Die Hard 4.0 - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THERE’S just no keeping a good action hero down. Months after witnessing Sylvester Stallone’s triumphant return to the ring in Rocky Balboa, cinema fans can delight in seeing Bruce Willis dust down his vest for another Die Hard outing.
The result, contrary to expectation, is one of the most enjoyable popcorn flicks of the summer so far, an all-action romp that somehow doesn’t feel its age.
At first glance, the premise seems a little shaky. John McClane is called back into action when terrorists initiate a plot to bring down America by using computers to take out transportation, telecommunications, financial and power networks.
But go with it because the ensuing carnage is every bit as spectacular as the previous films in the series.
Underworld director Len Wiseman has pulled out all the stops to ensure that Die Hard can exist in a digital age, from arse-kicking women terrorists to gravity-defying free-runners to fighter jet planes.
Some of it feels contrived, of course, and there are times when it feels more like True Lies 2 than Die Hard 4.0, especially towards the end, but for the most part it’s an absolute blast.
Willis remains as dependable as ever as John McClane, dispensing wisecracks as rapidly as bullets, yet somehow retaining an everyman quality that’s easily appealing.
And he’s well supported by the likes of Justin Long, as his nerdy computer sidekick, Timothy Olyphant, as the main villain of the piece, and Maggie Q and Cyril Raffaelli as two acrobatic adversaries – not to mention Kevin Smith’s amusing cameo as a nerdy computer genius called “The Warlock”.
The plot, too, manages to mix an intriguing “what if” scenario posed by the very real threat of digital terrorism with the type of OTT thrills befitting of an action sequel.
Early on, especially, Wiseman manages to banish any doubts surrounding the viability of the project with a pulse quickening shoot-out in an apartment and a thrilling confrontation between a car and a helicopter, gleefully rolling back the years for its hero.
He also finds a nice balance between the drama and the humour (with Long endearing without being irritating), even though some of it comes at the expense of the violence (a lot of which feels watered down).
But there are flaws. The inclusion of yet another family member in peril for McClane to deal with is a backward step, as is some of the American flag-waving that takes place. And the fighter jet set piece is one step too far in the action stakes – the point at which viewers are likely to raise their eyes to the ceiling.
For the most part, however, there’s plenty of reason to cheer on or – to coin a phrase from its hero – shout “yippee ki-yay”. With John Rambo still to come, there’s clearly plenty of life in the ageing action hero yet.
Running time: 2hrs 9mins
- Buy the 2-disc DVD (HMV)
- Buy the 1-disc DVD (HMV)
- Buy the Die Hard Quadrilogy (HMV)
- Buy the 2-disc edition (Amazon)
- Buy the Die Hard Quadrilogy (Amazon)
- Buy Die Hard 4.0 on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- Read our review
- Bruce Willis interview
- Timothy Olyphant interview
- Len Wiseman interview
- Watch the first 8 minutes and further clips
- Visit our NEW Die Hard 4.0 photo gallery
- Justin Long & Maggie Q interview (press conference)
- Die Hard 4.0 receives UK premiere
- Die Hard 4.0 - UK premiere photos
- Die Hard 4.0 preview