Opening 28 Jun 2007
In this fourth Die Hard film, Bruce Willis returns as New York police detective John McClane. He goes on a routine job to pick up hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long, very good) for interrogation by the FBI. Naturally, there is nothing routine about it, and soon Farrell’s apartment has exploded and both are on the run from terrorists who wish to destroy the infrastructure of the U.S. (Amtrak, Office of Homeland Security, satellites, all public transport, Wall Street) and take control of the country on – you guessed it: the Fourth of July. Farrell becomes McClane’s unwilling side kick, always complaining that he needs a lunch break and “can’t stand that someone always wants to kill me.” “You get used to it,” replies McClane. The film is entertaining and intense from beginning to end, with fight scenes (including one with beautiful Chinese Maggie Q), exploding cars and helicopters, machine-gun fire. Willis spends much time crawling or falling through shafts, from pipes, down stairs; he always pops up again, the worse for wear, but determined. Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob and the director of the Clerks films, has a cameo role as Warlock.
Believe it or not, this was my first Die Hard film, and I remedied that situation by checking out and watching the three previous ones from 1988, 1990 and 1994. This newest version will not disappoint. Some differences are: no one smokes; McClane swears very rarely; his daughter Lucy has grown into a pretty young woman whom he wishes to protect, first from a non-acceptable boyfriend and then from the gangsters; he no longer has a wife; airport security has changed since 1990; and everyone has mobile phones.
Bruce Willis has aged gracefully over the last 20 years. I can’t imagine any other actor having the ability and charisma to hold this film together. Perhaps that’s comparable to no one imagining any other James Bond besides Sean Connery. The idea here of a terrorist computer attack took me back to my first computer hacker film, WarGames with Matthew Broderick in 1983. And here we are again, still trying to get into other systems; naturally, in a much more sophisticated way. At a press conference with Willis during the 2006 Cannes film festival a fan screamed, “Save the world, Bruce.” You bet. (Becky Tan)