Sunday, July 01, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard

Last Friday we saw Live Free or Die Hard, first time to see a movie in the theater on opening weekend in a long time.

There were nine of us from our church, all Die Hard/Bruce Willis fans. We met first for dinner at a nearby eatery, then some hurried over to save seats as the rest of us trooped more slowly after. I was wearing my boot, and the day before had briefly entertained all kinds of worries about the logistics and decisions and how things would ever fall together. I envisioned the possibly very long line, and what it would be like to stand in it, worried about the prospect of getting seats, and having to sit too close to the screen and other negative things. Then I put it all in the Lord's hands and refused to worry about it further. He would put it altogether...

Well, it was a very organic process, that putting together: Calls back and forth, decisions made incrementally, the plan gathering momentum the closer we got to the time we had to act. Finally we were all at the restaurant where we enjoyed a couple of hours of food, conversation and fellowship before heading off to the theater.

Because I had my boot on, I rode the elevator with one of our friends who's in a wheelchair and his wife. On the second floor where we would normally get off, she suggested we go up to the third floor just to see if our theater might be one of those you could access from the top instead of the bottom. Turned out it was, and the next thing you know we're entering the theater itself -- no lines, no ticket taker, just walk in and there's the handicapped spot to sit, second from the top row, and an entire empty row beside it. Most of the other people were down in the lower rows where the regular entrance was. The seat savers from our party apparently had arrived not too long before us and were still in the process of staking out a place, so we waved them up and soon we were all in our places, perfect location to see the screen, just like it was all laid out and waiting for us.

And we all really enjoyed the movie. Some critics call it preposterous and it's true that Bruce Willis is a graduate in good standing of the Chuck Norris School of Dodging Bullets. In fact he has taken the supplemental courses of dodging cars, trucks, falling debris, freeways and other hazards. But, hey, it's Bruce Willis. He's Unbreakable, right. Even when he dies he comes back, though only those with a Sixth Sense can see him!

I thought Live Free or Die Hard was great fun. You can check out reviews at Rotten Tomatoes for more on the story itself, and yes, the stunts are definitely a bit beyond the line of believable. But fun, nonetheless.

What I especially enjoyed was the way they paired hard-nosed, down and dirty, get the job done no matter what, middle aged John McClane (Willis) with young, asthmatic, computer nerd Matthew Faller (Justin Long of Mac Guy fame). They worked exceedingly well off each other, adding a pleasing contrast (Old vs young, high tech vs low tech, physical vs intellectual) and a good bit of humor to the flick, as well. Both had their areas of expertise, so it wasn't like McClane was hauling around a bag of potatoes. Young Faller was integral to solving the problem. And, I suppose in the end, I just plain liked 'em both.

No great spiritual concepts, no heavy moral ideas (though the notion of computer/technology terrorism was intriguingly played out in this movie) just some good summer fun with friends. And okay, a lot of bad guys died and much property was damaged. But I was on the edge of my seat almost the entire time. And we were in an air conditioned theater which, since it's been around 107 degrees around here lately, was very welcome. I could definitely see this movie again.