Saturday, July 14, 2007

"LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD"
Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Timothy Olyphant, Cliff Curtis

Cinema 11, SM Megamall




John McClane is back in the fourth installment of the Die Hard series. The first time "Die Hard" was shown over 20 years ago, it was considered a gritty, action film with a loser type yet wise cracking cop fighting against "thinking" terrorists, but back then they were simply known as bad guys. A one man army against a band of technologically sophisticated bad guys out to wreak havoc.

Fast forward to current times in an age where TV shows like "24" and "Prison Break" reign supreme, "Live Free or Die Hard" pales in comparison to the edgy and gripping plots we are exposed to from those shows, every week. So granted that we had to sit for 130 minutes to see McClane blow away the bad guys, it was a far stretch. I guess in short what I am trying to say is that the novelty has worn off.

Ok but hang on all is not lost, director Len Wiseman did make it relevant to the times by making technology the main cause of the conflict in the film. A disgruntled ex employee from the Department of Homeland Security with an archangel sounding name, Thomas Gabriel is the protagonist. He gets all bratty when the software/server he developed to ensure the safety of a million citizens against terrorists attacks isn't recognized or developed by the US government. To prove his point, he attacks the main grid of every single system which runs the whole country to the point of complete paralysis. Isn't that the worst case scenario that the United States can experience in these volatile times? It definitely feeds to the paranoia that seems to be gripping the US at this moment in time.

But naturally John McClane is there to the rescue, ably supported by a young hacker/side kick type. A role essayed by Justin Long. A refreshing young actor who projects well on screen. Bruce Willis still has it in him to carry a movie but there is only so much he can do if the script limits his role. McClane this time is more subdued perhaps since he is much older but his wise cracking isms are sorely missed. His stunts are still well choreographed to get the adrenaline pumping and your ears busting from all that noise. The whole movie is filmed in this grainy, somber tone which Len Wiseman has used before in this "Underworld" series. So while it might be understandable to develop that style in a werewolf/vampire genre, I don't see the relevance in using the same technique in a supposedly action oriented film. But that's just me.

Anyways I suppose that Die Hard 4.0. is still entertaining enough so you won't fall asleep but it is nothing to lose sleep over, either.

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