This is an archived post from Wishes on Eyelashes, a previous incarnation of this site.
Die Hard is back, and they’ve gone digital. Well, sort of. The special effects have certainly moved into the twenty-first century, as has the plot. Unfortunately, so has Bruce Willis.
If you want all-out tough guy action, verging well on the edge of reality, then Die Hard has always been your benchmark. Unfortunately, what once was passable for Willis/McClane in terms of phsyical ability is now disappointingly laughable. Stunts that include knocking a sniper from an airborne helicopter by smashing a water jet pump with his car, throwing around refridgerators and pulling bad-guys through fully sealed gunshot, leave you feeling that McClane is now more superhero than human.
The narrative too, is just unbelievable, and terribly unresearched. The general premsis in what is deliberated titled ‘Die Hard 4.0’, is that a team of nerds (sorry, intelligent computer users) are rebellling against the FBI with an attempt to take down all of USA, with McClane the only man who can save the day. Ridiculously though, to aid the seemlyingly unintelligent audience that director Len Wiseman predicts will watch the film, the nerds all wear glasses and are quirky, balding or both and every computer term is spoken is ridiculously layman terms.
From the moment you hear an exchange between bad-guy Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) nd one of his hencemen that includes the immortal lines “What’s with all the guns?” “Call them hardware to your software”, you know you are in dodgy teritory. From implausable on-screen visualisations that are straight out of the 80’s Bond films saying ‘UPLOADING VIRUS’ in huge letters to a team of villians able to control seemingly every electronic device in America, from traffic lights to every computer’s webcam, the plot falls apart at virtually every criticism.
The only thing holding the whole film together is beautifully summed up by McClane’s inevitabley geeky sidekick Matt Farrell (the impressive Justin Long) when he says “John, you are a Timex watch in a digital age.” As sickingly corny as that is, it underlines, what we loved Die Hard for in the first place – Willis. And he just about gets away with it this time. From a cheesy save-the-daughter storyline to death-defyingly unplausable stunts which fail to leave bearly a mark on him, McClane is still uniquely watchable as a character.
A franchise that should have been left well alone, and a well established aging actor that should know better, have resulted, somehow, in one of the most laughable films of the year so far. However, and yippie-kay-yay to this – it is extremely watchable, in the strangest of ways.