Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA/United Kingdom, 2007. Twentieth Century Fox, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, Cheyenne Enterprises, Wintergreen Productions. Story by Mark Bomback, David Marconi, Screenplay by Mark Bomback, based on the article A Farewell To Arms by John Carlin, and characters created by Roderick Thorp. Cinematography by Simon Duggan. Produced by Michael Fottrell. Music by Marco Beltrami. Production Design by Patrick Tatopoulos. Costume Design by Denise Wingate. Film Editing by Nicolas De Toth.
Bruce Willis makes an attempt to get back on top of the action game by resurrecting a franchise after twelve years. Years after his divorce from his wife, he is now living in Brooklyn and trying to reconnect with his fully estranged daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). One night after interrupting her date with a semi-boyfriend, Willis is asked to do a routine pick-up of a computer hacker (Justin Long) who turns out to have some pretty dangerous friends: Willis’ mundane evening is turned into an action-packed roller coaster when Long’s apartment is attacked on all sides by countless gunmen and the two of them barely escape with their lives. It turns out his charge is actually connected with web-based group of baddies who have hacked into the entire country and are, little by little, shutting down the United States Of America. McClane has dealt with this sort of megalomaniac evil before, so it’s not like we as an audience are particularly worried that he might not get the job done. Twelve years later, Willis is still a formidable action star, his years perhaps giving him more wisdom than is appropriate for this type of film but none of the sagging, bitter fatigue that seems to have accompanied Mel Gibson into his fifties. That said, this film is trying way too hard to appeal to the new kids by abandoning the sharp, grungy action of the earlier films and going stylish and high-tech with its editing and visuals. It mostly feels like they’ve taken a routine cop thriller and slapped John McLane’s name on it just to sell it, and it doesn’t help that Timothy Olyphant as the head of the baddies isn’t nearly frightening or charismatic enough to live up to the villains in the series’ past.