Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

A Good Day To Die Hard | Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sebastian Koch, Sergei Kolesnikov | Review

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2sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD Judy Thorburn


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2lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is BAD


A Good Day To Die Hard

In 1988, Bruce Willis originated the character of John McClane in the first Die Hard film.  Now, 25 years later he returns in the fifth and, hopefully, final installment of the franchise that has worn out its welcome.
In this episode, the much older, weary looking NYPD detective, John McClane (Willis) says goodbye to his daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, "Live Free or Die Hard") and travels to Moscow to save his son, John Jr. (Jai Courtney,"Jack Reacher") after learning that he is in jail there for attempted murder.  The elder McClane hasn't seen his son in years, but that doesn't mean he doesn't love and want to protect him.
John, who previously didn't have a clue, soon learns that Jack (instead of John, he calls himself Jack to distance himself from his estranged dad) has been working as a CIA operative and is involved in an elaborate mission to extract a Russian political prisoner named Yuri Kamarov (Sebastian Koch).  Kamarov says he has a file with some incriminating evidence against his former friend and business partner, Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), a Russian government official who is eager to get his nasty hands on it before he is exposed.
It could not be more contrived that dear old dad shows up just in time to get in the way and mess up Jack's plan. When a bomb is detonated outside the courthouse, Kamarov is able to escape. Before you know it, John and Jack are caught in the middle of a cat and mouse chase with Chagarin's henchmen out to stop anyone from getting in their way of hunting down their prey.

That triggers what goes down as one of the longest, most grueling chase scenes ever through crowded streets, heavy traffic and highways with annoying, shaky, dizzying camerawork capturing crashes, rollovers, explosions and destruction of hundreds of vehicles, not to mention the loss of lives. And that is just for starters. It never matters what dangerous life threatening situation John and his son find themselves in.  Somehow they walk away unscathed.  Of course, as the superhero, along with  managing to narrowly escape from fiery explosions and crashes, John averts being hit by direct machine gun fire, rides the tale of helicopters, jumps into fighter jets, falls from tall buildings, without serious injury, as if he is indestructible.  In other words, nothing can take him down.

Director John Moore's (“Behind Enemy Lines,” “Max Payne”) emphasis is clearly on the action which is almost non stop leading up to an explosive confrontation at Chernobyl. The plot is secondary although the screenplay by John Woods ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine") reveals that things are not as they appear to be with a couple of unfolding twists and double crosses and the inclusion of Irina (Yuliya Snigir) Kamarov's daughter who, like John Jr. has some daddy issues of her own.

Any attempt at humor falls flat. It just isn't funny when John yells at a Russian citizen for speaking Russian.  “I have another 2 years left on my contract”,  John  says after Jack throws his dad's cell phone on the ground and stomps on it.  That is supposed to, but fails to garner a laugh.  And it makes no sense why John repeatedly complains about being on an awful vacation. What vacation?  That line totally contradicts the reason he went to the former USSR.  Duh!

Amidst all the mayhem and the back and forth sarcastic banter between father and son, the experience proves to be a bonding experience, as if that wasn't so very predictable. “Need a hug?” dad asks junior.
Ugh, would be more in order!

All the above should give you an idea of what you are in for.  Stupid dialogue, over the top action, a sloppy script and less than impressive direction doesn't result in something I would recommend.  Bruce Willis has gotten too old for this and it shows.   It is about time to put the Die Hard franchise to rest. The way I see it, Willis and his die hard fans deserve a whole lot better than this.