7.01.2007

The Live Free Post

I am a fan of the first three Die Hard films (well at least 1 and 3), so I was pretty much going to like this film regardless unless they changed the formula up to an extreme degree, Fortunately, the heart and sole of the original Die Hards is still intact, albeit buried under a lot of fluff and superfluous techno mumbo jumbo. I will say right off the bat that Willis is still John McCain, through and through. Sure older and balder, but considering the age difference between the films he pulls the role off phenomenally. For the most part all the acting flows well especially the minor, but essential role of Officer Bowman (Cliff Curtis), which I think really pulled the not-so-believable plot down to a stomachable story. Justin “Hey PC” Long is great as the techno savvy geek boy who accompanies Willis through an age McCain is clearly struggling to keep up with, and does a great job and adding the necessary stress and panic that keeps the pace thrillingly fast. The only casting job I find issue with is Timothy Oliphant as super hacker Thomas Gabriel. Somehow he doesn’t come across as the ruthless bad guy he needs to be, which is further weakened by his character’s reliance on ‘lesser-hackers’ to do the dirty work he should be able to do (he is portrayed as the hacker of all hackers).

Willis’ character is the man during the movie, as one would expect. Why shoot someone when you can launch an SUV at them? The way McCain steps back to laugh at the elaborate action once in a while makes the implausibility vanish and keeps the audience in ‘summer blockbuster’-mode. His pairing with Justin Long works well and the two are quite the team, chemistry and all. I find it funny that Justin Long’s character is the nerdy hacker type, who chugs RedBull and stares at monitors all day as opposed to shaving; yet he is supposed to be the sophisticated cool-computer user in all the Mac ads. The contrast is amusing, and I wonder how well Apple is taking his blockbuster geekyness image. Meh, he made me want to by a Mac, so I think they are just sitting about talking on their iPhones and counting money at this point.

The film itself, though far more implausible than previous entries, is fast paced, easy on the eyes, action packed and well stoked with entertaining showdowns and obstacles for McCain to hurdle. A tad long for its own good, but entertaining throughout. I would have nixed the harrier scene personally, as it pretty much epitomizes all that is wrong with this movie; a long drawn out battle that’s too flashy and unbelievable to fit within the story. McCain’s character is a broken hero, too old to stay in the game, but he steps up because there is no one else to fill the role. Die Hard 4 is the same way. It’s a nostalgic tribute to the action heroes of the past, who needs to hang up his hat and retire, letting the newer franchises take over. Though I am very glad to see McCain back in action and I’m glad he stepped up to the plate one more time. Yippee-Ki-Aye…

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