Monday, July 02, 2007

Justin Long is My New Hero

You know Justin Long. The uber-nerd from Galaxy Quest. Ditto from Dodgeball. Slacker nerd from Accepted, if you stooped to seeing that movie (I had it on my Neflix list until yesterday, when my husband shamed me into deleting it). More recently, he's been the cool guy, the Mac in the excellent Mac and PC commercials.

And now he's an action hero.

(mild) SPOILER ALERT


I swear, I'm getting old. I've always enjoyed action movies, but hated the extraneous murder, the cavalier approach to collateral damage, the explosions that were there just because some juvenile male director loves to blow things up. Live Free or Die Hard has all of that, and while I can't say I loved them...well, it was very easy to overlook most of the time.

Why?

Kick-ass nerd.

Wildcat chick who takes after her dad.

And Bruce Willis. Bam.

There were some things I just couldn't swallow. I won't spoil them in detail, but let me just say:

  • Natural gas doesn't do that
  • Fighter jet sequence--completely ridiculous
  • Location of final showdown lazily convenient


There was also a moment when Justin Long's ADR was horrible. I mean, like 1970s era kung fu movie horrible. It not only didn't match up time-wise, the words we heard didn't go with the motion of his mouth. I haven't seen dubbing so bad in a big-budget movie maybe ever.

Okay, that's enough of the bad. The good was stellar. I think the prize goes to Timothy Olyphant as the villain. Totally different (as far as I can recall) from past Die Hard villains. A little more depth to him than we often get in bad guys.

Justin Long was just excellent. He had a subtle progression from the frightened geek boy in the beginning to the hero at the end. The role gave him an opportunity to show his range, and though he hasn't exactly been hurting for parts, I think he'll be getting better and better ones after this.

Bruce was Bruce. I swear, he was no different than he was in the first movie. A little older (but not as much older as he really is). A little slower to recover from a beating. Just as dedicated a cop, just as determined to be "that guy" because he's the one who can. A little more willing, maybe, to take help and ask for it.

That's one of the new elements, actually. He's not totally alone, with the good guys as much against him as the bad guys. Another is, of course, technology. There's an awesome sequence where McClane is going to hotwire a car, and Matt (Justin Long) shows him a better way.

The stunts are old school, very physical, very solid. Not much of the gliding wirework we're used to post-Matrix, but all of the crashing and destruction and fist-to-the-face fighting of yesteryear. He does fight one guy whose grace and ability is awesome to behold (I don't know if he's that much of a gymnast, or if it's enhanced with CGI). And he fights a chick (not a woman, a chick), gets his ass kicked, then gives back better than he got.

The snark and wit is fully intact, and I already have new lines to spout for the next 20 years. I will be delighted if Len Wiseman decides to direct yet another Die Hard. He'd better hurry, though. Bruce won't be in this good shape forever.

3 comments:

MaryF said...

I'm looking forward to this movie. I liked Timothy Olyphant in Catch and Release with Jennifer Garner.

I saw Accepted. You were right to delete ;)

Trish Milburn said...

I like the blow-em-up movies. :) I'm definitely putting this on my queue, though I don't think I'll pay full price for the theater. Next at the theater -- HP and the Order of the Phoenix.

Natalie Damschroder said...

Mary, I liked Timothy Olyphant in LFoDH better than in C&R, though I did also like him in that.

Good to know about Accepted, thanks. :)

Trish, I heartily recommend looking for a matinee or the cheaper second-run theater if you have any around. We have one theater that's $2.50 during the week and I think I'm definitely going to go see it again when it's there. :) Otherwise, you'll enjoy it when it rolls around on your queue. :)