Twelve years is certainly a long time to wait for a sequel. Not that third installment really had a lot going for it. My personal favorite is the original with Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber as the villain. IMHO, lacking a strong villain is an unsurmountable obstacle when it comes to dying hard.
Here’s the plot outline in a sentence: When a criminal plot is in place to take down the entire computer and technological structure that supports the economy of the United States (and the world), it’s up to a decidedly “old school” hero, police detective John McClane, to take down the conspiracy, aided by a young hacker.
The young hacker is Justin Long whose claim to fame is his “star” Mac role in Apple’s ads. In the movie, he’s also using a Mac which makes you think about clever product placement. You never see a PC, you just assume every other computer is one.
When it comes to bad casting, it’s hard not to notice Kevin Smith. It would’ve been much better if his role was mute with Jay doing the talking but alas, Silent Bob talks. His War10ck is supposed to mock the hacker stereotype but frankly it doesn’t go anywhere.
If there’s one redeeming factor in terms of casting, it’s the female roles: both Maggie Q as the henchwoman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy kick ass and make me want to see more of them instead of the lame villains and sidekicks. James Berardinelli agrees that Lucy would’ve made a much better sidekick. Same thing for Maggie Q in terms of villain-hood.
Let’s keep it real though – if you’re after a summer action movie, this is as good as it gets. In fact, I have a new way to measure if a movie has a universal appeal. On my way out, I caught a glimpse of THREE cleaning ladies who were exiting in a hurry, I assume not to get caught by their supervisor. So once you see cleaning ladies joining in the “fun”, you know the movie’s good.