I believe that the first Die Hard is a perfect action film. The one that all other action films should aim for when trying to be great. The sequels not-so-much. Part 2 & 3 are both okay, they'd be mostly forgettable and not re-watchable if they didn't continue the adventures of John McClane. So I was completely surprised when Live Free or Die Hard proved to be an action film that could actually stand up on its own.
Like most people I was pretty skeptical when I heard they were making another Die Hard. I didn't want to see another weak flick tarnishing the reputation of the first. I didn't bother to see it in theaters, but my interest was piqued when I heard good reviews coming back.
This time McClane has to take on some hacker terrorists after they take down the entire country's computer system. The always reliable Timothy Olyphant, proves to be a worthy advisory. Maggie Q kicks some ass as his girlfriend/sidekick; the best scene in the film is when she and McClane go head-to-head in the bowels of a electrical plant. I thought that Justin Long would bring down the film as the comic-side-kick, and he did a slight bit, but the screenwriters do a good job of not making him too annoying, and actually useful by continuing to come up with reasons for McClane to keep him around.
But the real reason the film works is the action. There are some genuinely inventive and exciting action scenes. From shoot-outs, car chases and hand-to-hand combat, they continue to up the action, until McClane is literally hanging off the side of a hovering jet. Director Len Wisemen, of Underworld fame, does a wonderful job of bringing the series into the 21st century. I would be interested in seeing another sequel if he's behind the camera. Otherwise, this film proves to be a nice bookend for the series.