Returned from Amsterdam

I have just returned from a 5-day break in Amsterdam and had a great time. A city steeped in history, wonderful canals, architecture and very friendly people really added value to my time in the Dutch city.

Some pictures have now been uploaded. Because of bandwidth issues, I’ve only selected a few

All pictures removed for time being.

Die Hard 4.0 review

die hard 4

“An enjoyable summer blockbuster action movie”

When I was first heard about Die Hard 4, I was initially sceptical about it. I was worried that its star, Bruce Willis, was only doing it for the money; and that the Die Hard series was going to fall victim to the ‘cookie-cutter’ action vehicle that the original Die Hard movie helped create.

I was also concerned that the toning of violence from an UK certificate 18 to a UK certificate 15 was really going to harm the movie.

Fortunately, I was quite pleasantly surprised by this movie, as it is a thoroughly enjoyable summer blockbuster action movie.

The movie has Bruce Willis reprising his role of Detective John McClane who must escort and protect a computer hacker whilst the “entire connected society” is systematically targeted by a group of computer hackers, leaving the country electronically crippled.

In the meanwhile Willis must dodge countless bullets, bombs, explosions, flying cars and so forth. The action is fast, furious and sometimes quite intelligent.

Whilst this movie is a great popcorn action movie, I felt that the CGI action was too over the top to be believable, almost turning McClane into Spiderman or something.

I liked the numerous references and homage’s to the old Die Hard movies, such as the techno-wizard kid, the musical interludes, the “wrong man in the wrong place” line, and so on – but I felt that even with all these references, the movie – well, was just a template that could have easily been filled by another actor and we, the audience, probably wouldn’t have noticed.

Bruce Willis had gone on record saying that this Die Hard is just as smart as the first one, and just as enjoyable; whilst I agree that the movie is very enjoyable, and much better than Die Hard 3 and Die Hard 2 – I just don’t agree with the “smartness”, rather I feel this Die Hard has fallen into the “bear trap” of being yet another CGI action movie – almost to the point where you could probably take out Bruce Willis, replace it with another actor and you probably won’t see any real difference.

I felt the plot was good, as it brought up the issue of the inter-connected, always online society – although the methods were questionable and, at times, implausible; however, the main villain also seemed equally light, the lightest villain in the entire Die Hard action saga.

1989’s Die Hard is regarded by some to be the daddy of modern action movies. The movie spawned many clones, even Die Hard sequels fell to Die Hard’s template of action; but the question is – does Die Hard 4 set a new template for action? My answer to that is no.

The reason is; the movie is just a cookie-cutter action movie that has an equally replaceable actor.

Would this movie have been better if it were an 18? If it had more cursing? If it had real stunts instead of CGI trickery? Maybe, if the villain had a bit more gravitas? I don’t know, somehow, I feel that post-Die Hard, any movie that held the title “Die Hard” would be shelved in the “clones of Die Hard” and left to gather dust.

I think overall, this is a great summer action movie blockbuster, filled with explosions, over the top stunts and a good rounded plot, but apart from the title – this is Die Hard in name only.

Overall: 7/10