Die Hard 4.0

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Not suitable under 15; parental guidance to 15 (violence, themes, language)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Die Hard 4.0
  • a review of Die Hard 4.0 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 9 August 2007.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to frequent violence, adult themes and coarse language
Children aged 15 Parental guidance recommended due to frequent violence, adult themes and coarse language.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Die Hard 4.0
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate action violence
Length: 128 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Die Hard 4.0 opens with Matthew Farrell (Justin Long), one time computer hacker, emailing a computer code to test a security system. As a result, a computer owned by another hacker explodes and the computers in the FBI command centre crash. The FBI immediately suspects computer hackers and takes steps to round up all known computer hackers for questioning.
Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) receives a call instructing him to pick up Matthew Farrell and deliver him to the FBI. Detective McClane arrives at Farrell’s apartment, but before McClane and Farrell leave the apartment, Farrell is shot at and then attacked by a group of men wielding automatic guns. McClane is able to fight off the attackers and he and Farrell make their way to FBI head quarters. Computer systems all over the city begin to crash causing major city wide traffic jams, while Wall Street turns to chaos as the financial sector’s computers crash.  McClane and Farrell arrive at FBI headquarters, to discover that seven other computer hackers have been systematically assassinated.
Farrell deduces that the state’s electricity grid will be the next target and he and McClane find the facility already under attack. They manage to fight off the attackers but not before the state’s electricity grid is shut down. During the fight, McClane kills Mai Lihn (Maggie Q), a lethal killer and one of the major players behind the cyber terrorism. It is at this point that the mastermind behind the cyber terrorism is revealed to be Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant), a discredited former government computer security expert who now seeks revenge.
When Gabriel kidnaps McClane’s daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) McClane’s focus changes from saving the country to saving his daughter, but he eventually does both.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Cyber terrorism

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Die Hard 4.0 contains frequent extreme action violence, including torture, murder; execution style killings, brutal beatings and violence against women. Examples include:

