Friday, July 13, 2007

Movie Review: Die Hard 4.0

John McClane is back! He's older and wiser now, and so, of course, realises that even if you are being hunted by terrorists and shot at from every angle - that's simply no reason for bad language.

Seriously, I'm baffled by the decision to go for a PG-13 rating for this film, and thankful that in this country they got a 15 rating, enabling them to retain McClane's trademark catchphrase (you know the one, the one that ITV has been dubbing over as "Yipee-ki-yay Kemosabe" for years). That said, I have to admit that I'd rather have the film relatively swear word free, rather than find myself watching it on ITV in a few years and having to suffer hearing someone called a "gal dang melonfarmer."

However, the lack of a wee swearie or two hardly makes this film family friendly, with a whole multitude of violent and painful deaths filling the movie from start to finish. Why our society is ok with our young teens seeing acts of gratuitous violence, but doesn't want them to hear a few bad words, I'll never understand.

The language is nor the only thing that's different about the UK version of this film, it has also received a name change on its way across the atlantic. Billed in the US as "Live Free or Die Hard", it's received the simpler and less imaginitive title of "Die Hard 4.0" over here. One suspects that this has something to do with not wanting to produce multiple language versions of the poster artwork for the international release. Once again Hollywood seems to fail to understand that we do not speak a different language in this country. This attitude is what often leads to us having to wait for all the foreign language dubs and subs to be done on a movie before it's released in the UK, a policy which has sometimes lead to a film not receiving a theatrical release here in the UK until after the DVD release in the USA. And yet they wonder why there is such a big problem with pirate DVDs here?? I know I've mentioned this before here, but isn't it time that Hollywood got its act together and started releasing films over here at the same time as the US? If they were serious about fighting piracy they would.

Okay, so, time to get off my high horse and get back to the subject of the film! Is it any good, you ask? Well, actually, yes, it's great fun. That is, assuming you like your action movies larger than life, full of giant explosions and preposterous set pieces and you're happy to leave your brain at the door on the way in. Rest assured, you can happily give your brain the night off if you go and see this movie as whenever anything gets a bit technical or complicated, McClane is there for you, scratching his head and asking people to explain everything in words of one syllable just in case you've never heard of the internet or computers or something.

The main purpose of the plot in this movie is to lead you from one giant explosion to the next while firing off as many rounds of ammunition as is humanly possible. At one point, McClane takes out a helicopter by essentially firing a car at it and you think to yourself, "That is by far the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen" me, you'll be revising that opinion by the end of the movie (probably during the "truck vs fighter plane" sequence).

Solid performances are delivered by everyone involved. Willis is, as ever, brilliant in the role he was made to play, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Justin Long also shine as McClane's chip-off-the-old-block daughter and his new hacker side kick respectively. Kevin Smith pops up in his now obligatory cameo role, and if like me you're a Kevin Smith fan, you'll enjoy it. I'm sure these cameos must really grate on those people that can't stand him though. Heh. What this film does lack is a really memorable villain, Timothy Olyphant is no Alan Rickman and the film suffers for it.

So far, in the year of the threequel, Die Hard is proving that four is the magic number.

Rating: 7/10

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