DIE HARD 4.0: It's Franchise Reboot
Cast: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Jeffrey Wright and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directors: Lens Wiseman
Time: 121 mins
Rating: * * * ½ (Out of 4)
"Dude, you killed a chopper with a car!" a young guy comments after a mind-blowing crash explosion. Whereupon Willis’ character, John McClane, replies: "I ran out of bullets!" Now, here’s a Die Hard sequel with wit, humour and gusto!
WHAT’S IT ABOUT? Willis reprises his role as the New York police detective who is assigned to pick up computer hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long) for questioning by the FBI. However, before McClane can hand Matt over to the authorities, the bad guys, led by a disgruntled former government official (Timothy Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel), arrive and start gunning them down.
Reason? Matt is involved in a plot to shut down the whole computer infrastructure of the US, rendering the country in chaos. Now, Gabriel wants to cover his tracks by killing Matt and all the other hackers involved. Of course, the cyber-terrorist has not reckoned that the computer-illiterate McClane would team up with Matt and foul up his plans.
Why, McClane even finds a way to deal with Gabriel’s right-hand gal and lover, the kungfu-kicking Mai (Maggie Q). Soon, Gabriel is forced to use his last bargaining chip – McClane’s daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
HIGHLIGHTS & LOWLIGHTS: In the last instalment, Die Hard With A Vengeance, Willis teamed up with the volatile Samuel L. Jackson (as Harlem shop-owner Zeus) in a bid to find a bomb. Jackson proved to be just the foil for McClane. Here, the casting department has also risen to the occasion with Long as the helpless computer nerd who needs to be rescued every now and then before he can help to save America from ruin. The youngsters in the audience would certainly buy this type of partnership.
Like a well-written computer programme, Die Hard 4.0 is fast-paced and action-packed. Its linear plot – about an ‘odd pair’ teaming up against a bunch of well-organised baddies – works like a video game set-up and is easy to get involved in. The dialogue, kept to a minimum, is funny and apt, and even the secondary cast get proper build-up. Maggie Q, for instance, offers more than just a pretty face with a hot bod. She can kick ass and provides one of the most gripping fights in the movie. Even Winstead holds her own as McClane’s gutsy, smart-mouthed daughter. (Willis’ real-life daughter, Rumer, 18, who was born the same year that the original Die Hard was released, was rumoured to play Lucy, but the deal fell through).
THE LOWDOWN? Director Lens Wiseman, best known for Underworld and Underworld: Evolution, has obviously given the Die Hard franchise a new lease of life. Even if Willis is unable to play McClane in the next instalment, it is good to know that our hero is going out with a bang - a series of big bangs, to be exact.