Transformers vs. Live Free or Die Hard

A fight between the only two halfway decent blockbusters to come out this summer thus far. I didn’t even bother to see Spider-Man 3 due to the massive backlash against it. Pirates of the Caribbean 3 was the worst movie I’ve seen in theaters since The Day After Tomorrow. Harry Potter is only good for seeing people cry over spoilers. Fortunately, The Bourne Ultimatum will redeem the summer of 2007 in two weeks. Now, on to the comparisons! (Warning: This post is chock full of spoilers)

The Legend

Optimus Prime vs. John McClane

We start this tale of the tape with a major win for Die Hard. Optimus Prime doesn’t show up in Transformers until almost an hour in and even then, his only shining moment is when he shoves his huge metal sword through a Decepticon’s head. He booms out the same cheesy lines that he did back on the cartoon show. The ending almost feels like a PSA. Meanwhile, Bruce Willis continues his awesome run as John McClane, managing to make Live Free or Die Hard fun almost single-handedly. He still has great lines and awesome stunts, but unfortunately the former were pussified or just plain dubbed out due to the PG-13 rating. It doesn’t stop McClane from still being the fucking man.

Winner: Live Free or Die Hard

The Villain

Megatron vs. Angsty Uber Hacker

Hugo Weaving voices Megatron, automatically making him awesome. Plus, he rips an Autobot completely in half. Badass. Meanwhile, Timothy Olphant plays Thomas Gabriel, an extremely intelligent dude who is pissed that the higher-ups in the U.S. Government didn’t listen to his warnings about cyber-terrorism. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for a particularly scary or convincing foil to John McClane. He makes his threats and moves from behind a computer screen, and his idea of hurting McClane is erasing his 401K. McClane doesn’t need his 401K to drink himself to death in his old age. Even when Gabriel does kidnap Lucy McClane (pictured above), he’s never in control of the situation. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but he’s no doubt the worse antagonist in the history of the franchise. Hans Gruber forever.

Winner: Transformers

The Opening Action Scene

Obliterated Army Base vs. Apartment Shootout

Transformers opens up with a military base being destroyed more completely than Pearl Harbor. Tanks go flying in every which direction, buildings explode, almost everyone dies, and military intel is stolen in the process. These giant robots from space are shown to be serious business. Yet I found the first action scene in Live Free or Die Hard to be a bit more entertaining. An obscene amount of bullets tear through an apartment complex, a guy is tossed out a window onto a car, and McClane owns two guys with his car as he speeds out of the alley. Unfortunately, the aforementioned two guys walking away with minimal injuries set the tone for the rest of the film. Still a great, coherent action scene where one can actually tell what is going on.

Winner: Live Free or Die Hard

The Reluctant Sidekick/Hero

Shia LaBeouf vs. Justin Long (a.k.a. Mac Guy)

I know those two pics don’t quite give equal pixel space to each actor, but that’s because I decided to allot picture size according to each actor’s performance in their respective movies. Shia LaBeouf channels George Michael Bluth for the first half of Transformers and does a masterful job at it. I’ll admit I was laughing almost the entire time he was trying to bang Megan Fox, meanwhile the OnStar scene with Mac Guy was just painful and stupid (not to mention how OnStar communication was working while nothing else was), but that may have been due to a crazy black girl screaming at the top of her lungs since she thought it was so funny. Shia LaBeouf was hands-down the best actor in a film full of horrific acting, but he needed to be. Sam Witwicky turns out to be the savior of humanity. Justin Long just needed to play a thin-skinned geek named Matt Farrell, who’s along for the ride with John McClane. LaBeouf’s performance has me actually looking forward to Indiana Jones 4… somewhat.

Winner: Transformers

Gratituous Use of Slo-Mo

Robot Soaring Over Cleavage vs. Bullet-Time Dodge

There’s no contest here. Michael Bay had a scene where a robot is shooting while he flies over the top of a woman with D-cup cleavage. It was at least 10 seconds of pointless tits front and center in the frame. I wish I had a pic of it. Meanwhile, the one use of slow-motion I can remember in Live Free or Die Hard other than the ending was an ineffectual bullet-time effect added while McClane dodged an almost point blank range shot. It was completely pointless, pulled me out of the scene, and didn’t involve a massive rack. Stupid.

Winner: Transformers

The Young Hot Chick

Megan Fox vs. Mary Elizabeth Winstead

This is a tough call. Megan Fox looks like the type of slut that’d let you do whatever you want to her ridiculously hot body. Mary Elizabeth Winstead has the three name thing going, which always seems a bit conceited, but she is extremely cute. Personally, I’d go with the latter, because goddamn she is adorable. I wouldn’t mind Megan Fox playing with my love stick, though. In terms of acting ability, it’s not really even worth talking about. They’re both just there for the eye candy anyway. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to say that Megan Fox is AWFUL.

