Except for one blatantly over the top moment that completely destroys credulity, the fourth entry in the Die Hard series is pretty damned solid entertainment. Bruce Willis returns (without his hair) for a fourth time as NYPD John McClane who gets swept up in what appears to be a techo-terrorism plot to bring down as much of America’s electronics as possible, but as always, there’s something else going on.
I do like that this film franchise is still able to draw solid names to the cast, the villain is played by Timothy Olyphant, with Maggie Q at his side, while Justin Long comes aboard as a hacker that gets tangled up with McClane who is in D.C. to check on his daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
It seems that the McClane’s are divorced, things didn’t work out after that phone call in the third film I guess, and John is now trying to get along with his kids, who don’t really want much to do with him, but, of course, Lucy gets pulled into events as well – as a hostage to get McClane out of Gabriel’s (Olyphant) way.
Len Wiseman directs the action sequences well, and Willis is at ease as McClane, spouting sarcasm and humour at inappropriate moments – this is a character that he knows, and while some moments seem completely out of the realm of believability, McClane kind of makes it bearable.
There are some great moments, shoot-outs and fisticuffs throughout the film, as John works to stop Gabriel and his plan, but that sequence on the road with John in a transport truck squaring off at with a jet fighter, and the ensuing hijinks almost pushed me out of the film.
John still gets beaten up in this film, he’s not quite a superhero yet, but he’s come along way in terms of physical endurance since that Christmas at Nakatomi Plaza. Pairing him with Justin Long’s Matt makes for some fun moments, and there seems to be a good rapport between them, and Winstead’s Lucy feels like a McClane.
Like the previous films, this one is a sprawling two hour ride that lets you settle in and enjoy it for what it is – a popcorn romp of an action flick, an almost a new millennium nod to the action films of the 80s. Willis doesn’t seem tired of the role yet, in fact, I would argue that alongside David Addison, this is probably the easiest role for him to slip into, and I think he enjoys it.
If they could just reign in some of the ridiculousness that has begun to crop up. Think I’m wrong, wait until we hit number five… A Good Day to Die Hard.