The original Die Hard was a great movie. Although it was pretty much a standard 80s action flick, it had several elements that made it stand out:
- The hero (John McClane) was relatively human (at least by action movie standards). He got hurt (a lot), made mistakes, and generally performed physical feats than fall within the bounds of human norms.
- Unlike most of these movies, McClane actually had a reason for being at the scene and a valid reason for trying to take on the bad guys.
- the villains actually had a pretty good plan and were competent in its execution. In most films, the bad guy’s plan is so stupid that it would fail even if the good guy stayed home.
Die Hard 4 has none of these features. Don’t get me wrong, it is still an OK action movie and Bruce Willis still makes an engaging hero. But everything that made the first Die Hard so interesting is missing.
The villain’s plan is pretty vague and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever when it is finally revealed. The henchmen (most of them seem to be European for no adequately explained reason) are the world’s worst assassins equipped with the world’s worst automatic weapons. The action set pieces are well put together but totally ludicrous. I can suspend my disbelief for quite a while, but it’s hard in the face of a man falling out of the back of a trunk that is teetering over the edge of a drop and landing unhurt on the back of a hovering F-18 that is trying to kill him.
In short, Die Hard 4 tries too hard to up the ante that it misses the touches that made the first film so memorable. Recommended for action movie lovers only, and then only on DVD.