Film Review: Die Hard 4.0


Film: Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard)

Director: Len Wiseman

Cast: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Kevin Smith, Cliff Curtis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Rating: 3/5

In 1988, there was Die Hard, then in 1990, there was Die hard 2, followed by Die hard with a vengeance in 1995 and now there is Die hard 4.0. What is common amongst all these is the fact that John McClane has been battling terrorists, bombers, hackers; but the poor guy has never been promoted (has always remained a police detective).

In this film too, without the deserved promotion, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is out to save the entire nation from a computer techie, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) who has brought Washington DC to a complete halt and up next, targets the entire country.

By the bald detective’s side is the young hacker Matt Farell (Justin Long), who knows exactly what is going on. Initially a suspect, he ends up being the knowledge bank that will aid in stopping these terrorists. With the city in peril and all systems down, it is up to McClane to get things going and nab the bad guy. He must not only fight these guys, restore accord but also needs to get his daughter, Lucy ( Mary Elizabeth Winstead) away from Gabriel’s clutches.

This film is all action with little heart and more stunts than one can cook up. Thrown in is a not so new story that works primarily because of its magnitude and post 9/11 setting. There is a sense of old action charm in this film – jumping off buildings, chases, blowing up stuff, bashing up the bad guy, rescuing hostages. In 2007, all the films seemed devoid of it, now it’s back.

Dialogues, including the once in twenty minute one liners, are engaging and carry the movie forward rather well. The instant power reply is seen throughout the film, for example, when Matt says, ” You just killed a helicopter with a car!” the instant reply from McClane is, “I was out of bullets.” It is these impulsive moments that prove entertaining.

On the technical front, this movie is no different in style than any other action film. There is a lack of unique style in this film, a charm that the other Die hard films were filled with. Wiseman, who earlier gave the oh-so-sorry ‘underworld’ series fails to give a slick flick. This one is crude and rough on the edges, and honestly, it does not seem to be cautiously made that way. With a good plot and over the top stunts, the shots are average, the camera fails to move quickly and so does Willis. The biggest pain the film leaves you with is the mindless inclusion of characters that serve no purpose.

Though the movie seems a tad too long and stretched, the manner in which the entire film is edited is creditable. The film zips by so fast that one doesn’t really question much; you are instantly swept up by the movie’s strong current.

Since this is an out and out action flick, you don’t walk in expecting to be bowled over by the performances. That is precisely what you get. Willis delivers his punches and jumps around well, though not with the agility he used to. The few times he does need to deliver expressions, he does exceedingly well, proving he still rocks. Olyphant as the super smart villain, is no diamond. The little that he does do, he does average. It is Long who bags the award, his expressions and dialogue delivery, are all first rate. Winstead and Maggie Q hardly have a role; all they prove to be is eye candy, for the minute or two that they are there.

Finally, it is the power packed, lip smacking, over the top stunts that make this film the best sequel amongst all its predecessors. This also happens to be the unique selling proposition for this film. In terms of box office collections, with this film getting equal importance as other Bollywood films releasing simultaneously, expect it to be a good grosser. Additionally, releasing it in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu is going to be an added bonus.

If not for the 12 years after which the sequel has been made, watch this film for its stupendous action. Die Hard 4.0 is rocking. Make sure you have that bucket of popcorn and just sit back and relax.