Coming July 2007
The trailer for Live Free Or Die Hard that's been on the internet for a day now was apparently leaked or accidently released to Yahoo. Yahoo removed the high-resolution version of the trailer from their site, but lower-res editions of it are easy enough to find on YouTube. The timing for the trailer was fortunate; I finished a semester of graduate school yesterday, so I've had a lot of time to devote to thinking about this movie.
I've been watching the trailer every couple hours. It's only a minute long. The movie seems like it can only be disappointing (being directed by a guy whose only previous films are those Underworld movies), but until we know for sure there's actual, physical evidence we can use to augment our speculation.
First, John McClane has another partner. In Die Hard With A Vengeance he ran around with Samuel L. Jackson, trading one-liners and having talks about race politics. I don't know anyone who really likes this movie, and for good reason. Few movies stand up to the standards of Die Hard, but even as a stand-alone action movie (which is what ...With A Vengeance often feels like) the third one is a bore. It's far too long, the terrorist plot totally senseless, and John McClane spends the whole movie making jokes about how hungover he is. Also, there's only one action scene that is either interesting in its own right or worthy of the Die Hard name, and it's about 7 seconds long (the elevator scene, if you were wondering). (Although, the shot where McClane realizes the elementary school bomb is a fake and then collapses to the ground crying and exhausted is pretty good).
Anyway, he's paired with the guy who plays the Mac in the Apple ads, and was also in Jeepers Creepers. I have nothing against this guy. I like him in those ads and Jeepers Creepers. I don't mind if John McClane has to protect him the whole movie, or rescue him, or whatever. The last few seconds of the trailer, though, indicate he's going to be providing some comic relief. The two watchable Die Hard movies each have comic moments in them; the problem with the joke in the trailer is that it's about how calm McClane is amidst all the violence. The John McClane in Die Hard and Die Hard 2: Die Harder is very rarely calm once he's caught up in the terrorist plots. More often, he's angry, scared, or panicking. He cries a lot, too.
We can hope the part of the trailer is taken out of context, because the rest of what we see isn't too bad. We see gunfights, McClane savagely punching someone, and some other stuff. The most surprising part of the trailer is that you can actually tell what's going on. Whatever other stylisitic concessions have been made, I hope someone with the film at least remembers that the Die Hard movies don't have all that crazy, frenetic editing that renders space and action incomprehensible.
There's nothing on display in this trailer to get my hopes up too high, but credit is due: there's nothing about it that's totally discouraging.