Imagine that somebody made a video game featuring the characters from the Die Hard series. Now imagine that they took this video game and turned it into a movie, and hired the dude from the Apple commercials (”I’m a Mac!”) to play a hip computer hacker, Kevin Smith (”I made Clerks!”) to play a less-hip computer hacker, and Len Wiseman (”I made Underworld AND Underworld Part 2!”) to direct it. Now imagine that they neutered the violence and language to get a PG-13 rating.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “That doesn’t sound like the Die Hard movies I love!” then you are completely correct. Folks, the new millennium is a terrifying place where action movies contain extended scenes where Bruce Willis stands around — not saying the f-word — watching people type. I never thought it would be possible, but I’m actually starting to miss straight-forward slambang ’80s action movies.
I’m not sure that anyone involved with this film except Willis has even seen a Die Hard movie. If so, why is Ode to Joy not featured? Why is the villain’s plan so incomprehensible? Why is there so much freaking computer hacking? WHY DOES DET. JOHN MCCLANE NEVER SAY HIS FREAKING TAGLINE??
I know that as a review, this review probably sucks. I haven’t even told you what the movie’s about. But then again, the movie never bothered to make that clear either. Some bad dudes totally hack the planet and have total control over the nation’s infrastructure and use it to… uh… I guess they’re stealing money. But they already had control of every bank computer in the world. So they’re stealing more money?
Also I think the movie is trying to be political. But I couldn’t really follow it. Maybe it was saying the American government was bad, or at least inept, and that our real enemies aren’t terrorists but computer hackers. Except for the good hackers, like Kevin Smith and Mac guy. Or maybe the whole point is that the modern world is so incomprehensible with all of its magical computers that there’s no way to understand anything, unless you’re Kevin Smith, so the movie is also incomprehensible.
Don’t even get me started on the computers in the movie. It’s the sort of movie where you see a screen with a progress bar that’s labeled “Uploading Virus” and the virus sets off some explosives as soon as the user presses delete. Only the guy doesn’t press delete, so the dudes who planted the explosives and uploaded the virus have to go into his house and shoot him. But if they uploaded the virus, why can’t they just have it detonate the explosives instantly, without waiting for the user to press delete? A friend of mine offered a possible answer, more likely than anything in the film: Those evil dudes must just really like irony.
Ugh. This movie is such a mess. There are some actually cool action bits, but everything connecting them is pure terror. For some reason, the screenwriters decided to give McClane an annoying sidekick as comic relief (by the way, why do screenwriters think that annoying is the same as funny?), but this misses the fact that McClane is his own comic relief. Go watch the original Die Hard again: McClane is hilarious just talking to himself and making wisecracks. Some of that comes through here, but there’s too much extra junk. This is a bloated, mess of a film.