Review: DIE HARD 4.0 (2007) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Review: DIE HARD 4.0 (2007)

In conjunction for the upcoming release of A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD this week (review coming soon!), here is the fourth installment of DIE HARD review.

RATING: 2.5/5

Originally titled as LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (which is actually a reference to New Hampshire's "Live Free or Die" state motto) in the US, the long-awaited DIE HARD 4.0 (that's 12 years since DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE!) is nothing more than a second-rate rehash of DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE -- with cyber-terrorism undertones. Easily the weakest bunch of all DIE HARD movies, this fourth installment has its fair share of excitement but everything else are disappointingly half-baked.

This time, the story centers on a cyberterrorist, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) and his sexy right-hand woman, Mai Linh (Maggie Q) on an elaborate plan to cripple all the computer-related network on the United States. Helping out their cause are a group of different young hackers who hardly realize that they actually assisting the villains to set up the hacking system and get paid with a huge sum of money. However the hackers will end up dead each time they have completed the system.

Enter NYPD detective John McClane (Bruce Willis), who is now divorced from Holly (Bonnie Bedelia, not appearing in the role for the second time since DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE) and sometimes work for the United States Department of Homeland Security. After stalking and upsetting his estranged teenage daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) by interfering with her date, he receives a call that requires him to head to Camden to pick up a hacker named Matt Farrell (Justin Long) and bring him to D.C. for questioning.

But the supposedly easy task turns into an outright danger when John discovers that he's not the only one who wants Matt. Apparently Gabriel has send in his men to kill Matt because he knows too much about them. Coincidentally, John manages to arrive just in time to save him from getting killed. Cue to shootouts, car chases and plenty of big explosions, John and Matt ends up working together to outrun Gabriel's men while trying to find way to stop him before it's too late.

As a typical summer-movie blockbuster, DIE HARD 4.0 is reasonably entertaining and fast-paced enough to keep most of the action fans happy. Director Len Wiseman certainly has a good flair for some exciting action sequences, notably in a memorable scene involving John and Matt find themselves caught in the middle of the darkened tunnel with both side of traffics directed to them, as well as a creative scene where John shoots up the police car and brings down the bad guy's helicopter.

However, Mark Bomback's script is enormously lackluster. Even though he injects a timely crime issue about cyber-terrorism, there's little depth beyond its novelty approach. And while Wiseman may have been good in the action department, the same cannot be said with his erratic direction throughout the movie's lengthy two-hour running time. At times, he tends to go a bit too preposterous in depicting the indestructible John McClane as if he's a superhero. To clarify how absurd he can be, imagine him playing chicken in an 18-wheeler with a fighter plane! (no, I kid you not).

Cast-wise, it's the same old Bruce Willis and his typically wisecracking role as John McClane. As John's unlikely partner Matt Farrell, Justin Long is instantly forgettable and he proves to be no match to the much-superior Samuel L. Jackson's Zeus in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE. Even Timothy Olyphant fares as the worst villain ever seen in a DIE HARD movie. The only supporting casts manage to shine the most are Maggie Q and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who both delivered knockout performances.

Strangely enough, DIE HARD 4.0 manages to exceed all expectations and out-gross all three DIE HARD movies with $134.5 million at the US box office.

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