Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Die Hard, Live Free or


This was the fourth, and the last of the watchable Die Hard movies, six years before the terrible A Good Day to Die Hard. Yes, it’s getting a little tired, and yes, most of the action scenes are way beyond preposterous, but it’s possible to have fun here if you don’t think about it too much.

The most interesting thing about it, however, is the idea of a “fire sale,” a cyber attack where “everything must go.” The idea is to take over vital computers and shut down all the nation’s infrastructure. Here, they use it to control most everything, and I don’t believe that, but the basic idea is sound, and we’re seeing more and more signs of it these days. Both China and Russia have already been attacking companies and even the government. (I have no idea what we’ve been doing back to them. I hope it is nasty enough that they will stop.) But I just read a scary article that claims the security of many of our systems is so laughable that it wouldn’t take a country to fuck it up. A dedicated group of anarchist hackers, or even a single one, could cause incredible damage. And no one seems to be taking it all that seriously. Maybe if the next attack permanently wipes out all the records of, say, Citibank, these idiots will wake up.

I just can’t let it go without mentioning the most preposterous scene of all, when a Marine Corps F-35B attacks McClane and gives him a lot of trouble, shooting at him and then firing missiles that bring down much of an elevated highway. Every element of the sequence is totally impossible, but the one most people don’t realize couldn’t have happened involves the plane itself. Sure, it can hover like a Harrier … but that’s only if the piece of shit can fly at all. So far, it can’t. It is the most expensive weapons system in history. It is hundreds of billions of dollars over budget, and seven years behind schedule. Just last year, 2015, the Marines said it is combat ready, which I believe is bullshit. This is a plane that is going to kill a lot of pilots … but not enemy pilots. Our own pilots.

You wanna know how fucked up this plane is? It carries a Gatling gun, but they can’t fire it! For some reason, the computer code needed to use the goddam useless thing will contain around 24 million lines of code, and it won’t be ready until 2019 … and if you believe that, you haven’t been following the truly disastrous development of this albatross around the neck of the American taxpayer. If it was ready by 2025 I’d be amazed.

Can anyone tell me why a fucking machine gun needs 24 million lines of code? One of the largest computer programs ever written? (If it ever is written, which I doubt.)

Here’s something even better. The rate of fire of this gun is 3300 rounds per minute. Wow! … until you realize that the A-10 Warthog, which has been flying since 1977, can fire at the rate of 3900 rpm. And it doesn’t need 24M lines of code to do it. But wait! There’s more! The A-10 carries 1174 rounds, which means it will be out of ammo after less than a minute. Sounds bad, huh? However, the F-35 carries 180-220 rounds. That’s not a typo. Not 1800-2200 rounds. 180-220 rounds! Which means the F-35 will be able to shoot for a total of about four seconds. And the Air Force wants to retire the A-10. Why? As far as I can figure it is because the pilots love it, it does its job too well and, in this day of trillion-dollar airplanes, doesn’t provide enough pork for enough Congressional districts. It is not expensive enough!

So all John McClane had to do was avoid the fucking useless piece of shit for four seconds. And that’s my review of Live Free or Die Hard.