Live Free or Die Hard — Check Your IQ At The Door

I dedicate this to my good friend Marc, who has suffered much teasing about this movie. ^_^

This has been a summer of movies that I’ve been interested in really seeing. Sure, they’ve mostly been sequels to date and the latest Die Hard is no exception. The Die Hard movies are in my DVD collection because they are fun popcorn movies. Yeah, there’s a lot of implausible stuff that happens in those movies, but nearly 20-years ago, my threshold for tolerating that stuff was a lot higher. Still, knowing there will be some impossible stuff that happens, I went with a group of friends to see Live Free or Die Hard expecting a certain level of implausibility. Too bad we weren’t the only ones in the theater, otherwise we could have done a MST3K (Mystery Science Theater 3000) on the movie.

So we have a bunch of hackers who’ve been working for the movie’s villains producing bits of code. Once the villains have all the code, its time to kill these hackers. Why would they do that? I suppose they were afraid the hackers could then stop the villains’ plan. So how do we kill these hackers? We hire French assassins. I know they are French because they mostly talk in French. Heck, when they report in to the English-speaking villains at their HQ, the assassins speak in French and the folks at HQ respond in English. I literally laughed out loud by this. Maybe their cell phones have universal translators. That way the French could understand the English spoken to them and the Americans could understand the French spoken to them. Yeah, that MUST be it.

Anyway, these heavily armed assassins have to kill the hackers. So they roll up on the target’s residence, and then upload a virus via wireless connection to the hackers machine. Wow. That’s pretty impressive because they have to know the hacker’s IP address. Not only that, but I rather doubt a hacker would not have his machine well protected against intrusion. However, our French assassins have no trouble not only uploading the virus to the hacker’s machine, but somehow they are also able to execute the virus because it then activates the bomb attached to the hacker’s PC. How a bomb got into or on the hacker’s machine is a mystery, to say nothing of the fact that it has to fit within the case of the machine (assuming it was placed in the machine) and it has to take power to be armed. Good thing the hacker’s PC has plenty or room and a big, big power supply.

So, to get the bomb to activate, the hacker has to press the “Delete” key. Apparently, hackers use the delete key often. After all, we all know that when an application starts acting wonky, the delete key is what will fix everything. Yeah! I’ll be safe from the bomb in my PC because I can’t remember when I last used the delete key. Now, if the space bar or enter key triggered the bomb, well…

Meanwhile at the FBI Command Center, the villains hack in and shut off every monitor in the place, including the giant ones on the walls. Then a little later, they turn all the monitors back on. I know they only turned off the monitors rather than crash the systems because 1) the monitors don’t complain about losing signal from their PC’s (even the giant monitors are connected to PC’s) and 2) when the monitors come back on, everyone’s applications are still running, meaning neither their PC nor server nor mainframe were rebooted. I have to admit that this is an impressive hack to be able to kill the power to every monitor in a Command Center and then turn them back on.

Naturally, the FBI is panicked about this and Assistant Director Bowman is on the case to round up those dirty hackers who could have done this. However, he issues no orders to the FBI’s IT department. Clearly, having Network Support check out the firewalls and connections and the System Admin folks check out things (to say nothing of the IT security team involved in investigating intrusions) escaped everyone. Then I thought, “Does the FBI have their IT work contracted out to The Company (where I work)?” Considering the recent removal of entire support departments, that could explain the lack of IT support for the FBI.

Anyway, good old McClane has to bring in one hacker — Matt Farrell (Justin Long, the guy on all those Mac commercials). Matt doesn’t use a Mac in the movie and like the other hackers, he’s sent code to the villains and is set up to be killed. Before Matt can press the old delete key to reset his wonky system, McClane knocking on the door stops him. The French assassins are anxiously awaiting for that delete key to be pressed. It isn’t pressed fast enough, so they have to use their guns. Wow. They went through all that work to get a bomb into a hacker’s computer but can’t wait for it to go off. So they come with big guns a blazing and McClane has to defend Matt with his hand gun. This is McClane we are talking about so he gets to kill several assassins and even though the bomb goes off while they are in the apartment (because a figure falls on the delete key during the shootout), they naturally survive.

The French report their failure and the villain leaders send them to try again. Meanwhile, they decide to start disrupting traffic all over the U.S. by turning all traffic lights green. Apparently, this means that in 25-MPH zones, cars can go 80, thus making sure to have really good wrecks. Oh, and we don’t bother checking for traffic either because even though traffic is still going in across in front of you, you have a green light so clearly you must get in the path of the oncoming traffic. Yeah, its a regular bumper car crash derby out there, y’all. Come on and join the fun.

So the villains are having their fun by now crashing the stock markets. The French assassins have located McClane and Matt and with their helicopter, try to shoot them as they flee in a car. They flee to a tunnel and so the villains change everything to make it so that all lanes are open in both directions, meaning traffic will collide with each other. That will trap McClane, but the villains decide to kill the lights as well. Turning off the lights was a signal for everyone to speed up, keep their lights off, and start crashing into each other. Even when they turn on their lights, they just can’t keep the foot off the accelerator. McClane and Matt, having left the car, duck a car that has come flying toward them. That gives McClane an idea and he manages to send his car flying at the French assassins’ helicopter and destroys it, though one Frenchman survives without a scratch. What a ride!

So, its time to get another car and Matt lets McClane know that the next target would be an east coast electric hub. For reasons that are a mystery, the villains can’t hack into this hub, so they have to go to the site to take over the computers. I guess the electric folks have a little better security. However, it doesn’t matter because the remaining assassins and “Ninja Chick” arrive in an FBI helicopter dressed as FBI agents. The local rent-a-security actually challenge Ninja Chick, which surprised me. As dopey as everything else had been, I expected the security to just let them in and only later start asking questions at which point they’d be killed. But not this time as the villains kill them immediately.

