Friday, 6 July 2007

Die Hard 4.0

Good movie. Excellent movie. Incredibly energizing. Timothy Olyphant: you are the hottest thing on two legs.

But the point? Do we learn anything from this movie? A few issues I have:

1. John McClane as a problematic hero (ties into 2. and 3.)
2. What good is American money in a post-apocalyptic economy?
3. The "firesale" would surely affect other countries: it is not just an American problem

I guess I was tainted in my opinion of the film because I saw it in England, amongst English people. I was thus hyper-aware of the American-ness of the whole thing.

First, John McClane. A good cop - respects the law (when appropriate), has respect for most human life, trained to notice stuff and drive well and take punches (or bullets) and think on his feet. But why, throughout the entire movie, the repeated threats of physical violence out of his mouth? It seems to be his iconic thing - he *will* get to the bad guys, he *will* punch out or threaten anything in his way, and then he *will* beat the crap out of the bad guys for doing what they did. And he will do it all ironically, resignedly, resentful of the fact that he 'has to be that guy.' What does this say about our ideas about justice? That we resent being the bully, but somebody has to be 'that guy'; we might as well 'grow some balls' and accept that physical violence is a fact of the world.

Maybe I read too much into the script, but it seems like a defense of American foreign policy. We resent being the most powerful nation in the world, and we resent having to boss everyone else around to keep the world a safe place, but if we didn't do it, the whole world would go to pot. We are saving lives through our violence and intimidation.

I find it troubling. #3 also spells out why I think the movie is, if anything, too solipsistic in its range. All the news reports, all the damage and damage control - it all came from and affected only Americans and American soil. Since when are our economy and satellites and utilities only dependent on what happens in our country? And since when would the rest of the world ignore us if such a 'terrorist hack' were to occur? Whether we like it or not, our country is deeply integrated with the rest of the world - we depend on other countries for the livelihood of our economy, and what happens in America has repercussions worldwide. The movie, in all its American aggrandizement, cannot imagine itself out of that symbiosis.

But yeah, go see the movie. And be prepared to cream yourself whenever Olyphant is on the screen.

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