27 February 2009

Live Free or Die Hard

So somehow I found myself watching Live Free or Die Hard, which is I guess the fourth movie in the Die Hard series, the first three of which I'm pretty sure I really liked when I was in maybe fifth or sixth grade. Well, according to Wikipedia, Die Hard 3, Die Hard with a Vengeance, came out in 1995 (1 was '88, 2 was '90), so it's more likely that I saw that movie, and then rented the other two. Or probably, I rented 3 sometime in late '95 or '96. And I remember there was a computer video game that my friend Scott had, and we were both pretty into it. I had never intended to see number 4, but it was on, and then I watched it.

I was immediately drawn in by the "hacker" theme, which isn't to say that it was well done or interesting, but that I'm a sucker for movies about hackers. While there wasn't exactly a conspiracy to bring down the government, the movie definitely borrowed from similar visual tropes that movies like Zeitgeist and Loose Change use, as well as portraying the attitude that there are some greater forces at work in the world that ordinary people are unaware of.


After realizing that the government won't be able to help them and going off to beat that bad guys on their own, Bruce Willis (John McClane) and the hacker kid, I think his name was Farrell, (Justin Long (who is the only person in the movie trying to act at all)), have this awesome conversation about how Bruce Willis likes shitty music, and then Willis turns on the news, which is even worse. "It's all manipulated," the hacker says. Nothing they say is true. Oh and he also tells the head of the CIA or FBI or something, that his head would explode if he told him half the things he knows. I really like the idea that this grody hacker living by himself with a bunch of computers in a shitty apartment in New York, believes that he knows the real truth behind everything, because, he can use computers or something.


In the climactic scene (or maybe before) the bad guy tells Bruce Willis, "You're a Timex in a digital world." There's a lot of bad jokes in the movie. My favorite one is when the hacker kid sneaks into the bad guys hideout, and then gets caught, and the bad guy points a gun at him and says, "Is there a problem here?" (or something) and he says, "No, I just got off on the wrong floor."


So, I guess the film actually did pretty well. The action sequences are actually pretty impressive, if totally implausible. Bruce Willis hits a helicopter with a police car by driving it up a tollbooth, which acts as a ramp, and rolling out of the door just before. The most ridiculous part is when an F-35 (which is like a fighter plane) floats around between elevated highway roads shooting at Bruce Willis in an 18-wheeler. I don't know much about fighter planes, but I'm pretty sure they can't just hover above the ground, or go, like straight up. I mean, don't planes have to be going really fast just to stay in the air? I also noticed more in this movie than any other big action movie that I've seen how fake and 3d everything looked.

Apparently the movie was delayed because of September 11. It references 9/11 only once, but the central theme of terrorism obviously borrows a lot from post-9/11 aesthetics, like Iron Man or something. But there are no Arabs or Muslims in the movie, (the FBI director dude looks like he could be Arabic, but is actually of New Zealand Maori descent, at least, in real life) and the terrorist is an American, one who actually was involved in developing the government's information security system, but who was fired when he wouldn't settle for leaving things the way they were. In the moment when he's supposed to explain why he hates America now, he says he wanted to be the one to destory American, before someone from outside did it. That really doesn't make any sense, so the movie suggests he was just doing it for money.

His plan, which the Hacker kid refers to as a "fire sale" as in "everything must go" is to hack into every computer system ever, which are apparently all connected, so he can control all the communication, records of finance, and resources in America. The Hacker has a few clever hacker ways to get around his control of everything ever. The concept of "fire sale" exists, but only in financial terms. While the Hacker acts like the "fire sale" is this legendary Hacker secret that no one has ever done, it's actually just made up for the film, which was dissapointing.

But this is funny:

So, if you're still reading this, I'm thinking of changing the name of this blog again, cause I found out a lot of people already have blogs called "Occam's Razor." Any suggestions? Danny suggested "I want to believe." Which I really like, but I feel like a bit of a poser using an X-Files reference, cause I don't really watch that show.

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