. Loud, violent, pointless, incoherent, and perhaps the most transparent piece of manipulative propaganda since Rocky IV. So to recap, Live Free or Die Hard gets a split review: right thumb up, left thumb down. Coming up, Al Sharpton joins us live in studio to give us his top ten must-boycott children’s movies for 2008, should Hannah Montana be worried? We’ll find out when we get back.

5 out of 10 Jackasses
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