Die Hard 4.0

Starring Bruce Willis. Directed by Len Wiseman.
Running Time: 128 minutes
Rated: Rated M (medium action violence).

Even older cinema goers who may not have been out for a while will recognise the title, Die Hard. And those who like an action thriller might get more than a little excited. Could a fourth in a series that is almost twenty years old be any good let alone better than its predecessors? The quick answer is a definite 'yes'.

It is extraordinary how Bruce Willis has become one of the major Hollywood screen icons - and he shows no sign of flagging. Between 1985 and 1989, he appeared in 36 television episodes of Moonlighting. He also released some albums of songs. He was probably seen as something of a lightweight, especially when he appeared in his first feature film, a comedy, Blind Date. In 1988 came Die Hard and Willis was off, and in the film, literally running.

His character was called John McLane. And John McLane has become something of a Hollywood icon as well.

On his first McLane appearance, Bruce Willis was 33 years old with terrorists led by Alan Rickman holding a skyscraper. Second time around he was 35 in 1990, saving an airport against Franco Nero. By 1995 for his third outing, he was 41, racing round New York to thwart Jeremy Irons. Which means that the question arises, how can John McLane keep up the momentum at 52 as he faces security expert, Timothy Olyphant?

This is all something of a reminder about the past but also a preamble to saying that an ageing, bald Bruce Willis is fitter than most, performs a lot of action stunts and has to keep going in a plot that takes place over just twenty four hours without a moment of rest, anything to eat or a toilet break. But, while he is on screen, we don't have time to think about this or work out all the logic or logistics.

The important thing for today's audience is that the plot be set in the modern 21st century with all its problems. So, while McLane is not particularly computer literate, he is given a sidekick, an IT geek who has unwittingly been part of a huge terrorist attack on the whole infrastructure of the US and who will have plenty of opportunity to rectify the damage. He is played very well by Justin Long who has appeared in a number of comedies, Dodgeball, Accepted

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