A "Die Hard" Movie for the Bush Era

Lawrence Levi: The political undertones of the new Die Hard film reflect how uneasy we all feel in George W. Bush's America.
This post, written by Lawrence Levi, originally appeared on The Huffington Post

Since Reagan's second term, Hollywood has responded to each administration with a Die Hard movie. And now at last we have the George W. installment. Bruce Willis, as the indefatigable NYC cop John McClane, this time saves (spoiler alert) the entire country from collapse by foiling a takeover of the national computer network. In a New York Times piece, Caryn James opines that Live Free or Die Hard "expertly captures a current fear: What if we're disconnected from our information overload?" She says, "The loss of our information fix ... hits a very raw nerve. It evokes the disoriented feeling from April when all the BlackBerrys went out."

Uh, no. I didn't get a "disoriented feeling" when all the BlackBerrys went out, because I don't have a BlackBerry and never will, and Live Free or Die Hard didn't scare me because it tapped into some deep-seated fear of losing my Internet connection. It scared me because it gave a glimpse of an America in which pandemonium rules. Between kick-ass action beats, when McClane and his young hacker sidekick make their way to a D.C. police station after all the traffic lights and phones have gone out, and the stock market has collapsed and every city's transportation system has shut down, we get a brief, slo-mo sense of what true chaos feels like -- it's post-Katrina New Orleans on a national scale.
Lawrence Levi is co-author (with David Kamp) of The Film Snob's Dictionary. He has written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Nation, The New York Times Book Review, and many other publications. He lives in Brooklyn and writes a movie blog called Looker.
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