By Laurie Coker
Not since the original Die Hard have any of its sequels measured up, and frankly, they have gotten progressively worse with each installment. Proof lies in the abysmal A Good Day to Die Hard, in which Bruce Willis reprises his role as the daredevil John McClane. Director John Moore certainly provides for the action, but Skip Woods should be beaten for his ludicrous storyline and pathetic attempt a clever, engaging dialogue, because even Willis cannot deliver such dribble with any zing.
When John Sr. learns that his son, John Jr. (Jai Courtney) is arrested in Russia for murder, he boards a plane in the hopes of reconnecting and perhaps helping his delinquent offspring. Through a series of ridiculously convenient circumstances, John locates his son and manages to mess up a long planned mission, to extract a Russian businessman for Moscow. Yes, John Jr. is a spy, complete with special training and government support, that is until, John messes it all up, leaving overzealous father and disgruntled son to work together to thwart one man’s sinister plan and save the day.
Frankly, the film is an utter disaster, much like the mess that the McClanes leave in their wake. Bullets fly, literally hundreds of cars crash as we are taken on wild, ridiculous chases, henchmen bodies pile up and the Johns survive everything from falling several stories, being pummeled with gun butts, bullet wounds and insane auto accidents. Surprising, even with all this action taking place on the screen, the film is just boring, Add to that dialogue that never hits its make and ranges from sweet to stupid and the end result is almost intolerable.
I’ll give some leeway to heroic characters (especially superheroes), who endure what mere mortals cannot, but McClane Sr. is just that senior and human, and still he manages to survive bomb blasts, dangling and falling from a huge helicopter, unfathomable drops and a car crash that would kill even Captain America. He’s mortal, this father of two, this everyday cop, this man, isn’t he? And his son seems to have inherited the same super-human genes, because he, too, survives the impossible. Even more unbelievable, if this is possible, is the fact that in all these car chases, the McClanes and the bad guys chasing them commit hundreds of counts of vehicular manslaughter – forget the innocent bystanders killed by bullets and bombs. It’s all just too stupid and too much. It plays out more like a video game than an action movie and that might explain the superhuman qualities of it characters.
I admire Willis for staying in such good physical shape and think he could have pulled off a reprise of McClane had someone other than Skip Woods been behind the pen that scripted this mess. In last year’s Looper he proved just that. Courtney does as well as Willis, but again I point a finger at Woods. Not one good piece of dialogue exists, nor does any semblance of a real storyline. I am giving this one a grade of F+, the plus for Willis and nothing more. It’s a good day to skip this R-rated Die Hard.