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Die Hard 4.0 (DQ)


Stars: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Kevin Smith

Director: Len Wiseman

One of the elements behind the success of TV's 24 is that it somehow stays - or at least seems to stay - within the bounds of probability. This very 24-ish fourth episode in the Die Hard franchise is an exciting, non-stop thriller, but it does overstep those bounds in some style.

Sent to arrest a hacker (Long), John McClane (Willis), now divorced and a detective lieutenant, survives a quintet of assassins and a hail of bullets to discover that his new 'friend' is one of a group of computer nerds hired by a masterbrain (the rather un-menacing Olyphant) to infiltrate America's infrastructure - basically to shut down the country and make off with its billions. When the hackers, their job done, hit the 'delete' button, their sets explode, taking them with them.

As if all this weren't enough, Olyphant seems to command an unlimited amount of artillery, technology and hirelings - OK, that happens in 24 too - and Willis even at one point chides his adversary that he must be running out of bad guys. In true thriller tradition, though, Olyphant lends him a hand by dispatching some of his own men.

The action, though sensationally well staged, takes McClane well outside his muscle-and-blood comfort zone. A car being propelled into the air to dispatch a helicopter and a plane firing missiles at a truck through a jungle of concrete pillars are fist-clenching spectacles, but not things we can actually believe.

Willis himself is well on form, obviously doing some of his own stunts (not bad at 52) and with a few characteristic wisecracks. Olyphant describes him as 'a Timex watch in a digital age', but when he kidnaps Willis' daughter (a solid Mary Elizabeth Winstead), you know the jig is up. Very little swearing in this one, making the 15 certificate a bit harsh.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour.
129 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 01 Jul 2007