Bruce Willis as John McClane for the 5th time and Jai Courtney (the bald dude from Jack Reacher) playing his son spend their father/son camping trip destroying half of Russia and playing catch with grenades. Despite its idiotic title and tag line, could a 5th instalment in the Die Hard series be any good? Better yet, do we still love John McClane enough to care who, what and which country he decides to destroy this time around? Find out after the jump.
John McClane looks old – the wrinkles are developing as fast as his grey stubble is. John’s son, Jack (Jai Courtney) has been arrested in Moscow. Despite being estranged for several, John travels to Moscow to retrieve Jack and clear him of all charges. Much like anything McClane gets involved in, nothing is ever simple. We soon learn that Jack is in fact a CIA operative whose mission is to prevent a nuclear weapons heist and to protect Komarov (Sebastian Koch) a political prisoner who has a file that said thieves of this planned heist intend on taking. John does everything he can to help his son and Komarov make it out alive, as well as patch up his relationship with his son. How cute. Will they prevent the heist? Can Komarov and the file be kept safe? But above all, can John make a connection with his son and share a hug amidst the chaos?
The two taglines used for the film’s advertising are “Yippie Kay-yay Mother Russia” and “Like Father. Like Son. Like Hell”. Combined with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 16%, who in the hell could expect this to be good? With a story as thin as Bruce Willis’ hair line and dialogue that consists of ,“You stupid Americans, we kill you with gun”, this film in theory is not a very good. However, I am so damn happy to report that despite it all, A Good Day To Die Hard is such a great time at the movies. It’s that old school action flick the studios release once every six or so months that relies on bad puns, big guns (stop giggling) and continuous, non-stop, go for broke action set pieces.
Now now, before you denounce me from any affiliation of good taste; I was not expecting a “Die Hard” film. I was instead hoping for a genuinely fun action flick, and that’s exactly what I got. Besides some amazing set pieces which triumph most action films offered as of recent (Gangster Squad, really?), the real strength of A Good Day To Die Hard is its embracing of a sense of humour, not just from McClane’s character but from his son, and especially the villains. For example there is a scene where, instead of the lead villain growling at them in exposition…he dances. He literally tap dances before them! He then explains to his bound prisoners how he’s always wanted to be a dancer. It’s refreshing to see something odd and funny like that! That old school action film spirit which embraced profanity and tough guys rather than a PG rating and the threat of technology (the last Die Hard film we all had to endure). There are many more moments where the film raps its bloodied arm around your shoulder welcoming you to laugh and have fun.
It’s thanks to this sense of humour that we believe in John and Jack as a father and son duo. Jai Courtney at first seems dull yet breaks through the mould of tough guy and even a sentimental moment or two between father and son…actually work. We’re then rewarded with a truck flying sideways through traffic on a busy highway while guns are blazing as a pivotal yet exciting scene. This is in no way thanks to screenwriter Skip Woods, as the dialogue at times is soul crushing; but is in fact thanks to John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines), who knows how to shoot a scene; and the cast who keep it fun, yet hold the ham.
Mr. McClane, you can Yippy Kay Yay me any day of the week.
By Chris Elena
Director: John Moore
Writer(s): Skip Woods
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Cole Hauser, Pasha D Lychnikoff
Runtime: 98 minutes
Release Date(s): Australia: March 21, 2013; New Zealand; USA: February 14, 2013