Although I was never really motivated to check this movie out on my own, I had just recently heard of it and thought it could be fun. It doesnâ€™t have any A list stars in it, but rather has a nice collection of well enough known actors and actresses including Zooey Deschanel, Michael Rappaport, Aaron Stanford, and Paul Schneider. Already Iâ€™ve heard this film to be a cross between Bottle Rocket and Fargo, well I donâ€™t know if those statements have any warrant, I can only hope they do and Live Free or Die turns out to be a hit. Writers Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin did some writing on Seinfeld so I can only hope a bit of that can rub off on this one.
Simply put John â€œRuggedâ€ Rudgate (Aaron Stanford, The Hills Have Eyes) is a wankster, a small time crook who has aspirations of being a gangster. He spends most of his day selling speakers on the street that is until his old buddy Jeff Lagrand (Paul Schneider, The Family Stone) comes back to town. Jeff and his sister Cheryl (Zooey Deschanel, Elf) have inherited a storage facility from their deceased father, but John sees this as an opportunity for criminal endeavors. But close on his tail is the emotionally unstable cop Putney (Michael Rappaport, The War at Home), who is very determined to bring John down.
Well I wouldnâ€™t exactly call this one a hit; it did have a certain likeable charm about it, but the laughs werenâ€™t exactly constant or hysterical. The dialogue itself was rather mediocre and the characters werenâ€™t very well developed. But something about the meshing of all the actors made for an enjoyable experience, they all seemed to play off each other nicely.
This movie had a real over the top feel about it, almost like those later Seinfeld episodes that Gregg Kavet and Andy Robin are responsible for. But thatâ€™s not necessarily a good thing, Seinfeld is easily one of my favorite TV shows but once Larry David left I didnâ€™t find the episodes to be of the quality it once was. I am left with the same feeling about those episodes as I am about this movie, I really wanted to like them and although there are some funny moments it just didnâ€™t seem to click. But nonetheless Iâ€™d recommend people to check this one out, like I mentioned before it has a certain vibe about it that makes it seem worthwhile.
Like other THINKFilm discs, Live Free or Die is presented in a low budget documentary style manner .The 1.78:1 Widescreen transfer has many problems, digital noiseÂ being the most notable.Â Be it shadows or a dimly lit room 90% of the time you will notice the background noise. Colors are tolerable, in some shots looking quite good and others mediocre. Flesh tones for instance look good but there are a few shots such as the scene in Chief Monsonâ€™s office where they look oversaturated. With such a low budget and a documentary filming style itâ€™s hard to expect anything more than a mediocre transfer from Live Free or Die. Although there are a few problems with this transfer, it is by no means unwatchable.
ThinkFilm has included a 5.1 Dolby Digital track with Live Free or Die butÂ rarely does it make use of anything but the front channels. Dialogue from the front channels sounds clear enough to hear every conversation but can sound muffled from time to time. You get the occasional police siren and song that will come through all channels but these instances are few and far between. Just like the video the audio track is lackluster mainly due toÂ the lowÂ budget. If you have already seen this movie in theatres than you should have no problems with this tracks quality.
Although the audio and video are lackluster, ThinkFilm has included a good amount of features for Live Free or Die.
- Audio Commentary – Commentary with Gregg Kavet, Andy Robin, Aaron Stanford and Paul Schneider.
- Deleted Scenes – Only 2 deleted scenes, neither of which add anything good to the movie.
- Alternate Ending – A 4 minute alternate ending that places Jeff in Canada. This ending is completely different than the theatrical version and should be checked out.
- Blooper Reel – 3 minutes of Bloopers
- The Making of Live Free or Die – A 6 minute making of feature that includes cast interviews.
The movie wasnâ€™t spectacular but it offered enough to be rental worthy. The quality of audio and video werenâ€™t good either, but this can be expected from a movie filmed for fewer than two million dollars. So ultimately this disc is for those of you out there who just loved Live Free or Die otherwise you wouldnâ€™t exactly be missing a whole lot.