Winner: Live Free or Die Hard

The Overweight Hacker

That Fat Black Dude vs. Kevin Smith

“That Fat Black Dude” is Anthony Anderson, whom you might remember from classic films such as Romeo Must Die, Scary Movie 3, and Kangaroo Jack (I personally enjoy Me, Myself and Irene). Fortunately, I saw Transformers just before I got up to season 4 of The Shield in my DVD marathon. I’m not sure how funny I would’ve found him after seeing him playing a cold-blooded drug dealer. Luckily, I was able to find his fat ass eating donuts hilarious. Kevin Smith manages to pull off a decent performance as “Warlock” the internet hacker God, the only man who can stand up against Thomas Gabriel’s firesale. I honestly don’t even remember much about his role in the film. I don’t even know who wins this category. I’ll go with a push.

The Massive Set Piece

Giant Robots Destroying a City vs. A Jet Destroying an 18-Wheeler and Highway

I’ve read some people’s opinions on the final massive action scene in Transformers and how incoherent and boring it was. I don’t know what movie these people were watching. The fight on the ground could have been better for sure, and the robots should’ve been easier to distinguish form one another, but the CGI in Transformers is still by far the best I’ve ever seen. To make an action scene involving massive robots in a major city believable was an impressive feat by itself. The best part of the action easily took place in the air. I was shitting my pants while I watched Starscream take out a pack of fighter jets by himself. It was fuck awesome. The showdown between McClane in a tractor trailer and jet was pretty damn cool too, but that fighter pilot had to be the most incompetent piece of shit the USAF has ever put out. The dude managed to destroy at least a quarter-mile of elevated highway while failing to kill the man driving on it. I guess John McClane is just THAT awesome.

Winner: Transformers

The Distraction

John Turturro vs. Maggie Q

I gotta say, I don’t think John Turturro ever saw his career plummeting so low. He gets pissed on by a robot in Transformers. I’d say that’s pretty much rock-bottom. Not even playing a fucked-up pederast in The Big Lebowski compares, because at least that performance was profusely amusing. His Sector 7 character in Transformers is just retardedly over-the-top and unfunny. Now, Maggie Q was just hot. And she kicked ass. Maybe a little too much…

Winner: Live Free or Die Hard

The Height of Ridiculousness

“ON EBAY” vs. Indestructible Asian Chick

That “indestructable Asian chick” would be Maggie Q’s character, Mai Linh. First, she gets into a pretty hardcore fight with McClane and get thrown around pretty bad. But she gets up to toss McClane and send him tumbling down a few stories on some gas vents. McClane gets up and drives a truck through a glass wall and straight right into her at probably around 30 mph. I think everyone in the theater thought she was dead. We thought wrong. She was completely fine on top of the windshield. It was at this moment I shook my head and began to tune out the movie in the sensible part of my brain. But it wasn’t over. McClane kept driving until he hit an elevator shaft. With the truck hanging from wires, McClane and Linh fought as they tried to get to safety. I can’t even talk about it anymore. Lihn was fighting and pretty much kicking McClane’s ass in the tenuously balanced truck AFTER GETTING HIT BY A TRUCK GOING FULL SPEED AND GETTING SLAMMED INTO A FUCKING WALL. By comparison, Optimus Prime finding the key to the greatest power in the universe on eBay isn’t all that ridiculous. Ok, it still is – but at least Prime saying, “ON EBAY” in his booming voice was good for a laugh.

Winner: Transformers

The Final Showdown

Anticlimatic vs. Disappointing

You know how I mentioned Optimus Prime pullig out his sword and shoving it through a Decepticon’s face? Why the hell didn’t he just do that to Megatron? Instead, he got his shit completely ruined. Megatron took on the form of Agent Smith and was beating the shit out of Prime like he was Neo in the subway. Prime had told Sam to put the Allspark in his chest if he lost the battle with Megatron – well, he lost the battle, but Sam put it in Megatron’s chest anyway. Ingenious move. Prime was just a letdown all-around. The ending standoff in Die Hard felt much like the one at the end of the original. McClane seems completely cornered, but pulls off an unforeseen move. Unfortunately, they weren’t quite able to get “Yippee kay-yay, motherfucker” past the MPAA because of that goddamn PG-13 rating. It was more like “Yippee kay-yay, mothe-” *gunshot* Thank God for unrated DVDs. Nevertheless, McClane shooting himself was the epitome of badass.

Winner: Live Free or Die Hard

And the final tally is…

Transformers: 5 , Live Free or Die Hard: 5

Who doesn’t love a good cop-out?

 

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~ by CajoleJuice on July 19, 2007.

2 Responses to “Transformers vs. Live Free or Die Hard”

  1. I love your comparsons here, but you never really sia d which movie you prefered. So come on… Transformers or Die Hard?

  2. son of a bitch

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