Tag Archives: Timothy Olyphant

Live Free Or Die Hard (2007) Review

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Live Free or Die Hard

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] containes violence & offensive language
Cast:
Bruce Willis as Detective John McClane
Justin Long as Matthew “Matt” Farrell
Timothy Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy Gennero-McClane
Maggie Q as Mai Linh
Director: Len Wiseman

The Director of FBI’s Cyber Crime Division assigns John McClane the task of tracking down a hacker. John ends up working with an ethical hacker who helps him deal with the cyber criminals.

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Live Free or Die Hard (or Die Hard 4) was the fourth movie in the Die Hard series, released 12 years after the last movie. I do recall people being a bit mixed on this movie, especially as it leans into more a conventional action blockbuster and feeling less like Die Hard. To a degree it is partially a let-down after Die Hard with a Vengeance but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

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The movie is definitely ridiculous even by Die Hard standards, with regard to the plot and with the action (particularly near the end). Die Hard with a Vengeance increased the scale to the entirety of New York City, so as you can expect, the fourth movie’s scale is even larger. Live Free or Die Hard pits John McClane against younger cyberterrorists and while the plot does feels very late 2000s and dated, cyberterrorism was a decent choice of antagonism to keep the series from just rehashing the past. Some of the changes do make the movie feel less like Die Hard, it’s pretty much a generic action plot that happens to have John McClane as the protagonist. With that said, McClane does play a big part in this movie working. Despite feeling less like typical Die Hard, I appreciate the changes made to the formula, especially with how the last movie was made over a decade prior, and it does its best to modernise it.

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Bruce Willis returns once again to the iconic role of John McClane. I wouldn’t say that this is Willis in top form, and the movie effectively turning him from a down to earth cop and underdog into an indestructible superhero who survives unbelievable dangers. At the same time, he is still really good here. As a more grizzled John, Willis is surprisingly engaged in this role and still delivers as his character. Live Free or Die Hard is a typical mid to late 2000s action movie with cyberterrorists but the one thing that makes it work is John McClane, it would be a much weaker movie without him. Willis is protecting a hacker character played by Justin Long, who had the potential to be annoying but actually worked okay here. The chemistry between the two certainly wasn’t at the level of Willis with Jackson in the previous movie, but their banter is enjoyable enough. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays McClane’s daughter and isn’t in it much but is good in her screentime. Timothy Olyphant as the villain is fine enough for this movie. He isn’t all that intimidating or convincing, but at least was different enough of a villain compared to McClane’s past antagonists. There is a Kevin Smith cameo in this, while I’m not going to say I disliked it, it was certainly distracting.

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Len Wiseman directs this movie, and his work is decent. This is the first PG-13 Die Hard movie, meaning that the violence is toned down and is less bloody despite the high bodycount. I have issues with it for sure but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. Something you’ll notice immediately is that it looks so different from the rest of the franchise, fitting right into the late 2000s mold of action cinema mainly with the cinematography and lighting. The action is competently handled even if it doesn’t reach the heights of the first or third movies. The action is often cartoonishly over the top and far fetched, but at least it is creative and fun to watch. I will say though that the over-the-top action does eventually lead to a lack of tension since John seems to survive soe many ridiculous situations.

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Live Free or Die Hard definitely has its faults. The story is fairly generic, and it does lose some of its identity of a Die Hard movie. However I do think it is entertaining. The story is at least watchable, the action is fun to watch, and Bruce Willis is once again great to watch as John McClane. Considering many of its aspects, the updated modern day setting, the PG-13 rating, the fact that it’s the 4th movie in the franchise and 12 years since the last instalment, it could’ve been a lot worse. This was the more ideal place for the franchise to stop. Die Hard had to evolve, from 2 to 3 and from 3 to 4 but at this point its lost its identity as a Die Hard movie and would be best leaving it at that. Unfortunately there was a fifth movie after this.

Hitman (2007) Review

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Hitman

Time: 100 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, Offensive Language & Nudity
Cast:
Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47
Dougray Scott as Mike Whittier
Robert Knepper as Yuri Marklov
Olga Kurylenko as Nika Boronina
Director: Xavier Gens

Raised from childhood by the mysterious Diana organisation, Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant) is the perfect killer, but when he is dispatched to kill the Russian president, 47 discovers that his employers have betrayed him. Taking prostitute, and possible witness to his last hit, Nika with him, the enigmatic assassin flees from both Interpol and the Russian secret service as he fights to uncover the root of the conspiracy.

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I’m not too familiar with the Hitman games and hadn’t played much of them before watching both movies, but I knew about it, and more recently I had played the 2016 game titled Hitman. The Hitman video game series made quite an impact even just when it came out. So it’s not really surprising that it eventually received a film adaptation in 2004. The movie itself not really a good representation of the character and games for the big screen, but there have been way worse video game movies.

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This script is written by Skip Woods of all people, and needless to say the writing is about as good as you’d expect from the man who wrote X-Men Origins Wolverine, Die Hard 5 and for whatever reason Hitman: Agent 47 (the other Hitman movie less than a decade later). I’ve only played one game but I’m pretty familiar with what the Hitman series is about, and I can definitely say that this movie isn’t accurate to the games. Agent 47 in this movie doesn’t act like one of those silent assassins like he was supposed to be in the game, he acts a lot more like the other types of assassins, the ones who are flashy, shoot a lot of people and look very ‘cool’. Plotwise, I barely remember what this movie is about. The plot is generic, convoluted and very difficult to follow, the dialogue is rather terrible too. There’s really nothing to connect with or to be excited by in the story. It’s just a rather bland action movie that so happens to have the Hitman and Agent 47 names attached do it.

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With Timothy Olyphant as Agent 47, I can’t tell whether it’s a good performance from him or whether it’s a phoned in one (even though he has confirmed he just took this role for a paycheck), I guess he fitted the silent assassin role, but he also seemed a little boring. The characterisation of 47 wasn’t really the best. Despite being established as a cold blooded assassin, he makes certain decisions that aren’t in line with the character, and don’t really make much sense. The thing is it’s not just that they had a completely different portrayal, they get somewhat close to the character but yet miss in major ways. I guess a few of the supporting cast are fine enough. Olga Kurylenko also works a little bit in her role, especially considering she was placed in the role of ‘forced love interest’. The whole relationship between the two just didn’t work, it was very difficult to buy, even if the two actors share enough good chemistry. Dougary Scott is a police officer hunting 47 down, and Robert Knepper is a villain. They’re not great but I guess they do the job fine enough.

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The direction by Xavier Gens wasn’t all that good, but I guess it wasn’t terrible either. None of the action scenes really fit Agent 47 as a character, a lot of him shooting multiple people with guns. Disregarding the video games however, the setups of them all are fine enough for an action movie. However a lot of the action scenes, especially one that took place in a train station, has too many cuts and so you couldn’t quite enjoy it as much. Not to mention they’re kind of just standard at best, not particularly exciting at all.

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As far as video game movies go, Hitman isn’t amongst the worst of them. However there’s not really enough to the movie to make it worth watching, for both non fans and fans alike. It really missed the point of the games and the character, but putting that aside it’s a pretty mediocre action movie, and the action scenes aren’t even entertaining enough to make it necessarily worth checking out. I guess it’s a harmless enough movie though, so if you wanted to kill 90 minutes on a movie, Hitman I guess is okay.