In India, the 4th installment of Bruce Willis’ career defining movie franchise “Die Hard” was released with the highly original and imaginative title “Die Hard 4”. Just makes good marketing sense I guess – as Live free or Die Hard (the US name) wouldn’t really resonate with the fan club. And in this case the fan club is huge…with me as the Club Secretary. There are a few scenes in cinematic history which burn a lasting image in one’s memory…and for me atleast 5 of those are from Die Hard 1 and 2. Remember the elevator scene in the first one – where he kills the first baddie and sends him down in an elevator with a note “Now I have a gun.” Awesome. And John McLaine’s celebration of the final insane show of guts which kills the main baddie – “Yippie-Ka-Yay M*****F*****!”.
Yes, the baddie in this movie too ends with the above…and if I tell you how – I will be spoiling your fun. And this is what the movie (and the franchise) is all about. Mind-numbing explosions and gut-wrenching action. And the in-destructible and cynical Bruce Willis as unlucky NY cop – John Mclaine. He usually has a sidekick (the venerable Samuel L Jackson doing the honours in Die Hard 3) – and this time around it is a super-hacker-nerd (Justin Long) who inadvertently co-develops a program which was being used to bring all the major systems of America down. The post 9/11 computer terrorism works well – juxtaposing the totally un-Matrix-esque” McLaine trying to figure out what the bad guy was trying to do with all the computer wizardry. This also helps develop the camaraderie between the 50+ war torn veteran and the chip eating Keanu Reaves look alike.
The baddie (Tim Olyphant) is not as menacing as Jeremy Irons in the last installment – but gives enough reason for the Audience to wish for his demise. And the journey to his demise includes McLaine destroying a Helicoptor with a police car, bringing down an entire section of a Freeway and singlehandedly destoying a F-38 fighter jet. Phew.
This is what Summer movies are all about – and as one critic said, “Complaining about its mindless action is like complaining about the sound of the audience chomping popcorn…” Kudos to Willis – who proves that he still has it in him to save the world…