A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Directed by John Moore
He’s on f-cking vacation, but that doesn’t stop John McClane (Bruce Willis, 57, closer to 60 everyday) from helping out his estranged son, a CIA spy in Moscow. When Jack (Jai Courtney) gets himself arrested during a mission, papa flies over to try to talk him out of trouble. It’s not exactly like John McClane to solve problems talking. Luckily for Jack, his father’s there when everything starts to fall apart. Alliances are broken (or were they ever alliances to begin with?) and we start wondering who’s fighting for whom? It’s like the end of “The Departed.” Eventually, this tag team realizes that they’re up against a lot more than a few Russian bad guys.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” has a few things going for it. First, it boasts a great backstory. Where McClane’s enemies are usually in it for the money, this time it’s about politics, an idea. And where international adventures often come with complicated set-ups, this one works well. Second, it has more action than any other Die Hard before it. It has action up the wazoo. The big car chase is so fast it’ll make your head spin (the dizzying cinematography doesn’t help). But again, some of the action tends to be unreasonable. How
has John McClane not died yet? Falling through a half-dozen floors of scaffolding, through glass ceilings, putting his pistol up against helicopter artillery – all seems sort of improbable. But in the end, who cares? This is what you go to the theater for. Lastly, it has a couple great action performances from Willis and Courtney. Jack lives up to his name, handling weapons like a McClane. Like father, like son. Sure, Courtney isn’t getting Oscar’s attention with his action movie role. But when it’s all taken in relativity, comparing all action movies of the 21st century on the same playing field, this is a heck of a good one.
At 98 minutes, “A Good Day to Die Hard” isn’t just the only in the franchise under 100 minutes – it’s the only under 120 minutes. It’s the least-liked on IMDb, with only a 5.7/10 (Ouch!). But I didn’t mind it nearly as much as “Die Harder” for some reason. When you bill your movie as an action movie, I expect action. It delivers. I think it just has a case of high expectations…John McClane let people down this time around. Not this guy. Plus, thank goodness for R-ratings. Because really, who can take rounds of artillery fire whizzing by your head and not help but letting some f-bombs fly with your bullets? I couldn’t. Thanks for learning from your mistake.
If “A Good Day to Die Hard” is the last of the franchise, it ended on a good note. If not, I’m confident John McClane Jr. will fill his father’s big shoes. Yippee-kai-yay, motherf-ckers!