When McLane and Matt arrive on scene, Matt is supposed to do whatever to undo the villains’ work while McLane kills all bad guys. They get down to Ninja Chick, whom we learn is actually the female version of Colossus from X-Men. She takes a beating that would knock out anyone else and keeps on ticking. Even when McClane hits her at high speed with an SUV and send her through a few walls, she not only isn’t hurt, but barely scratched as she clings to the hood. When McClane finally sends the SUV down an elevator shaft, it is presumed that she died. However, in the super-secret cut of the movie (which very, very few will ever see), she did survive having an SUV “rammed up her butt.”

McClane has his fun with the metro-sexual lead villain over the phone. So Metro-sexual has all the gas pumped to McClane’s location. As we all know, gas doesn’t need oxygen to combust, which explains why sealed gas lines started burning on their own before reaching the power plant and destroying it. It was the subsequent fire that apparently killed Ninja Chick as she was cooked within her metal skin, but alas you won’t get to see that version of the film.

Now, it is time for more hacker help, this time in the form of Silent Bob, who’s not so silent any more and demands to be addressed as Warlock after he accidentally killed Jay at the end of a 72-hour World of Warcraft marathon. Warlock has full power, thanks to some generators. He’s not happy that Matt has brought a cop into his “command center” but what are you going to do? Why if you are McClane, you note that Warlock has a CB radio and the frequency needed to contact him nicely taped to the front of it. Note that because it will come up later, children.

Elsewhere, Metro-sexual has had enough and kidnaps McLane’s daughter Lucy. She does the “check to make sure he’s a cop because my Dad trained me to do so” routine, but of course is still fooled. That’s not a slam, but it does make one think a bit on whether everyone who flashes a badge really is a cop.

Anyway, Metro-sexual and McClane have a nice chat over video and its time for McClane to come to the rescue. Matt’s coming along as well because you never know when the PC guy will want to battle the Mac guy. Thanks to Silent-no-more Bob, they know where Metro-sexual is hiding out at.

They arrive and Matt has to try to undo everything Metro-sexual’s bunch has been doing, or at least set up some security applications to block Metro-sexual since apparently all of our IT workers are in Brazil or India and couldn’t understand enough English to figure out they needed to enact a little computer security on their own. Luckily, Matt’s code from the beginning of the movie is what is needed to get into the secure area where the server where the backup of all financial data in the U.S. is currently being sent. Apparently, no one does a backup until doomsday hits and then everyone dumps to a central server. Good thing everyone was using Tivoli Storage Manager, otherwise it would have been a REAL nightmare. And I’m glad our tax dollars went into making sure there was plenty of bandwidth capacity to allow everyone to backup at the same time to the same server with no problems. And installing the little bar graph to let you know when all dumps to the server were complete was sheer genius, I tell you. It was as easy as putting water into a bucket and having several facets working at once. But I digress…

Naturally, Matt is captured and what’s left of Metro-sexual’s gang flees with Lucy and Matt, who are busy making plans to get busy later on (this was done off screen in case you wondered). McClane follows in the villains big-rig roving command center (where the villains had controlled every computer in the U.S., because a simple GUI interface allows you to control everything, no matter what O/S, application, firewall, whatever stands in your way) after dispatching the driver. Metro-sexual figures out it is McClane, so he quickly has his guy access the military’s system and order an F-35B that had been dispatched to take out his group to instead target McClane. McClane does a real fine job of going toe-to-toe with the newest fighter in the U.S. arsenal.

In the end, all the bridges the fighter took out meant the truck had no where to go. Fortunately, McClane’s favorite movie is True Lies, and so taking his queue from Arnold, McClane gets a short plane ride where he is flung to safety before the jet is destroyed, but not before the pilot safely ejected, and ran as fast as he could to get away from this movie. I hear he even refuses the money the studio has tried to pay him and is now living in a cave in the northern Alabama region.

Metro-sexual’s van deposits them in a hanger (or so it appeared to me) and Matt is forced to undo his work after being shot in the leg. McClane walks in all cocky and kills a few people before taking a bullet himself. Metro-sexual taunts McClane for a bit at close range before McClane puts a bullet through himself just to kill Metro-sexual. Fortunately for McClane, Metro-sexual wasn’t made of steel and died.

The FBI charges in now that all the hard work is done and its time to get McClane worked on in the ambulance, because we wouldn’t want to get him to an actual hospital any time soon now would we. After all, if you are the “hero” and can’t take at least two bullets and keep walking and talking like a man, John Wayne cries in his grave. McClane has to put up with Matt trying to hook up with his daughter, then with his daughter trying to hook up with Matt, the coolest nerd in the history of nerds (and soon to star in Revenge of the Nerds: Mac Rules! where he has to fight off rival nerds trying to make Linux the dominate O/S while at the same time controlling his massive online empire in the MMOG game Eve).

Eventually McLane has had enough and has to instruct the ambulance driver that he needs to go to the hospital. Considering that the driver had just lost 1-terabyte of rare, uncensored Japanese porn and hentai due to the things Metro-sexual had done, I supposed that explains why he had to be told how to do his job.

And so the movie finally came to an end. Did I have fun? Yeah, but in an MST3K kind of way. Its always fun to hook up with friends, even if you end up seeing a movie that won’t be in your DVD collection. Its just sad to see the Die Hard franchise go out like this.

Reader Comments

  1. The assassins should have just arranged to upload Vista on the hackers’ machines. That would have made them explode from apoplexy. 🙂


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