Sunday, July 15, 2007

Die Hard 4.0

The verdict: A grizzled hero and a wiseguy side-kick take on tooled up baddies and some kick-ass action ensues.. Die Hard 4.0 may work from a template, but it does it's thing with gusto. This is a cracking balls-out action movie.

The rating: 7.0 (...what's with the decimal point!? - Ed)

Live Free or Die Hard, or if you're from Europe, 'Die Hard 4.0', sees Bruce Willis take John McClane for another day out against the bad guys. In episodes 1.0 and 3.0, the aforementioned baddies were Germans played by Englishmen. In episode 2.0, the baddies were from a non-existent fictional banana republic. This time, however, beware, because the nerds are coming.

That's right folks, this time Washington has pissed off an IT guy, and he's back to get revenge. This is why it's 4.0 instead of just a regular four in the title: cyber-terrorists, geddit?

So Bruce is given an apparently innocuous mission in the first few minutes of the movie to bring in a young hacker for questioning, a certain Matt Ferrell (Justin Long). The bad guys are after Ferrell too though, and within minutes of McClane showing up, as you would expect, all hell starts breaking loose.

Die Hard 4.0 does everything a good action movie should do with the effortlessness of a grizzled professional, such as McClane is meant to be. From the opening minutes, the action kicks in, and slowly escalates to a truly breathtaking crescendo, with a fair few high notes along the way. This is popcorn action at its finest, with suspension of disbelief occurring involuntarily simply due to the finesse and sure-footedness of the action on screen.

The McClane character is slightly darker than in previous outings, and a little more grizzled than before, if that's possible. He's quieter and more reflective about his role in proceedings, nut he is still every inch the relentless pursuer of the bad guys, and Bruce Willis is excellent in the role. His foil is a necessary assistant, and although their relationship is a variation of the 'frosty-at-first' kind of partnership, Long is a likeable enough kind of smart-ass, with his character also having enough of value to contribute to proceedings. The back-and-forth between the two is entertaining enough, and they are different enough to complement each other quite well. As one character puts it, McClane is 'a timex watch in a digital age', so it makes a certain amount of sense that he would recruit this hacker to help him beat a cyber-terrorist.

The baddie, played by Timothy Olyphant, is believable enough, in that he is a human being, not a caricature of a foreign evil-doer with a generic Mittel-Europaische accent, or a Tony Montana style twang. Olyphant is a bad guy of the American post-9/11 zeitgeist, wishing to highlight America's vulnerability to cyber-terrorists, by disabling the technological infrastructure, and bringing the country to its knees. Then, when his ransom is received, he'll re-activate everything, and maybe install a new security system for an exorbitant fee. Kind of like the scenario where a teenager who programs and 'successfully' releases a virus then gets recruited by an anti-virus company on a six-figure salary. (Damn nerds... - Ed)

This time there is no confinement for McClane to worry about, as he employs all manner of vehicles to make his way from one high speed shoot-out to the next: helicopters, juggernauts and cop cars are all used. When things get personal, and his daughter is kidnapped by the baddies, the stakes are noticeably raised, and the action gets turned up to eleven.

Die Hard 4.0 works from the action-movie template, but does it all so well, that I found there to be a comfortable level of predictability to it, rather than the annoying feeling you know what's going to happen. The action really does take this one to another level though, with the final chase sequence in particular raising the bar so over the top, it'll leave audiences choking on their popcorn all over the world, reminding me of 'True Lies' on more than one occasion.

I would highly recommend 'Die Hard 4.0' as one of those rare movies that does exactly what it promises. It's a balls-out actioner that should cement Willis' credentials as Hollywood's most consistent action star of late. Yabbadabbadoo kemosabe, this one's definitely worth a look.

1 comment:

sharu said...

hey...gr8 review..i havent seen die hard yet, coz its just out in india...but i think i will catch it!!heard some really good stuff abt it

neway, i write reviews too,i've started just recently,check out my blog

P.S--departed rules!!!!

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