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Die Hard 4.0 (AF)


Stars: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant, Maggie Q, Kevin Smith, Cliff Curtis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Director: Len Wiseman

While he’s lost his hair in the 12 years since he last played one-man-army John McClane, Willis has lost none of his charisma and dominates this belated but hugely welcome sequel as, with a little help from nerdy cyber-expert Long, he saves his daughter from death and saves the US from Olyphant and his fellow computer geniuses who intend to topple the nation through cyber-chicanery.

If the prospect of a plot dependent on knowledge of computer-speak chills you as much as it does me, don’t worry. Like all the best thrillers – and this is one of the recent best – technology is simply an excellent McGuffin. What really counts here are the plentiful action set pieces, sizzling stunts and driving suspense delivered with adrenaline-surging skill by Willis and director Wiseman in a hugely exciting thrill-a-minute show that starts fast (Willis blazes away in a spectacular shootout with five villains in an apartment) and then rarely relaxes up to the memorable climax which finds McClane saving the day by leaping onto a speeding truck and engaging in close combat with a fighter plane.

Credibility isn’t its strongest point, but so what? Willis makes an ideal avenger, hard-as-nails (the preview audience rightly cheered when he fought Martial Arts murderess Q to a bloody standstill) but ever-ready with an apt wisecrack (“I was out of bullets” is his response to Long’s plaudit “You just killed a helicopter with a car”). Much of the time, McClane makes 007 resemble a wuss – could you really ask for more?

Alan Frank

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

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Jul 2007