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Review: Die Hard 4.0

Die Hard 4.0 works because of Willis, trademark swagger and wit intact. Vinayak Chakravorty tells more.

movie reviews Updated: Jun 29, 2007 17:55 IST

Die Hard 4.0
Cast: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Timothy Olyphant
Direction: Len Wiseman
Rating: * * * 1/2

At 52, Bruce Willis isn’t getting any younger. He has to fight a box-office war with heroes half his age, at a time when Arnie has gone from Terminator to ‘Governator’, and Sly Stallone is desperately reloading the ancient Rambo icon for that perfect comeback sequel.

Worse, John Mclane, Willis’s screen ego of the Die Hard series, isn’t having a smooth ride either. The Hollywood crimebuster of the day is your prototype nice guy in superhero tights, and here’s John McClane — old school tough cop coping with a world that’s menacingly smarter than him.

If a broken home wasn’t enough, Mclane’s daughter has grown up to be a wild hot thing who refuses to even address him as dad, and calls him — well — an a**hole).

Wrong time, wrong place for Willis/John McClane, as always. It’s like this: There’s a sinister plot to disable the entire online structure supporting the US economy. Since new-world brains are clueless, get the old brute going — it’s upto Mclane to save the world. Of course, our hero is a techno-ramus, so he gets a hacker geek (Justin Long) as a sidekick on the job.

<b1>In all this, Mclane’s daughter is in peril, too (can you imagine a Die Hard film minus a bit of the senti rub-off?). Not much of a ‘script’ here clearly, just as much as is needed to keep the fiesty fighting going.

4.0 lives up to every cliché in the Die Hard textbook (thank God it does!). It’s still a load of mindless kick-butt (the blood quotient, though, is a lot lower this time), the action choreography is spectacularly over the top and there is Willis’s signature manic laugh. The mandatory 9/11 slant is in your face, just as the sheer certainty about who will win in the end.

If it all still works, it’s thanks to the film’s timing. In an era when the action film is largely defined as gore in a dark, sleek box, the old-fashioned big-fisted frenzy itself makes 4.0 a peculiar exception.

And it works because of Willis, trademark swagger and wit intact. Just like John Mclane, Bruce Willis is durable as ever.