John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C.John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C.John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C.
Here, the United States is under a new terrorist attack, this time through information technology. A hacker manages to break into the computerized infrastructure that controls the country's communications, transportation and energy, threatening to cause a giant blackout. The perpetrator planned all the steps involved, but did not expect John McClane (Bruce Willis), an old guard policeman, to be called to confront him.
In the past 12 years, there have been many attempts to bring him to the screen, but many impasses involving Willis (who was in no way interested in reincarnating him), screenwriters, and director. John McTiernan, responsible for directing the previous three films in the franchise, jumped off the boat, passing the command to Len Wiseman. It changed the director, and also the essence of the franchise. McClane is no longer the same ... he is now older, evolved, more powerful, and more artificial. It is not good news for those who grew up raving about their adventures. McCLane has always been a completely human hero and rooted in the real world: a man capable of anything, however, with all the feelings of weakness of any human being. In this fourth episode of the series, the United States is not very interested in John McClane, now a tired detective, conveniently hidden in a New York police station. John McClane is also not interested in US destinations. Fortunately, McClane's fundamental fallibility still holds true: his failure as a man. The policeman's efficiency is undeniable, but as a husband McClane has always been a denial. The great asset of the script for the fourth film is not to invent a side-kick, Matt (Justin Long), but to replicate a situation in the first feature: the endangered wife who hates her husband and the endangered daughter who hates her father. An absent father, willing to catch up, wants to know (and control) what his daughter is doing at night. In the best tradition of American voluntarism, this semi-retired police officer exchanges his pajamas for a brief and restless return to his glorious days as a one-man army. This is the big problem in this fourth episode: they turned McClane into a completely unreal character.
Even his new look with a shaved head gave him a certain air of superiority, de-characterizing that image of the ordinary, bald human being from previous films. Before, despite being a great policeman, he was afraid, he was hurt ... now he doesn't lose a tough guy for a second and at most he suffers from scratches. Look at the moment when he, absurdly drops a helicopter throwing a car at him and Justin Long's character is amazed, while he just responds "I was out of bullets". And worse: in the first action scene, when Long asks him in the car, if he happened to be afraid, and he says "yes", maintaining a constant air of superiority. This is definitely not the grumbling of the previous films, much to the disappointment of the fans.
We must remember that the first three films deal with terrorism in a more "open" way, mainly on the second and third tape, where explosions and violence are wide open. But also, it was a time before 9/11, a time until then that nations (mainly the American) believed to be indestructible. It is a fact that the biggest terrorist attack in history touched the Americans and changed the way of making cinema, also changing, John McCLane. Therefore, putting McCLane to face a cyber-terrorist (after several changes in the script), was perhaps the most correct decision, but also the most wrong. The history of terrorism against the United States gave scope for the script to constantly make its political criticism. There are some passages where Bush's "nudge" is evident. One of these "nudges" occurs when the detective tells Farrel that the government must have several agencies prepared to face that situation, and the young man responds by talking about how the government was prepared to help the flood victims in New Orleans, where the population was forgotten by the Bush administration, which left them for several days in a precarious situation, even without drinking water. In addition, the villain himself intends to shock Americans by showing them the mistakes of the current government. Die Hard 4.0 is a politically engaged film, and it knows how to do that, too, in a good-natured way. The scene in which terrorist hackers invade broadcasts from TV stations and begin to spread fear through an edited video in which several ex-presidents, including the current one, are making speeches, is an example of this. The result of the edition are speeches that, together, show the authorities concluding that they cannot avoid the worst, but promise to strive to avoid the catastrophe. At every moment we follow characters using an ironic humor.
The film has this great quality, the humor. Leaving politics, he plays at all times in different situations. Facing a digital enemy, McClane shows that he is not at all prepared for all the existing electronic paraphernalia, resulting in more funny moments. Anyway, jokes are the keynote of the feature. But, it's not just jokes that Die Hard 4.0 is made of. There is also a lot of action. Some scenes are really exciting, like the first one; others not so much. There are scenes so exaggerated that they are almost ridiculous. These are scenes that undermine all the realism built by the good script. In fact, the special effects, due to the physical scenes, are discreet. They are just there to check more reality.
Die Hard 4.0 is the type of film that exudes testosterone. In times of sensitive superheroes, with existential crises, this production brings a protagonist who saves the world in brute force. John McClane does not have time to think about divorce or emotional problems with his daughter when he has all the American territory to save. The action that is spectacular, in the incessant and noisy sense that applies to the adventure super productions of the last years, but that also has the characteristic cynicism of the protagonist and in a way to take things in play: the jokes that "relativize" the violence want to inscribe it in a graphic and playful sphere. This is another film with a video game soul, efficient in the genre, mathematically skilled in seducing young audiences, full of references to pop culture and, above all, to the digital age, with which director Len Weiseman (of the series) deals very freely "Underworld") and screenwriter Mark Bomback ("Godsend"). Wiseman knew how to understand and reproduce the concept in Die Hard 4.0. Anyone looking for Willis' most famous character is already expecting a lot of unlikely action and little explanation, and in that sense the fourth film in the series is up to its predecessors. McClane's untimely nature, in turn, lends itself well to a mood that pits the wisdom of the elderly against the presumption of the youngest, and contrasts a world that is still analog with the new virtual order.
The situations in Die Hard 4.0 are so absurd that the viewer must leave reality outside the cinema and this is the biggest source of fun in productions like these. Many of these scenes are considered to be the high point of action: a car gliding towards the sky to shoot down a helicopter; a vehicle flying through the air towards the detective and the young man when two other cars appear preventing them from being crushed; an army jet opening fire on the truck driven by McClane on a highway. Everything very well done. But they are laughable scenes. They end up making the viewer remember that everything is out of reality. That is, it undermines the belief that everything that has been shown can, in fact, happen. However, there are great action scenes, like the aforementioned first scene, is the one that McClane faces Mai, the main assistant of Thomas Gabriel (the film's villain). The fight between the two is sensational and funny. It's the bully having to beat up a woman. The detective's challenges only increase. In addition to facing a powerful enemy, he will have to fight to rescue his daughter, who was kidnapped by the terrible Gabriel. McClane has to defend his homeland and watch over his family's life. The perfect setting for the hero figure. However, he is an ordinary hero, a normal person, and not someone with superpowers. This identification that the film is able to build with the main character is of fundamental importance. It is impossible not to root for him.
Die Hard 4.0 exaggerates, but does not displease. For those who like the genre and do not mind the impossible, it is an unmissable example. Otherwise, everything works. The story is interesting, social and political criticism is present and the script is well constructed. It is not a serious feature, which stimulates thinking and reflection. It is another blockbuster popcorn, made for large masses and for immediate consumption. But it also serves to show how remarkable the 1980s was for the pop universe. After this return and Sylvester Stallone, in Rocky Balboa (2008), the next was a sixty-year-old Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). A sign that this group still has something to offer. And if the public continues to accept these old icons with joy, what is the problem with that? Bruce Willis did his part well, showing that he has a lot of room for new challenges.
- Sep 6, 2020