When an autistic boy decodes a government national security code FBI agent Art (Willis) is assigned to protect him from assassination.
10 years on from the first Die Hard film and Bruce Willis starred in a cop role once more as an FBI agent and whilst there is no swagger and humour in this film, the serious nature of Willis' character once more sees the actor on top form in a stunning crime drama.
The opening sees Art undercover and after a confused result Art makes his feelings known which sets him on the way to be reassigned to detective work, which sets the drama rolling.
A sentimental montage sees Miko Hughes' protagonist Simon coming home from school, making a cup of hot chocolate before going to bed with his father. It is very heart-warming without being cheesy as the nature of Simon's autism is depicted with sentimental understanding dialogue and appreciation of the disease. Obviously autism is a very delicate issue to tackle which the script appreciates. From Simon's constructed environment to the untimely departure from his family the script weaves around how uncomfortable it is for the young boy. His familiar surroundings are taken away as Art struggles to keep Simon out of trouble.
Hughes is the catalyst of this film with a very powerful turn as Simon. The slow speech to the lack of eye contact is a remarkable trait of autism and for such a young person to comprehend and tackle such ideologies is staggering.
Despite the nature of the drama encoded into this 1998 picture there is still plenty of action and thrilling suspense to generate that bold masculinity. A too close to call train sequence to the final helicopter showdown this is every bit as tense as the last Die Hard picture. And given the nature of the plot and the lead up to the conclusion, it is little wonder.
Director Harold Becker is able to cement realism to the picture through careful planning but bold assertiveness. From Simon's dramatic walk on the edge in the end to the shooting of one of the team in his own apartment everything is thought out in real life motion. The wine scene in Alec Baldwin's cellar is a bit of an awkward arrival at confrontation but the knock over moment is vintage Willis bravado.
It will take an exceptional script to knockout the character John McClane. Willis has his moments in cocky cheek in this picture and adds a strong drama to his protagonist. But if you're looking for the same spice as a John McClane epic, then this isn't it.
This is in many respects better as we dive deep into an emotional journey of autism with still a strong crime fast paced script that spills with emotional value with just enough action and suspense to make it a very watchable and appreciable picture