Excerpts of an interview with the ubercool bald hero: Bruce Willis along with Justin Long and director Len Weisman
Yippee-ki-yay mo*&$%#@! Bruce Willis comes crashing back with his trademark line as action hero John McClane. The fourth in the franchise, "Live Free or Die Hard” is due out real soon. This time it involves a cyber-terrorist plot that targets the nation's vulnerable computer infrastructure and threatens to shut down the entire U.S. McClane (Willis) unwillingly goes about beating up the bad guys. Lots of action andlots of car crashes never seen before. And a good plot to boot.
Q: In the first three Die Hards, it seemed like John McClane was a reluctant hero who didn't really want to be in this situation. In the footage we saw last night, it seems like he's kind of embraced his role as the action hero.
BRUCE WILLIS: Really?
Q: Is that the case?
BRUCE WILLIS: No, that's not the case. All through it I'm reluctant. Now I'm extra reluctant.
Q: Over the years the Die Hard 4 rumors included you and Ben Affleck in the jungle. Why this story?
BRUCE WILLIS: It just seemed like the right time. It was a good script and a bunch of different elements conspired to kind of bring it together. At a certain point, it's just a leap of faith. I just had to say, 'Let's take a shot.' I liked what Len had to say about the film and I was pretty confident in the fact that if we got a good story that we could improve upon that which is what we ultimately did. But at the end of the day, when it's the 11th and a half hour, you just got to say, 'Here we go.' Look, it could've sucked. We could be sitting here trying to get you excited about it. The really rewarding thing is to know that we have a great film. When I first saw the first cut of this film, I was so impressed and relieved at the same time. It really is kind of counter programming to what's out there this summer. But the Ben Affleck thing, I don't know where that came from. I heard that story too. Lotta rumors out there. Are you an internet guy? Yeah, there you go. A lot of rumors out there.
Q: A couple years ago you said you thought your days were numbered in terms of doing this sort of action film, that audiences might not expect a guy to do things he was doing in his 30s when he's in his 50s. What do you think about that now?
BRUCE WILLIS: Well, I know a lot of cops that are actually my age. If you get in shape, I'm living testament to the fact that you can do a film like this and still survive. I had to work out a lot to get my muscles to the size that they protected my bones so my bones wouldn't shatter when I dove onto the concrete floor. But I lived through it. I get beat up and you see that happen on screen. But I'm glad I didn't wait a couple more years. Don't try this at home. There was a lot of healing. I wish I had kept a running log of just the wear and tear and how much actual hide got scraped off.
Q: So is this really the last Die Hard?
BRUCE WILLIS: No, I don't think so. I think that Fox is already talking about doing another one. I told them I would only do it if Len is involved.
JUSTIN LONG: And…?
BRUCE WILLIS: And Maggie Q. And Justin of course, yeah, because we can't do it without Justin.
LEN WISEMAN: I've got to say, I've been asked that question a few times and the thing is, it's been 12 years? Nine years?
BRUCE WILLIS: '95 so 12 years since Die Hard 3 and 21 years is the span of all four of them so you can see me when I'm 31 and you can see me when I'm 52. You guys will decide. There are moments in the film where you see me getting up a little slower. And I do things that I probably shouldn't be doing.
LEN WISEMAN: But you're in much better shape than you were in the third one.
BRUCE WILLIS: For sure, I was in much better shape on this one than I was on the third one, because I was supposed to be a kind of beat up, alcoholic cop in that one. I spent years researching that role, not the cop part.
Creepy critters are all that connect these two movies. Whereas one deals with fear the other has the scare factor but goes for the swashbuckling route.
28 Days Later was a huge zombie flick hit in 2002. "28 Weeks Later" comes this year with as hard hitting a storyline as the first. Like the first film, mankind's great enemy is a simian-borne virus that infects humans instantly and irreparably, causing them to turn into flesh-eating monsters with speed and agility similar to speedy and agile creatures. While the first movie dealt with absolute destruction of mainland Britain "28 Weeks" deals with what happens when reconstruction begins.
At the beginning of the movie, (Robert Carlyle) a father of two, has to leave his wife behind in an abandoned farmhouse to fend for herself against an onslaught of psychotic zombies (what other kind are there?).
Reunited in a slowly repairing London, his two children sneak into still-unsecured parts of the city to find out what happened to their home and maybe even answer what happened to their family. Question is, how do two children survive a viral wasteland full of flesh eating crazed maniacs?
Cinematically excellent as the whole apocalyptic effect is beautifully created with the gritty looking landscapes and scary makeup. There are plenty of dark spaces and shadows for monsters to lurk in. Serious moments are slow and in stark contrast with the lightning speed with which the hunters and hunted move.
So it looks great and the story is equally brilliant unless you don't have much of a stomach for flesh eating business. When things get out of hand, and things do, everyone including world leaders are at a loss and you can feel the tension.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" is a bit of a conflict between many. Some say it was boring as the fighting went on and on. Others say it was great because the fighting went on and on. But this is my column so I say it was great. Largely because the fighting went on and on.
