LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD- There hasn’t been a good DIE HARD film since the first one and this sucker continues the tradition. More accurately a TERMINATOR sequel in which Willis plays The McClaine-bot 3000 taking enough punishment to snap Arnold’s spine and liquefy his brain. Brucie-boy is shot, drives through walls, dangles over an elevator shaft, blows up helicopters and battles mano-a-mano with a fighter jet. Which is a shame as the story they’ve concocted is interesting and kind of smart. It’s just constantly undermined by the action scenes which are so incredibly over the top that they are completely unbelievable. Indeed, it seems at times as if the actions scenes (of which there are at least two too many) are from another film altogether. I wanted to like the movie because of the fine cast and interesting ideas but then another impossibly dumb thing would happen throwing it all down the crapper. Not that the plot is perfect as it kind of trips over itself a few times. (I love how Willis is able to drive across country so quickly when the entire country has been shut down and the roads are gridlocked.) But lots of folks love this one. Oh well. Coming soon DIE HARD 5- SAVE THE MOON!
FANTASTIC FOUR: THE RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER- There are few movies dumber than the first FF movie. I think that pound for pound, minute for minute the first film may actually be the dumbest super hero movie yet made. It was insulting, juvenile (in the worst sense of the word), poorly scripted and it also managed to jettison everything good about the Fantastic Four’s entire 45 year history. Yeah- I hated it.
Now we come to the sequel- because everyone but me LOVED the damned movie! It is probably damning this movie with faint praise to say it is better than the first one but sadly, saying that might lead unsuspecting viewers to think it might be good. It is not. If the first one was akin to a kick in the groin this one is less painful. Maybe like a kick in the stomach instead. Not a debilitating injury I guess, but one you’ll remember for a while. It’s not as insulting as the first but it still has Reed Richards acting like a complete idiot 90% of the time. It’s not as stupid but it still portrays Johnny Storm as a moronic prick in need of a few bullets. It’s not as clueless about the characters but it still shows they have nothing for Ben Grimm to really do except be the butt of bad jokes. It’s not as puerile as the first but it still somehow finds a way to get the Invisible Woman naked in public. Lowest common denominator every time, huh?
The only thing that comes off well is the Silver Surfer but only because he’s kept mostly a mystery with only a hint of his terrible history. I guess that’s something. But of course they did manage to screw up Galactus really well so Doctor Doom doesn’t have to be the only FF antagonist to be completely destroyed by the filmmakers. Did I mention Doom is in this one as well? If you thought the character was great in the first film (shudder) you’ll love his intensely forgettable presence here.
So- better than the first film BUT- still awful. If they stay on this incremental quality trajectory we might get a good Fantastic Four film by roughly 2022. Just in time for the comic book’s 60th anniversary. I hope that perhaps then we’ll get a movie about these characters that seems aimed at more than short attention span teenagers.