Starring: Bruce Willis
Story: All the other Die Hard movies shaken together with a touch of cyber terrorism, a different national holiday and less hair.
Comments: The first thing I knew about a new Die Hard film was Bruce Willis in the middle of an explosion staring down at me from the side of a bus. My initial reaction was 'Yippee-ki-yay!' This was pretty quickly replaced by suspicion, however. Could I really have missed all the hype? Or had there been no hype because the film was dreadful?
I wasn't reassured by the title. Die Hard 4.0? That's a bit lame. I felt a shameless, nostalgia-destroying cash-in coming on.
Then I discovered that this is just the European title. In America it's called Live Free or Die Hard. That's much more like it. I was still concerned that Bruce Willis was too old, the plot would be a mess and everything would be cobbled together around a couple of outlandish action sequences but I was hopeful it would be OK. When the time came, I crossed my fingers as I put the disc in the DVD player...
Fortunately, I was grinning like a loon within minutes. It's a new Die Hard film and it's great!
Sure, it's a far cry from the original but it's a valid continuation of a series which has steadily expanded in scale from one sequel to the next. At heart, it's still the same. There are no pointless plot twists for the sake of it. This is one guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, cracking one-liners and kicking butt. Everything flows together extremely well and there's a steady stream of action. It's more over the top than it used to be but that's just down to a couple of decades of action film inflation. Blame The Matrix for altering our expectations.
As for Bruce Willis, if anything, he looks more the part than he did twenty years ago. It's now odd to think that he had hair in the previous movies. If you don't believe me, check out the music DVD hidden amongst the special features. It covers all four movies in five minutes and is very amusing (although it contains ten times more bad language than the film itself).
Some Die Hard fans may be offended that the swearing and gore have been toned down. This was almost certainly done to lower the age rating and let more teenage boys into the cinema to see the film. It does sanitise things a bit but, ironically, it's probably the teenage boys who will be most disappointed. Overall, it's really only a minor quibble against a movie that makes most other action blockbusters look poorly planned and uninspired.
Conclusion: Let's just hope that the new Indiana Jones film is this good.
Bruce Willis: Bald.
My grin: Very big.