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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - Edition No 908 

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DIE HARD 4.0

SYNOPSIS:
On the 4th July weekend, the entire computer-controlled US infrastructure starts closing down in what appears top be a major hacker attack. Security Chief Bowman (Cliff Curtis) orders a crackdown on hackers, but most of them are already dead. NYPD Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis), who is in the neighbourhood of one hacker, Matt Farrell (Justin Long), while having another dispute with his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). McClane is asked as a favour to bring Farrell in. The seemingly easy assignment turns deadly when Farrell's apartment is targeted by a team of experts sent to kill him and blow up his computer den. The incident is just the beginning of a battle launched by ex-security expert Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), who is orchestrating a 'fire sale' attack on the US - a risk he himself had identified but which was ignored by his superiors. The stakes escalate as the well planned shut down begins to bring the US to its digital knees.

Review by Louise Keller:
If you were worried that Bruce Willis at 52 might pass the baton to a younger side-kick in this fourth of the series, think again. If anything, Willis is fitter, leaner and his sardonic humour is better honed, as he brings greater gravitas to FBI agent John McClane, who continues to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. With a concept that matches its budget in terms of size and scale, the threat of virtual terrorism is the focus of Die Hard 4.0, a kick-ass action thriller with electrifying stunts that are as inventive as they are huge.

The storyline allows us to believe that anything and everything is possible in this high-tech digital age, when all things can be manipulated at the touch of a keyboard -traffic chaos, biological warfare, financial markets and communication at every level. Highlights include a no-holds barred cat and dog fight between McClane and Maggie Q's high-kicking, sexy voiced Mai as they trade blows in a car suspended precariously in a cavernous lift-shaft, and an eye-popping freeway chase sequence in which concrete roads and overpasses crumble as the massive truck driven by McClane is pursued by a swooping fighter jet with deadly aim. Cars fly into the air and metal crunches as readily as cellophane, and the stakes grow to skyscraper proportions in a naturally constructed crescendo.

Justin Long is appealing as the techno-savvy super-hacker Matt Farrell, who inadvertently teams up with McClane ('You're a Timex watch in a digital age,) and I especially liked the scene in which McClane philosophises to Matt about his role as a hero ('Nobody wants to be that guy'). Timothy Olyphant's bad guy Thomas Gabriel has enough clout to make him a formidable adversary and Mary Elizabeth Winstead brings a feisty touch as McClane's daughter. The humour is wry, the action relentless and always at the story's heart, Bruce Willis' McClane remains an ordinary man with vulnerabilities and family values who finds himself in extraordinary situations.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
A tightly woven, violent and action packed thriller, Die Hard 4.0 delivers what it promises: a worthy return for John McClane, who may be a bit older, but he still finds himself in the wrong/right place at the wrong/right time when his country needs him. Armed with initiative and a single service issue handgun, McClean cleans up the baddies wherever he goes - but not without a scratch. He is still an underpaid journeyman detective with a divorced wife and a troublesome teenage daughter (first class work by Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and he is still as stubborn as an ox. And just as tough.

It's hard to beat the escapism factor of the Die Hard franchise precisely because of McClane; he has no super powers, although his action powers are certainly superior, and his dogged, almost dumb determination to catch the baddies relies on a simple motivation: he is the one that's there to do it. Willis is terrific as the slightly world weary but resourceful one-man army, whose paternal devotion fires him up even more than his sense of patriotic duty.

Justin Long is excellent as Matt Farrell, McClane's unintended odd-couple partner, whose hacking ability is turned to good use in the fight against Thomas Gabriel's (Timothy Olyphant) spectacular and ambitious plan.

The story is simple and well told; we are aware of everything that goes into the plot, so we remain fully engaged and involved. The fight scenes are superbly choreographed, and shot, for maximum reality, and the many, generous stunt sequences are breathtaking. Some are audacious, like the duel between McClane's monster truck and an F35 fighter jet. That's new! So is the patrol car used as a missile against a helicopter. The destruction caused by the good guys in pursuit of the baddies almost equals the destruction they are intent on causing themselves, but in this genre, the only elements that have to be 100% credible are the characters and the stunts.



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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

DIE HARD 4.0 (M)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Bruce Willis, Timothy Olyphant, Justin Long, Maggie Q, Cliff Curtis, Jonathan Sadowski, Andrew Friedman, Kevin Smith

PRODUCER: Michael Fottrell, John McTiernan, Arnold Rifkin, Bruce Willis

DIRECTOR: Len Wiseman

SCRIPT: Mark Bomback

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Simon Duggan

EDITOR: Nicolas De Toth

MUSIC: Marco Beltrami

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Patrick Tatopoulos

RUNNING TIME: 128 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 9, 2007







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