The movie begins with a line of convicted pirates shuffling on chained feet to the gallows. But this does not last long as we set off on a fight scene that movbes to another and so on and on. Great stuff!
Locations vary form tropics to the frozen wastes picking up along the way whatever happened in the last movie.
The movie takes us right down to the legendary Davy Jones' locker and into many violent voyages.
Characters include the spell binding Captain Jack Sparrow who redefines 'swashbuckling' with more emphasis to buckling. There's the beautiful Swann so aptly named and her love Turner. And then there is the ghostly rival of Sparrow, Captain Barbossa. They all fight sometimes all for one and other times for none.
Chow Yun-Fat makes an entrance as the ill-tempered Capt. Sao Feng. Rolling Stone Keith Richards shows up at a pirate conference as the keeper of the pirate code, even strumming a tune on a period guitar. Monsters there were, scary they were not.
At times the movies could be having too much action. But then again to some people, there is no such thing as too much action especially as most of these are ingeniously devised and choreographed.
In the end, "Dead Man's Chest" and "World's End" could be considered the build-up movies with "World's End" being treat the patience regarding the first two. Of course, the bets scenes in the movie remain the non-CGI stuff where Captain Sparrow rules with his witty wordplay.
Both movies offer adventure while the former caters to fear, the later sticks to full-on fun.
Both should rack up a thrilling weekend in front of the screen.
Gamespot rating 7.6
You take on the role of the dark lord Sauron is a game that plays like a real-time strategy game masquerading as a third-person action RPG. Now that's two-in-one and it's pulled off quite well.
As the titular overlord, you begin the game having just been resurrected by your minions, and your dark kingdom is in shambles. Your dark tower is a ruinous mess, you've got but a handful of subservient followers, and the local villagers are cowering in fear of forces other than yourself. This simply will not do.
Though the game presents itself as a third-person action RPG where you control the overlord, it's more of a real-time strategy game. Either way, it's a very good-looking game. The PC version offers both mouse-and-keyboard and dual-analog gamepad control schemes, and they're both totally useable, but they've both got their fair share of quirks.
The minions are generally pretty smart. They'll follow you around diligently, and if you take a route that they're unable to follow you on, they'll either stop in their tracks rather than commit hara-kiri, or find an alternate route. You'll also find lots of quest-specific items that require a team of minions to carry to specific locations, as well as various path-blocking obstacles. You can also command your minions to stay in a specific position, effectively guarding it. Watching your minions wreak havoc can be so satisfying that it makes up for a lot of the problems that the game develops.
Overlord starts out strong, and the first few hours offer some light and easy fun as you sweep your horde of minions across the countryside, slaughtering sheep and peasants and pillaging anything that appears even remotely pillageable. There are some RPG trappings to the game, in that you can upgrade or buy new weapons and armor, learn new spells, and increase your capacity for health and mana. Still, the story is pretty linear. You might have more than one quest available to you at a time, but usually you'll find that one of those quests cannot actually be started until you finish another quest.
The game takes its time introducing the different types of minions, and you'll be several hours into the game before the strategy elements of the game start getting complicated. It's certainly satisfying when you're able to get past one of the game's involved boss fights, even if it's partially out of relief that you won't have to deal with that again.
As much as the game likes to cast your character as a ruthless and malevolent overlord who cares for nothing but power and chaos, your capacity for true, genuine evil feels a little limited. Motivations aside, the nature of the quests you take on aren't that different from what a high-fantasy hero would be up to.
Overlord is an enjoyably mischievous experience that blends real-time strategy and RPG elements to unique ends. The satisfaction of running amok with your legion of wickedly enthusiastic minions is what makes Overlord worth playing, and it's plenty compensation for
limitations on just how evil you can really be.
The 1988 Dakar's Vatanen killer: DAF 95 Turbotwin X1
This is the scene imprinted on every Dutchman's retina: Ari Vatanen in his brand new Peugeot 405 T16 Grand Raid driving at top speed on a flat piece of desert, whilst being overtaken at 240 km/h by Jan de Rooy in his 95 X1 Dakar truck.
One of the meanest machines ever raced, period, the DAF 95 Turbotwin X1 was created by the Dutch manufacturer to conquer the 1988 Paris-Dakar Rally, one of the most demanding, spectacular, and dangerous speed contests ever conceived. Dangerous because on the ninth day of the event, the X2 (the X1's 995 HP twin) started lurching at speed, rolled numerous times and killed one of its occupants.
DAF decided to pull out of the rally, and rallying in total. The X1 came in third overall that day, climbing up to a sixth place in the general standings. With only high speed stages after that day, the X1 would have had a podium place well within reach.
The X1 features two 11.6-liter diesel engines mid-mounted in an aluminum space frame and triple turbocharged to produce 1200 horsepower and 3466 lb-ft of torque. Each! That's a whopping total of 2400 horsepower and almost 7000 lb-ft of torque.
Despite the aluminum spaceframe, this vehicle toped 11 tons although that did not stop the truck form reaching 150 miles an hour, although we'd slow down a bit for surface irregularities like trees and housing developments.