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Live Free or Die Hard Blatantly Rips Off Action Scenes from Other Movies – Video Evidence

Back in July, I suggested that Live Free or Die Hard goes too far over the top. And, boy, was I clever about it.

To enjoy Live Free or Die Hard, you need to take your disbelief out back to the tool shed, put clownish, over-sized, rose-colored glasses on its face, and then punch it repeatedly in the nose until its vision is irreparably blurred.

In honor of the release of Live Free or Die Hard on DVD this week, I’m going to heap more well-deserved insult upon this movie’s injury. Here goes:

Sure, Die Hard 4 is laughably outlandish. (Oh, how I laughed. And laughed.) But its problems don’t stop there. This movie shows a lack of imagination not seen since Saw V was announced. For almost every key action scene, producers of Live Free or Die Hard directly ripped off sequences or devices from other (more original) films.

I’ll let the evidence speak for itself in each of four different action sequences from Live Free or Die Hard. In each of the following videos, I present the ripped-off material from the source film, and then the offending scene from LFoDH.

Spoiler Alert: This post and the included videos contain spoilers for Live Free or Die Hard. No one’s going to judge you if you still have plans to see it, even after my lambasting. In fact, I don’t blame you. It’s an entertaining flick, even more so thanks to its ridiculousness. Have at it. You have my blessing.

(If you’re viewing this entry in a RSS reader, you might have to visit www.greatwhitesnark.com to see the embedded videos.)

In the trailers for LFoDH, the folks marketing the film kept on pimping a particular scene in which John McClane jumps a speeding car into a bad guy’s helicopter, thereby blowing it out of the sky.

Pretty cool… until you consider the ‘jumping a vehicle into the bad guy’s helicopter’ stunt has been done before. In a low-budget 2005 Thai film called The Protector, starring Tony Jaa of Ong Bak fame.

Ah yes, here we have our hero struggling to get out of a truck that’s precariously dangling, nose down, above a long, deadly drop. The poor, put-upon sidekick throws the hero a rope, and–after requisite struggling–our hero grabs the rope just in time to have the truck fall away from him to a fiery explosion below.

I enjoyed this suspenseful scene the first time. When I saw it in 1997’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park.

Ok… I’ll throw LFoDH a bone: It’s not the only film that’s ripped off the wild acrobatics of 2004’s French martial arts film District B13. Casino Royale and the pilot episode of TV’s Chuck also helped themselves. At least LFoDH went the extra step to employ a French stuntman.

Is there a geek alive who watched John McClane jump onto the back of a hovering Harrier jet and didn’t exclaim, “H-e-e-e-e-y! That’s straight out of True Lies!” Didn’t think so.

But then everyone was distracted by McClane’s safely landing on terra firma, dusting himself off, and spotting the escaping Bad Guy’s van (which had at least a good five minute start on him) conveniently driving across a street only a few blocks away. Greetings, contrivance! Guffaw.

Get the unrated version of Live Free or Die Hard on DVD from Amazon, if you must.

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7 comments… add one
  • lizard November 27, 2007, 9:10 am

    well, as we all know, the good folks in the entertainment industry are always looking for ways to save the environment, something that doesn’t involve living in a reasonably sized house or driving a kia. so they do what they they can, which is recycle old ideas! i mean, imagine how much time & energy it takes to have original thoughts, especially in hollywood? and when you consider how many greenhouse gasses are emitted in even one short movie production meeting, it’s far more efficient just to keep the thinking at a minimum.

    or, maybe they’re just lazy. or maybe they’re actually very clever? either way, the people who made these movies are certainly bazillionaires. “No one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” (HL Mencken)

    crap. wan’t gonna do it, but now i’m going to go put it in my stupid netflix queue.

  • Nima November 27, 2007, 9:20 am

    Ripping-off better movies is the trademark of the film’s director, Len Wiseman.

    However, he’s doing Kate Beckinsale, so he’s allowed, by law, to do whatever the hell he wants.

  • Paul November 27, 2007, 6:19 pm

    Hmm too bad I never have plans on seeing this Die Hard, like ever.

  • Great White Snark November 27, 2007, 6:25 pm

    lizard: 1) You have an interesting point: The glass is half-full because recycling is good. 2) You’re putting it in your Netflix queue? I’m sorry I drove you to that insanity. Enjoy the laugh when it makes it into your DVD player.

    Nima: You dick. Why’d you have to remind me that someone other than me is doing Kate Beckinsale?

    Paul: Not too bad. Not too bad at all. If anything, you’ve seen all you need to see in the vids in this post. Let me fill in the rest of the movie for you: “Computer geniuses can take over the world through the internet. John McClane is one bad mofo. The end.”

  • John November 27, 2007, 11:27 pm

    I think all the “Die Hard” films are a bit tongue in cheek – and this one just takes it to the limit. In my opinion, to thoroughly enjoy the film you have to accept that this is yet another installment in a series of very corny, light-hearted films. If you can do this (and the bit about “suspending belief”!) then this is an entertaining film. Just don’t try to take Bruce too seriously! :-)

  • Great White Snark November 27, 2007, 11:37 pm

    Oh, John. Saying Die Hard 4 takes ‘a bit tongue in cheek’ to the limit is like saying the Star Wars prequels are just like the originals, except just a little less… good.

    (I can only assume by “tongue in cheek” you mean silly and ridiculous.)

  • Chris June 13, 2008, 3:16 pm

    I was still entertained. Plus Gears of War and Boba Fett each made appearances in the film!

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