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Great helicopters and explosions abound, the witticisms are barbed, and the cinematography is silver-grey in Die Hard 4.0 (or Live Free or Die Hard, depending on which empire you see it in). I was tired to start with, but the film couldn’t wake me up. I vacillated between being bored and horrified, as Bruce Willis yet again stands in for the lone American male whose first resort is always violence (in the first film he was the archetype of a Vietnam War vet, assailed by terrorists on the one hand, and a frustrating civil service bureaucracy on the other; this time he clearly represents the guy who’d go to Iraq just because it’s the right thing to do, even though he knows the government sending him is corrupt).
This scene, however, was not the most striking example of cynicism in Die Hard 4.0—that would be the moment where the extremely attractive Asian woman, played by Maggie Q, gets kicked and beaten by our surrogate Bruce, and eventually crushed and blown up by an SUV while Willis chuckles at having destroyed a hot chick. We’re supposed to laugh along with him.
Now I know I sound like a killjoy—which is, I suppose, what Bruce Willis does to a lot of people in this movie—but the question still remains:
Why is it that when we fear this kind of thing in the real world, we still want to be entertained by it?
Gareth Higgins is a Christian writer and activist in Belfast, Northern Ireland. For the past decade he was the founder/director of the zero28 project, an initiative addressing questions of peace, justice, and culture. He is the author of the insightful How Movies Helped Save My Soul and blogs at www.godisnotelsewhere.blogspot.com