Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth film in the Die Hard franchise, comes after a 12-year hiatus but easily returns to all the requisite high-octane traditions. Lots of stuff gets blown up; lots of bad guys do bad things; lots of chances come for our hero, John McClane, to laugh in the face of death just one more time. The film's action doesn't disappoint; if anything, it ups the adrenaline ante considerably.
And one could forgive McClane for losing his sense of humor -- that's what happens when enough bad guys try to kill you. But when the filmmakers chronicling McClane's exploits in the Die Hard movies lose the connection with their funny bones, that's a problem.
Live Free or Die Hard (20th Century Fox) Starring Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant. Directed by Len Wiseman. Rated PG-13. Time 110 minutes.