Die Hard 4.0 (15)



Action (2007)
128mins US

Starring: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Justin Long, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer(s): Mark Bomback
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Gung-ho, gun-toting rebel John McClane returns in the fourth part of the franchise, saving America once again from Armageddon. An internet terrorist begins to shut down the entire United States infrastructure, leaving the country vulnerable to attack. Adopting his usual no nonsense approach, McClane charges into the fray, ready to destroy anyone or anything that stands between him and success.

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LondonNet Film Review
Die Hard 4.0

Yippee-ki-yay. It takes a 52-year-old, shaven-headed action man with an attitude and a full arsenal of one-liners to whip the summer blockbuster season into shape...

Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4.0 TM and  2007 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.John McClane is back, almost 20 years since his first gung-ho escapade in a besieged Los Angeles high-rise building. He's still wearing the trademark vest, although this time it's hidden beneath a long-sleeved shirt, which is left in blood- and sweat-spattered tatters by the end of this fourth adventure in the series. With explosions and outrageous action set pieces aplenty, plus gentle humour and bruising fights, Die Hard 4.0 delivers everything we have come to expect.

McClane is once again fighting to protect a loved one: his sassy and estranged daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who is fed up of her old man meddling in her affairs (like menacing would-be boyfriends). Needless to say, once nasty terrorists take her hostage, she is the first person to smack her lips with glee at the prospect of daddy dearest coming to her rescue, razing half of the East Coast in the process.

Director Len Wiseman (Underworld) orchestrates the pyrotechnic-laden mayhem with aplomb while leading man Willis acknowledges his character's age in the impressive stunt sequences. McClane seems to grimace more as he fights the big guys and it takes him longer to get up from the hard knocks. As chief villain, cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), coolly puts it: "John, you're a Timex watch in a digital age."

Bruce Willis in Die Hard 4.0 TM and  2007 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.When his warnings about shortfalls in national security go unheeded, Gabriel punishes the US government's arrogance by orchestrating a 'fire sale', systematically shutting down the entire country's infrastructure, including power, telecommunications and the financial institutions. Chaos descends and Gabriel and his sexy sidekick Mai Lihn (Maggie Q) take advantage of the confusion to siphon off millions of dollars. Their plan hits an almighty snag when gun-toting rebel Detective John McClane (Willis) prevents Gabriel's henchmen from killing hacker Matt Farrell (Justin Long), who inadvertently wrote a piece of the code needed to engineer the 'fire sale'. "One little piece of code and the world falls apart," observes Matt. "It's virtual terrorism."

Together, McClane and his goofy passenger set out to thwart Gabriel's plans, either by brute force or by online stealth, with support from legendary hacker Warlock (Kevin Smith), who lives in his mother's basement. With his carefully laid plans collapsing around him, thanks to McClane, Gabriel retaliates by kidnapping the cop's daughter. "Do you have a plan?" asks Matt, when they learnt of Gabriel's devious scheme. "Get Lucy, kill everybody else," responds McClane. Yippee-ki-yay indeed.

Bruce Willis and Justin Long in Die Hard 4.0 TM and  2007 Twentieth Century Fox. All rights reserved.Die Hard 4.0 is a ridiculous yet undeniably entertaining thrill-ride that elevates McClane's penchant for large-scale destruction to dizzying heights. He eliminates a chopper full of bad guys with an airborne police patrol vehicle, causing Matt to gasp, "Jesus, you killed a helicopter with a car!" "I was out of bullets," smirks McClane proudly. A showdown between a fighter plane and McClane in an armoured 18-wheeler truck on a collapsing highway is deliciously implausible. Like us, Matt can barely believe his eyes every time McClane snatches victory from the slavering jaws of defeat. "Did you see that?" shrieks the hacker. "See that?" grins McClane, "I did it!"

In the best tradition of buddy movies, bickering between Willis and Long sustains the film for more than two hours, mellowing into a rather touching father-son relationship. "I just want to stop for a second to catch my breath," gasps Matt as the pair gallops up a flight of stairs in a research facility over-run by the terrorists. "I thought they had these things nowadays called gymnasiums," quips McClane dryly. Long is an excellent comic foil and Olyphant doesn't overplay his villain, while Maggie Q kicks and punches like a demon in her big fight scenes, culminating in superbly choreographed fisticuffs in a lift-shaft. When Matt asks McClane, "Why are you doing this?" the only answer the cop can muster is, "Because there's nobody else right now." Thank goodness New York City's finest hell-raiser hasn't hung up his badge yet.

- Kim Hu

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