... they get better with age, of course. And John McClane is pretty impressive vintage. I was in school when my father took me to see Die Hard 2. That's right, I watched 2 before I watched 1. And man, was I impressed! Must have spent the next couple of days trying to smirk like Bruce Willis. Watched all the Die Hard movies after that, and even though I'm no action movie buff, I've enjoyed all of them, Die Hard 4.0 included.
Agreed, the plot is too straight forward, its too clean a movie (I mean, John McClane doesn't even curse), Len Wiseman could have done a better job etc, etc. But its hard to pin down a guy like McClane and the movie is still one hell of a ride (albeit a slower one in the second half). Age has caught up with him, Holly's divorced him and his daughter wont even speak to him. He is ancient compared to the post pubescent geek who's help he needs in order to save the world this time. But you can still count on him to be the right guy at the right place at the right time. Watching him get bruised, bloodied and shot makes one worry, like he's a favourite uncle who keeps getting into trouble he shouldn't really be part of.
The action sequences seem so real, none of the hi-fi CGI stuff that we have become so used to (except for the fighter plane sequences, which get a little too much). Wiseman relies more on hands on action - Cyrill Rafaelli's (District B13) leaping lizard action sequences are just amazing. McClane has gotten old, so no big fights for him. He goes straight for the jugular, and when he is out gunned by a kung fu fighting waif of a girl (Maggie Q), he just rams a car into her. Haven't watched action sequences so gritty (and real) in a long while.
Timothy Olyphant plays Thomas Gabriel with a rather chilly psychotic edge. One look at him, and you know you're looking at a mad man. A wee bit over the top perhaps, but forgiven since he's such great eye candy. Justin Long is adequate for the cliched geek that he plays. Kevin Smith's (Clerks) cameo as Warlock was hilarious!
But Die Hard 4 is still Bruce Willis' show and he plays McClane as this rock of a man who's stood firm as the world changed around him. McClane is sad and alone, being a hero has done nothing for him. Gone is that trademark smirk, gone is the rough language. But the die hard attitude is still the same. When Farrel and McClane reach the villain's lair where his daughter is being held hostage, Farrel asks him what his plan is. Pat comes the reply, "Find Lucy, kill everybody else". John McClane might have gotten older, but he's still every bit the bad ass. And a true hero!
Verdict - Impressive, especially for a part 4.