Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Good Day To Die Hard

Year: 2013
Director: John Moore
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Radivoje Bukvic, Yuliya Snigir, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Plot: John McClane heads to Russia to find his estranged son Jack, and subsequently gets caught up in his son's CIA mission to extract a Russian political prisoner who has his own agenda.

Review: Ah look, another Die Hard film. This is the one franchise Bruce Willis always seems to return to. After a lackluster fourth instalment, Willis and director John Moore must be hoping to get this fifth one right. Well, they almost did.

As far as being an action film is concerned, A Good Day To Die Hard isn't bad at all. It's loud, explosive and violent, which is what an action film basically needs to entertain. Moore throws in a handful of action set pieces which look pretty good, the best one being the manic truck chase sequence at the beginning. There are other solid ones too, like the jump off the building at the middle third of the film, finally capping off with a helicopter sequence in Chernobyl at the end. Yes, Chernobyl. They all look good for the most part, good enough to ensure the audience doesn't feel bored.

But you see, a Die Hard film needs to have high standards. I don't mean to sound like a purist, but these films don't just require high adrenaline stuff, it needs to entertain on all levels, which means the script needs to be rock solid. It needs a top notch villain, and Willis needs to be soundly challenged by this villain. We're missing all this here, unfortunately.

Previously, Willis anchors the film with his screen presence, never allowing his sidekick or villain to take too much attention away from him. But here, Jai Courtney, who plays his son Jack, becomes like a partner to Willis rather than a sidekick, almost as if he's gonna take over the franchise when the latter is done with this. Not that they don't have chemistry together, not that Courtney can't act (on the contrary), but this should seriously be Willis' show. The Russian villains are pretty weak too, each seemingly having an agenda of their own, effectively throwing one twist after another into the plot, though they're much better than the meek Timothy Olyphant from the last film. 

But on the bright side, it still is fun to watch. Willis and Courtney get to throw insults at each other (though it pales in comparison to Willis and Samuel L Jackson from no.3), there's the action and yeah, there's some nice eye candy in the form of Yuliya Snigir as the Russian prisoner's daughter and Mary Elizabeth Winstead returning in a cameo appearance as Lucy McClane.

So overall, I had plenty of fun with this film, plenty enough to give it a good rating, because I didn't hate it. But it had potential to be better. (3.5/5)

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