First things first, I absolutely LOVED the new coloring on this edit. The original pukey looking color scheme was awful. This is how the film should’ve looked in the first place.
Secondly, this edit works a lot better, just from a technical standpoint, than either of the two official cuts. The theatrical version was chock full of poorly done, obvious loops. There were many scenes where characters’ mouths continued to move without any actual dialogue. The unrated cut attempted to fix most of these mistakes but, in the process, managed to create whole new ones. UA was kind enough to go back and fix these errors. He was also kind enough to re-instate the “I was out of bullets” line.
Now, the negatives, through no fault of UA. Live Free or Die Hard is a decent action movie but it’s a TERRIBLE Die Hard movie. The Die Hard franchise used to be about hard-hitting, gritty, realistic action. Each film was allowed ONE ridiculous, over-the-top scene: McClane jumping off the exploding Nakatomi Building tied to nothing but a firehose in Die Hard; McClane ejecting out of an exploding aircraft in Die Hard 2; McClane riding atop a dump truck in fast flowing floods and then shooting out in a geyser in Die Hard with a Vengeance. Unfortunately, director Len Wiseman seems to have only remembered these scenes, as he fills his Die Hard film with more ridiculous, over-the-top moments than the previous Die Hard films. It all starts with that annoying spider-like henchman that leaps all around like Jet Li on crack. It gets real bad with TWO awful CG-infused shots in the tunnel crash: McClane and Matt ducking between two cars while a barrel rolling car smashes down on top of them, followed by a bad looking CG truck hitting the pillar they’re hiding behind. This, of course, all culminates in McClane “killing” a helicopter with a car. Then, we get a fight inside an SUV, held up by elevator cables. Of course, none of that compares to the WORST scene in Die Hard history: McClane vs. the F-35. I HATE this scene with all my passion. Where am I going with this? I would’ve loved to see UA cut out the two awful CG-infused tunnel crash scenes and the F-35 scene. The former are not only ridiculous but amateurish in their effects and the latter would’ve been out of place in a Mission: Impossible movie, and it’s downright insulting in a Die Hard movie. I’d leave in the helicopter gag, as I love the “I was out of bullets” line and it would be hard to edit out and still hold continuity. Plus, like I said, each Die Hard movie is allowed one such scene. Also, cutting out the elevator scene would leave gaping plot holes.
All, a better cut than the two official cuts and the one that probably should’ve shown up as the unrated cut. I would kill for a version 2.0 with the two tunnel crash scenes edited out and the F-35 scene (and all indications of said scene) excised. Check out Spence’s Old Habits Die Hard edit to see a great version of this film without that terrible scene. Another great job, UA, but I feel that your Terminator 3 cut greatly improved over it’s source more than this one did. I wouldn’t expect you to make a cut just for me (and maybe you like those scenes) but that would bring this edit up to the standards of your T3 edit.