Dubby’s dvdiscussion: Lucky 13 and dying hard


You really have to concentrate on the plot of Ocean’s Thirteen. Or you can go and see George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Al Pacino and more stars than there are in heaven. All good-looking, all cool, and all at their finest.

It has occurred to me that video-games, television serials and advertisements that appeal to younger audiences would understand Ocean’s Thirteen in one sitting. For the elderly, you need interpreters.

As Glenn Kenny says in Premiere, “This movie is actually more fun if you bring an attention span to the theatre with you. Not that it’s a particularly deep piece of work, but it is a pretty damn intricate one.”

But critic Kit Bowen doesn’t think so when he says, “When one of their own, the irascible Reuben (Elliott Gould), suffers a heart attack after being double-crossed by malevolent hotel mogul Willie Bank (Al Pacino), Danny (George Clooney), Rusty (Brad Pitt), Linus (Matt Damon) and the rest of the gang decide to hit Bank where it hurts. They orchestrate it so not only will they ruin the hotelier financially by turning the tables on the precept that the house always wins, but also hurt Bank’s pride by giving his big new Las Vegas hotel a bad rating. The Ocean crew even manages to rope in their old nemesis, Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), on the scam since Benedict can’t stand Bank or the monstrosity he has built on the Strip. The moral of the story is this: Mess with an Ocean, you get pummelled by the waves.”

For me the Die Hard series, which star Bruce Willis are very special. Author Walter Wager wrote a book called 58 Minutes, which was made into Die Hard 2 and I had an excellent meal with him in New York where he told me that the money from Die Hard 2 went towards a trip to China. Wager died on 2002 and I still miss his writing and the many conversations we had.

Hollywood reporter Bowen says, “The story, too, is just as out-there as only a good Die Hard installment can be. Seems the enemy this time is a slick computer hacker, Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), who holds the US hostage by systematically breaking down its digital infrastructure. First, he takes down the transportation grids, then creates panic on the financial market and finally, he shuts off all utilities — gas, electricity, et al. The hackers call it a ‘firesale’ (as in everything must go), but it isn’t as far-fetched as one might think. Of course, what Gabriel doesn’t figure on is one NYPD cop named John McClane (Willis), who inadvertently gets involved when he’s called to pick up Matt Farrell (Justin Long), a young hacker being targeted by Gabriel. Now, with Farrell in tow explaining to the fossilised cop exactly what the hell is going on, McClane has to become ‘that guy’ once again to save the country — and his daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who Gabriel tries to use to bring McClane down. Big mistake. Of course there was no doubt Bruce Willis could pull off one more Die Hard adventure. The other thing Willis does to bring us in again and again is give his alter-ego humility. Bruce’s McClane is one of the best Everyman heroes to grace the big screen, and Willis makes sure we know that no matter what dire situation McClane finds himself in, he’s never going to stop doing his job — even if he gets the crap beat out of him along the way.”