  • A house explodes in a fire, killing two young men inside.
  • Farrell is shot at through his apartment window followed by McClane firing back at his attackers. The gunfire is so heavy that his entire apartment is almost destroyed. At one point McClane throws a fire extinguisher at Farrell’s attackers and then shoots the extinguisher causing an explosion that hurls one of the attackers through the apartment’s window. The attacker falls several floors to the ground landing on top of a car, while a second man is shot in the leg. A bomb explodes in Farrell’s apartment completely destroying what is left, while one of Farrell’s attackers is propelled through the air and smashes into/through a wall.
  • A man punches his fist through the window of a moving car and grabs McClane by the throat. The car speeds away dragging the attacker along and the man is knocked clear when he is bashed against a dumpster. A second man lands on the bonnet of the car which drives through a fence, throwing him through the air to smash against a brick wall.
  • Malfunctioning traffic signals cause multiple traffic collisions with trucks colliding with cars and cars being thrown about.
  • Men in a helicopter fire machineguns at McClane, Farrell and FBI agents. One of the agents is shot in the chest, McClane runs over a fire hydrant causing a jet of water to shoot up, which in turn knocks one of the gunman out of the helicopter.
  • Computer malfunctions cause traffic from both ends of a one way tunnel to speed towards each other with the tunnel lights turned off, the cars collide with cars flipping over and flying through the air, one of the projectile cars narrowly misses hitting McClane and Farrell. McClane jumps from a speeding car and is left with a bloody face. The car collides with a helicopter, which explodes in flames. A man is seen jumping from the helicopter just before it explodes.
  • Mai Lihn murders several security guards by shooting them at point blank rage and shows no remorse.
  • Men with guns fitted with silencers murder several other men shooting them at close range, the men doing the killing showing no remorse.      
  • McClane headbutts a man in the head and then shoots him in the foot. The man pulls a knife out and McClane shoots him several times in the chest.
  • McClane and a henchman struggle with each other with both holding guns and trying to shoot each other in the face. McClane finally shoots the man several times with the impact throwing the man through a door. 
  • McClane puts a gun to Mai Lihn head. Mai fights McClane, head-butting him, punching and kicking him through a glass window. McClane responds by repeatedly kicking and punching Mai in the head throwing her into a wall of shelves, McClane is left with a hand full of Mai’s hair. Mai is left lying unconscious on the floor with blood on her head. When Mai regains consciousness she attacks McClane throwing him through a window with McClane falling to the ground outside. McClane drives a car through a wall and rams into Mai with Mai hanging onto the bonnet of the car. McClane drives the car into an elevator shaft, and after more fighting which includes McClane strangling Mai with an elevator cable, Mai fall to her death with the car landing on top of her and then exploding.
  • Farrell hits a man across the back with a metal bar causing him to fall down an elevator shaft.
  • A building explodes and collapses when gas is pumped into it. Cars are thrown through the air and crash through wall, narrowly missing McClane and Farrell.
  • McClane threatens a man that he will beat him to death in his own home.
  • Lucy (McClane’s daughter) hits a kidnapper in the face. The man responds by hitting Lucy across the face and is then told to tie up her wrists. Gabriel threatens to hurt Lucy and slaps her across the face.
  • Four of Gabriel’s hackers are shot in execution-style by Gabriel’s own henchmen. 
  • McClane throws a man down a flight of steps. The man is unable to move and appears to be in a lot of pain.
  • Gabriel threatens to put a bullet in Lucy’s head.
  • After fighting with McClane a man falls down a ventilation shaft and is chopped to pieces by large fan blades. Blood is seen on the fan’s blades.
  • McClane shoots a truck driver through the truck’s door, pulls the man from the truck and throws his body on the road.
  • McClane drives a large truck in a reckless manner, smashing into numerous cars. While driving the truck McClane is fired upon by a jet plane. Large sections of road, bridge and overpass are blown up, with the truck being torn apart. The jet also explodes in flames.
  • Gabriel shoots Farrell in the leg (Farrell screams with pain) while a henchman holds a gun to Lucy’s throat. Gabriel tells Farrell that if he does not enter a code into a laptop he will kill Lucy.
  • McClane shoots a man at point blank range and is shot in the shoulder in return. Lucy headbutts a man and then shoots him in the foot (a bloody hole is depicted). The man then grabs Lucy by the throat.
  • Gabriel thrusts a gun barrel into McClane’s wounded shoulder. McClane grabs the gun and fires it, shooting himself in the shoulder with the bullet travelling through his shoulder and then hitting Gabriel in the chest and killing him (blood and a bullet wound are depicted). Farrell then shoots the remaining henchman several times in the chest.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Children may be particularly disturbed by the kidnapping and brutal treatment of Lucy and the killing of Mai Lihn.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Farrell drinks an Energy drink which looks like Red Bull.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • While communicating via the Internet, Farrell tells a woman that she has a sexy voice and asks her “Is there anything else I can do for you…or to you?”  
  • When Farrell sends an E-mail bomb the computer screen depicts ads promoting Viagra, greater sexual performance and penis enlargement.

Nudity and sexual activity

Die Hard 4.0 contains no nudity and two instance of sexual activity:

  • Lucy sits a parked car with a man, passionately kissing him on the mouth. The man tries to caress Lucy’s breast, but Lucy pushes the man’s hand away. The man tries again and Lucy pushes his hand away a second time saying “I said no.”
  • Gabriel and Mai kiss passionately. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • When McClane asks Farrell what it feels like to be shot, Farrell states that he feels pretty good and then tells McClane that he has been given some morphine. McClane later states that Farrell’s behaviour is a result of the morphine. 

Coarse language

Die Hard 4.0 contains frequent coarse language and some put downs/name calling, examples include:

  • “Screw with us; told this jerk off; shut up; such an arse hole; jerk head; shit; god damn; Jesus Christ; what the hell; useful idiots; wax face; I have known some bitches…; an SUV rammed up her arse; we just got the shit kicked out of us; another dead Asian hooker; dick head; son of a bitch; dig deep for a larger set of balls; hacker jerk off; that would suck; Mother-fucker(fading out and difficult to distinguish).   

In a nutshell

Die Hard 4.0 is an intense action thriller, containing frequent glamorised violence, which may appeal to fans of the previous films in the series. The film relies almost totally on breath-taking stunts to entertain and little time is spent on character development.
The main messages from this movie are that crime doesn’t pay and that good people, who are always in the right, will always win regardless of overwhelming odds. The film also contains a number of pro-American messages with references made to 9/11 and religious fanatics. 
Values that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include selflessness and perseverance:

  • This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.
  • The extreme and excessive amounts of destruction and violence used by both good and bad characters.
  • Stereotyping of specific groups of people such as government officials and computer hackers