Friday, November 23, 2007

Adventures in Moviedom

NOTE: At the time of this writing, the author may be intoxicated. Maybe. A lot.

I just watched Live Free or Die Hard, the latest adventure in the otherwise boring life of character John McLane. It's a movie about how a group of eeeeeeevil computer hackers manage to take down the entirety of the eastern seaboard's power and utilities and almost steal all the financial data (and, evidently, the funds) of all businesses within the US, until John McLane, the King of the Luddites and a good-guy hacker that looks disturbingly like Keanu Reeves but with something better approaching acting talent stop them at every turn.

I love computers in movies. Not at first, mind you. Every computer in a movie can be hacked, reprogrammed, fixed, encrypted and made to do standing backflips by typing "asdf;lkjasdf;lkj" on the keyboard for an appropriate length of time. This makes my brain hurt, which makes me drink, which makes me not hate the movie so much.

The lead villain, played by Timothy Olyphant, is essentially a complete waste of space. I knew he had minimal acting depth when I saw Deadwood and saw approximately two different expressions on his face over the course of multiple seasons. In light of that, I think he should marry Sarah Brightman, and their collective acting depth might rival that of a dime. If nothing else, you wouldn't need more than one wedding photo, because they'd have the same expressions the entire time anyway.

You're welcome, Natalie.

But back to the movie.

This movie is action stem to stern, which is awesome, unless you are even remotely interested in anything approaching realistic physics. Example A: The truck vs. the F-35 that can hover, shoot M-60 rounds, navigate in ways that would impress Starbuck, and do anything until, oh, wait, something gets stuck in its blowhole and it has to esplode. Example B: A power grid hub that evidently controls major gas pipelines as well, until the bad guys decide to "re-route" all the gas to point at the station where the good guys are and make the whole thing blow up. So long as you don't imagine the prospects or time required to make gas pipeline pumps slow down, stop and then start going backward to re-route gas flow, it's a cool idea.

To recap: No knowledge of physics or computers? Great movie! Unfortunately for sober me, I have bachelors degrees in both mechanical engineering and computer science. To compensate for this, I've consumed enough vodka to make this entirely forgiveable. I may not live to morning, so I'm writing this blog entry now.

A highlight of the movie is the use of Kevin Smith as the holy grail of nerds living as a grown man in his mother's basement. He gets recruited against his will to help the good guys. A fantastic touch, and given the chance, I'd have taken a part in this series as well, even if it's the equivalent of Police Academy 16: Mahoney Needs Money.

All told, I did enjoy the movie, but I did have to relegate it to the same place that allows me to enjoy Rocky movies after Rocky II. I know it's going to be cheesy and unrealistic, but sometimes stuff's just gotsta blow up.

Okay, back to your normal lives.