Friday, November 23, 2007

The Unrated Live Free or Die Hard: Good Stuff!

Last night, I rented the fourth installment of the Die Hard series, Live Free or Die Hard and was able to watch it the way the director had originally filmed it: ample use of the word fuck and an increased use of visible and audible violence including squibs on both actors and inanimate objects and a generally darker experience... you know, all the stuff we expect from a Die Hard movie and it has much to recommend it as it is a great action movie much in keeping with the style and intensity of its predecessors.

Then I watched it again with the audio commentary, which featured Bruce Willis, director Len Wiseman and the man who edited the footage into a PG-13 movie, Nicolas De Toth. And I have to tell you, the commentary is also very revealing, as it makes the end product that much more surprising, as it truly seems like they were writing the movie as they were filming it. I don't mean they were changing it to try to make getting it a lower rating, rather whole action sequences seemed to develop organically while the principals were on set while others were discarded just as quickly, and the accompanying plot point along with them. And because it is a very stunt-intensive movie with a minimum of CGI, the difficulty in developing such sequences on the fly as it were and the fact that the filmmakers were nonetheless able to pull it off is stunning to me. The end product doesn't really feel like it is improvised, and I think a lot of other movies would have fallen apart under similar circumstances, but somehow the movie came together quite well.

And as suspected, those involved did indeed start production making an R-rated Die Hard, and it wasn't until much later that they were made aware that the studio was angling for a PG-13, so they basically had nearly an entire R-rated movie filmed at that point, so this unrated version is pretty much the movie that they had wanted as the final product, so again, I think the unrated version is a must see for any fan of action movies, and a requirement for Die Hard fans.


Semaj said...

great insight into the film. I'll have to check out this version soon. While I enjoyed the pg13 version, I think I'll enjoy the R rated one more.

Any deleted scenes on the DVD?

MC said...

I think that is a feature of the 2 disc special edition as there was mention of some making of documentaries in the commentary. I can't confirm that though.