Friday, April 18, 2008

Movie Review: Die Hard IV or Live Free

Movie: Live Free or Die Hard 4 (2007)
Cast: Bruce Willis
Director: Len Wiseman
Genre: Action / Adventure / Crime

I watched this movie few months ago in India but thought I'd write a review on this when I saw it again on DVD here. I guess this movie did better than Rambo IV hence this can be considered as more popular and better than the Stallone starrer. One of the major flaws in this movie is that an older and more tired Bruce Willis is shown as physically stronger and immune to pain. That is quite absurd in my opinion.

Anybody who has seen the Rocky series of movies starring Sylvester Stallone can easily relate to Die Hard 4. The first movie of this series was released over a decade ago in 1988 and it was a blockbuster globally. I really liked the 1988 movie and the action by Bruce Willis looked realistic and convincing of a New York City detective John McClane, who works by his own rules and not that of the state.

I guess it was the phenomenal success of the first movie that led to the making of sequel after sequel featuring more or less the same characters. But the latest movie the fourth part was something of a disappointment to me. The movie tries in vain to combine hard macho action with high-tech weaponry and warfare methods and fails to a large extent. The villain played by Timothy Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel, whose sole aim is to reduce United States into a nation of chaos and anarchy using his strong computer software skills and teams of freelance hackers across the country.

Enter McClane quite by accident as he gets caught in the crossfire while transporting prisoner Matt Farrell (Justin Long). The latter is a handsome geek who can hack anything from police networks to mobile phones to computers. Matters get complicated when the villain kidnaps McClane's daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and our macho cop goes into a frenzy, destroying everything that comes between and his daughter’s safety.

Laced with sarcastic dialogues, unbelievable action sequences, which portray McClane and Farrell as invincible characters, the story moves along quickly. Directed by Len Wiseman of the Underworld fame, the plot is based on John Carlin’s article A Farewell to Arms (1997). Though the action scenes and stunts look very exciting and ensures that you sit at the edge of your seat in anticipation, they fail in reality.

In the original Die Hard, McClane gets badly wounded and he portrays real pain through his facial expressions and actions. One of the scenes that is etched in my mind is the limping and almost-at-tears expression as he walks across shards of glass in padded feet. But in the latest movie, he is portrayed as someone who can fight everything human or machine and not feel any pain or hurt at all. McClane crashes his car against helicopters, crashes big trucks and even fights with a sexy computer geek who is also a trained ninja fighter. Despite all the injuries, beatings etc McClane doesn’t even groan or wince from pain, isn’t it ridiculous. A decade later I would have presumed that McClane would have matured and become more wiser, but only his body seems to have become stronger because in this movie his bulky structure takes far more abuse than in the first movie.

The movie starts hotting up when McClane goes to arrest and bring in hacker Justin Long for questioning. Like in most movies, the villains use more sophisticated weapons and are smarter than cops. In this the cyber-criminals use deadly computer viruses to disable financial markets, traffic, government institutions and virtually everything. Most part of the movie goes off in showing off the technological prowess of the villain and the machoistic tendencies and power of the good cop, McClane.

I would say that this movie is to be watched purely for entertainment and I would recommend it only to action and stunt lovers. People who don’t like to see destruction, blood and gore on screen better not go to this movie. It is seriously violent movie with a teeny-weeny share of humour.

Trailer of the movie

1 comment:

Morrie Schwartz said...

Very good movie. Watch it.