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  Live Free or Die Hard Yesterday Once More
Year: 2007
Director: Len Wiseman
Stars: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Cliff Curtis, Jonathan Sadowski, Andrew Friedman, Kevin Smith, Yorgo Constantine, Cyril Rafaelli, Chris Palermo, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sung Kang, Zeljko Ivanek, Christina Chang, Tim Russ
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: It's early in the morning in New York City and detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) has been waiting around for his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) to arrive home, so that when she and the boy she's been out with start making out in the boy's car, McClane naturally disapproves and breaks them up. A heated argument ensues, only serving to further alienate him from Lucy, but then he receives a call from the station to go and pick up a computer hacker in the area he is currently in. This doesn't improve his mood any, but he complies, not knowing that across the country someone has been killing off top hackers and the young man he's about to meet, Matt Farrell (Justin Long) is next on their list...

Trouble brews pretty quickly for this, the fourth Die Hard movie (known as Die Hard 4.0 in Europe), an attempt for Bruce Willis to relive past glories and quite a successful one on its own terms. Scripted by Mark Bomback and David Marconi, this was closer to Die Hard with a Vengeance than the first two, as it didn't take place with the characters stuck in one location and instead had them rushing around the city and outside its borders all in pursuit of the bad guys, or, if they were a bad guy, to get away from the good guys. This McClane was less humorous than before, sure, he still talked to himself occasionally, but he was more serious minded here.

That's not to say there weren't moments that prompted chuckles, but the action was what this was all about as the now-getting on a bit hero went through the motions, never getting out of breath and although taking the lion's share of knocks and beatings still emerging invincible. The villain this time is Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), a computer genius who sets out to take down America's communications networks, beginning with the old Italian Job trick of messing up the traffic lights in New York, causing chaos that can only increase as he and his team, including hacker and martial arts expert Mai (Maggie Q) - there's a combination - tighten their grip.

McClane senses something might not be all quite ticketyboo when he and Matt are shot at by a team of crack commandos at his apartment, which is subsequently blown up thanks to a crafty computer virus designed to cover Gabriel's tracks. So, as in the third instalment, this is a buddy picture of sorts, only rather than a racial difference between the heroes there's an age and cultural difference, with McClane the old man baffled by technology and Matt the wimpy computer nerd who has to rely on him for getting out of those scrapes. Mismatched they may be, but they remain mismatched right to the end, despite reaching a kind of agreement of convenience.

But this is about how a middle-aged man can still be relevant when the chips are down, whether it's for a film studio seeking a blockbuster or for society seeking a champion, or simply a daughter realising that her dear old dad can be relevant in her life, even if most daughters don't have to put up with being kidnapped so their fathers can save them from avaricious and non-political terrorists. The stunts, although plainly computer generated for many of them, have a pleasingly crunchy, old school feel, with McClane running over a helicopter with a car or tangling with a jet fighter on a collapsing flyover among the highlights. Yet the efforts to appear up to date are still all too apparent, and the plot does show the strain even if Willis doesn't; the eighties-style obsession with computers marks this film out as desperately wanting to be hip (the kids like computers, right?). Music by Marco Beltrami.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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