Live Free or Die Hard

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Live Free or Die Hard Movie Poster Image
First non-R Die Hard still a big blowout.
  • PG-13
  • 2007
  • 129 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 48 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Messages about patriotic duty and helping the vulnerable run throughout, along with the idea that government (and police) and inept and slow moving and that vigilantism is the most effective way to solve major problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

NYC detective John McClane operates outside the law to get his job done: He blows things up, breaks into buildings, steals cars, and doesn't read villains their rights -- but theoretically it's all for a good cause, to save the world from "virtual terrorism."

Violence

Lots: Explosions, falls out windows, fireballs, car crashes and flips, shoot-outs, throttling, kicks, punches, slaps, helicopter door-gunning, Harrier jet missile-firing, non-lethal shots into legs and feet, twisting of gun into a wound. Fights include a thug grabbing John through his car window, then being dragged along and smashed into a dumpster. There's a video image of the exploding U.S. capitol (revealed to be fake); a car flies through the air into a helicopter (big explosion, from which one thug escapes by falling hard to the ground); slamming fight between John and Mai (includes tosses into walls, a car crashing down an elevator shaft, a body falling down the shaft, the car exploding in the shaft); villain shoots his own hackers; battle between John in semi and Harrier jet leaves tuck demolished and elevated highway collapsing -- repeatedly; bloody bodies in close-ups.

Sex

Reference to Mai's "sexy voice" Lucy makes out with boy (she pushes away his hand on her bra); Mai shows cleavage a couple of times; Mai and Gabriel kiss deeply; Matt slows Gabriel's computer downloads by setting loose a pop-up attack ("Sexy Singles," "Cheap Viagra," etc.).

Language

Plenty of colorful "action" language, including one almost-use of John McClane's signature phrase ("Yippee-ki-yay, motherf...," covered over by a sound effect); repeated uses of "jerk-off," "dick," "screw up," "damn," "s--t," "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "hell," and "son of a bitch."

Consumerism

Mention of Arby's.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Injured Matt says he's been dosed with morphine, so his pain has subsided.

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."

User Reviews

Adult Written byKitsune87 December 20, 2009
The best in the Series.
Adult Written bydjrgeek April 18, 2010
It is really an action-packed thriller! Might be to violent for younger kids, but is still awsome!
Kid, 10 years old July 8, 2010

so cool

loods of blood and every bad word yet cool and booming but shood have ben R
Teen, 13 years old Written bymichaelc April 29, 2010

not as good as the original 3

In some bits it is boring, it os not anything like the original die hard, much more mild and much less interesting. No concerns for kids.

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.

Movie details

For kids who love action

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