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Live Free or Die Hard
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although this fourth Die Hard movie is the first in the franchise not to get an R rating (which may be more about the culture than the movie itself), it's still full of frequent, noisy, painful-looking violence that yields plenty of injuries and dead bodies. Expect bloody shootings, falls, body smashes, strangulations, punches, slaps, kicks, spectacular car crashes and flips, huge explosions, and ferocious hand-to-hand fights. A boy puts his hand on Lucy's bra during a make-out session; there are also brief cleavage shots and an extended kiss. Language includes an unfinished exclamation of "Yippee-ki-yay, motherf---er," as well as multiple uses of "s--t," "hell," and "ass."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, full of the retro rightness and righteousness that he's embodied throughout the action-packed series. This installment pits John against a digital world. Nemesis Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) is a former Department of Defense superstar upset that his warnings about a vulnerable security system and imminent "information war" were ignored. Now he's seeking vengeance by shutting down all computers, aided by some very athletic associates, his girlfriend Mai (Maggie Q), and the Parkour-inspired Rand (Cyril Raffaelli). So he can keep up, John is supplied with a hacker sidekick, Matt (Justin Long), whom Gabriel wants dead. Assigned to deliver Matt to Washington, D.C., John is soon communicating with FBI agent Bowman (Cliff Curtis). When the feds (along with NSA and Homeland Security) can't solve the crisis, John and Matt take up the slack. And John's answers tend to be violent: explosions, collapsing highways, "killing" a helicopter with a car. Throughout the movie, John displays his trademark crudeness (calling Mai nasty names), unflappable tough guy image, as well as his compassion and determination. Though he's committed, as always, to his "job" (still NYPD) as a means to individual identity, John doesn't claim a national or even an ideological affiliation.
Is it any good?
More than the second and third movies, the diverting Live Free grapples with John's cowboy machismo. Reviving an action-movie style that's quite opposed to recent technological acrobatics, comic book antics, or wire-work martial arts, Live Free or Die Hard presents John as a manly man who spends most of the movie filthy and bloodied, less desperate and sentimental than 24's Jack Bauer, but equally adept at handling "terrorists," fake or real. He's also great fun to watch, going all scrunchy-faced during amazing stunts.
Live Free gestures toward a flag-waving U.S. patriotism, set as it is around Independence Day. But it's focused on John's particular renegade-ness. Even if he shares Gabriel's irritation at slow-thinking government officials, John is absolutely heroic -- and always right.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why we love action movies. What is it about filmgoers that we like to see things blow up?
Talk with your kids about the difference between real life and fantasy -- even teens (especially if they're driving). Point out that consequences exist -- even if it makes you feel humorless.
- In theaters: June 27, 2007
- On DVD or streaming: November 20, 2007
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
- Director: Len Wiseman
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 129 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of violence and acintense sequences of violence and action, language and a brief sexual situation.
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.