So: Is it or isn't it? Is Die Hard 4.0 (known as Live Free or Die Hard in the US) as good as the previous three Die Hard movies? Does it follow the tradition with being another adrenaline packed two hours filled with explosions, one liners and John McClane yelling Yippee Ki-Yay Motherf#cker? Or did the lower rating for this movie take away all the bite, rendering the old school action hero toothless and hopelessly outdated in today's movieworld? Well, honestly, what do you think? It's John McClane! And apart from him only yelling Yippee Ki-Yay M-- before being interrupted by something exploding, everything you would expect from a Die Hard movie is here. Gloriously so!
That John McClane. He's nearing 50 now, has saved the world three times already but hasn't seen any rewards for it, except a pat on the back and a medal to put away in a drawer somewhere. But does that stop him from springing right back into action when the world needs him? Of course not! So when he is ordered to pick up a hacker who may have been involved with an attack on the computers of the FBI, and all shit breaks loose, McClane does not even blink once before making it very clear that he's on the case. Because when he picks up said hacker (Justin Long), and right away the apartment gets shot at and the hacker's computer explodes, you just know this is something McClane has been waiting for. Ever since Die Hard With a Vengeance, he has been doing routine jobs as a lowly police detective, and even though he has been telling his friends and family he's through with saving the world because he doesn't want to be shot and blown up anymore, you know it's just a front. McClane wants action, and thanks to a group of evil computer hackers, he is getting it in spades.
A group of hackers is slowly turning life into a nightmare for everybody in the US. They are turning off all the computer and mobile phone networks in the whole country, cutting off electricity, and threatening that a lot worse things are waiting to happen. They have the power to wipe out all public records of every single American citizen, which would effectively bring the whole country back to the stone age. The FBi is anxious, but doesn't have the real power to do anything. Nobody does. Well, except John McClane, of course! Because even though he hasn't got a clue about computers, he does have two things that make him the perfect man for the job: 1) The hacker he had to pick up is one of the smartest hackers in the country 2) He is the toughest, meanest mofo on the right side of the law, and he isn't afraid to use a little force against the agressors. Desperate when McClane starts doing what he does best (blowing shit up, killing baddies), they kidnap his daughter, and that was just about the worst thing they could have done.
Having seen the first trailers for Die Hard 4.0, I was a little worried that the movie wouldn't be 'Die Hard' enough. McClane is best when the peril he faces is a bit more contained and only centers on a small area (a skyscraper, an airport, New York). But in this movie, the whole country needs him, and there is a whole army ready to help him out. Luckily, it soon becomes clear that it's very much McClane on his own against the baddies, since they have effectively rendered any helping forces completely helpless. And from the moment you realize this, the movie is a very welcome return to the old school action style that has been sadly missing from cinemas since, well, Die Hard With A Vengeance. Is it plausible that one man can wreak this much damage? No. But is it fun to watch? Yes! From McClane blowing up a helicopter with a police car to him beating up a sexy martial arts specialist (Maggie Q) in an elevator shaft, while hanging in a car (you have to see it to understand it), this movie is action cinema at it's best. But the good thing is that McClane is also on top form verbally. Yeah, the lower rating has made it that he cannot curse anymore, but the sharp wit is still there. When his hacker compatriot is astonished that McClane has just blown up a helicopter with a car, and says "You just killed a helicopter with a car!", McClane counters with "I was out of bullets". And when Long's character asks him what McClane is going to do about the hackers kidnapping his daughter, he is even more clear: "I'm gonna go kill this guy and get my daughter. Or go get my daughter and kill this guy. Or kill all of 'em!"
It's exactly the type of thing that people who don't like this genre hate so much about these movies, and which I cannot get enough of. From McClane doing heroics like nobody else can, to the bad guys astonishment at their rapidly diminishing ranks, to Kevin Smith showing up in a funny role as an uber hacker who reluctantly agrees to help McClane (as long as it doesn't disturb his mother, in whose basement he still lives), everything about this movie is just perfect. Is it original? No. Is it realistic? No. Is it the most fun you will have this summer? Very likely!