A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
Director: John Moore
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Yuliya Snigir
Running Time: 97 minutes
After Die Hard 4.0 it was obvious that John McClane and his crew had outdone their adventures from 1988 when we saw the first Die Hard film. Like his buddy Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis is clinging on to this franchise with all the senior citizen bluster he can muster.
However, after checking out the fifth instalment, it feels like that time Muhammad Ali was too slow to be in the ring but still wanted to be a professional boxer.
It wouldn’t hurt the franchise if someone else took over Willis’s legacy, if we were not to get rid of it altogether.
The story is set in Russia, where John McClane is on holiday, but not really. He is looking for his son Jack (Courtney), with whom, like his daughter (Winstead), he doesn’t have a good relationship.
What is supposed to be a simple visit to mend broken ties turns into a war when he finds Jack in the middle of a secret US mission.
There are no points for guessing that McClane finds a way to be part of the dangerous assignment – all in the name of bonding with his son.
And bond they do, through dodging bullets, jumping off exploding buildings and frequently looking death in the face.
The biggest let-down with this project is the story.
We know McClane always survives, so we needn’t worry about his welfare. We know a lot of the budget will be dedicated to explosives, fake blood and car crashes. In fact, Mercedes-Benz came out in full force for this one – you’d think the film was shot in a showroom.
After getting all those aspects of the film-making down, the success of this, or any other film, rests on the story. You will be looking for reasons to care for the main character, but, sadly, you won’t find any. In fact, the bits of content from the past four movies, especially dialogue, will make you feel as if you’re watching an old but heavily diluted Die Hard film.
The cheesy lines, including “Yippee-ki-yay Motherfather”, are used, but do not save the movie. Instead, halfway through the movie you almost can’t wait for it to finish.
The biggest fail in the direction of the story was McClane once again going to save his kid from some danger. That route was taken before with the best results in 4.0 and now it was time to try something else.
But there are things this film got right that only Die Hard films can do so well, and those are the action scenes. If you liked the last scene in 4.0 where the truck which McClane took charge of was fleeing from a fighter jet, then you will like what the man has for you in Russia.
The explosions get pretty close to him while some bullets actually hit him, but he keeps going.
After seeing Courtney as Varro in the hit series Spartacus, it is great to see him trimmed, with hair dyed and kicking butt next to Willis.
He showed range and could be cast in any major action flick as the lead.
It will be a short while before they announce the next Die Hard film and here’s hoping it is thoroughly done and, hopefully, the last.
If you liked… any Die Hard films, Rambo and the Bourne trilogy… you might like this.