Sunday, February 17, 2013

DYING ON ITS FEET
I have always been a big admirer of the first two Die Hard films. They managed to combine a real sense of fun with a pretty sharp, enjoyable script. Die Hard: With A Vengeance, the third effort, was still entertaining but the rot had started to set in. Twelve years passed and the fourth entry, Live Free Or Die Hard, was eminently forgettable. So we fast-forward to 2013 and A Good Day To Die Hard. Policeman John McClane (Bruce Willis) is forced to head to Russia when he discovers that his estranged son Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) is stranded there. So the grizzled former New York cop turns up only to discover that his son is actually a US spy, working to prevent a nuclear weapons heist. Despite the fact that Willis looks significantly older than he did in the first three, A Good Day To Die Hard starts quite encouragingly. But it doesn't take long before the wheels fall off the car. What made the first two exceptional action films was a strong script and some well-conceived villains. Despite the absence of a decent villain in the third one, there were some nice touches in the script and a  good chemistry between Willis and his reluctant sidekick, played by Samuel Jackson. The problem here is that any wisecracking is kept to a bare minimum and the action is too relentless to give the viewer any time to breathe. Also, there is almost zero chemistry between father and son and the plot feels like a discarded 1980s James Bond film idea. It has a very short running time of only 90 minutes and it is obvious that they are looking to replace Willis with Courtney for a sixth outing of the Die Hard franchise. Let's hope that they give it a little more thought than this one. A Good Day To Die Hard is a tawdry exercise in explosive stunts and unmemorable villains, which is just about watchable but continues the slow decline of one of the better mainstream Hollywood cash cows…


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