Released as Die Hard 4.0 outside of the US because the title was deemed too American, Live Free Or Die Hard is, as the international title says, the 4th installment in the Die Hard series. No one expected to see a new installment as it was already 19 years after the release of the original movie that started it all. But in the end, here it is at last and how does it hold up. Is a 60 year old Bruce still convincing enough to be running around fighting terrorists?
Pretty much I must say! Brucie still has it. Now completely bald (you can see all the stages if you have a Die Hard marathon) Bruce is being put against Timothy Olyphant as a man who starts an attack on the vulnerable United States infrastructure and begins to shut down the entire nation. It’s up to John McClane to stop him and save the day once again.
Die Hard 4 holds up pretty well, even though it still uses a lot of old school stunt work it now has access to CGI and that gives us a way to John even dodging flying cars. Pretty fun stuff, but in the end it’s something we see in a lot of today’s movies. In that light this installment is a standard action movie with an elaborate plot but the fact that this movie has a little ingredient called nostalgia in it gives it an extra edge. It’s just nice to see how our old buddy John is doing, let’s face it, we’ve been through so much. I think that is also one of the reasons we’ve been seeing entire flock of movies who have their roots in the 70’s or 80’s and have a sequel in 00’s with original castmembers; Rocky, Rambo, Indy, John… Their return, all in form, tell us that aging is nothing to be worried about. They were kings in the 80’s and they still hold up well… An extra layer to, what appears at the surface, be a simple action movie.
Before I forget, the original movie intruced us to the layered bad guy. Someone with more than just an evil scheme, but someone fleshed out, with charisma. Timothy Olyphant succeeds partially. He’s no Rickman or Irons, but he fleshes his role more that William Sadler did in part 2, who just looked menacing and nothing more. Other roles are filled as we expect; Justin Long is convincing as a hacker and it’s refreshing to see him in something else than in a comedy or horror. Kevin Smith has a cameo, which makes me wonder if this movie is responsible for the casting of Justin in Zack & Miri Make A Porno… a movie in which he overacted, but it was delicious.
Die Hard 4.0 didn’t destroy the franchise; it is, again, a welcome addition.