[Review] A Good Day to Die Hard
After his somewhat disappointing outing in 2007 with Die Hard 4.0, John McClane is back with the fifth instalment of a franchise begun in 1988. The previous film saw McClane (Bruce Willis – did I really need to point that out?) reconcile with his feisty daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and this film sees him attempt the same with son Jack (Jai Courtney). The action is relocated from the US to Russia, where Jack is working as a CIA operative.
There’s not really much to say about the plot. The first half of the film seems to be one long car chase, which I’m pretty convinced must have kept the car manufacturing industry in business, while the second half is a series of explosions, topped off with one huge explosion in Pripyat (yep, McClane does Chernobyl this time). It’s a Die Hard film, not Shakespeare.
Yet for all of this, it’s oddly enjoyable. Courtney does a good job as McClane Jnr, and while McClane Snr is less wise-cracking than in previous outings, he’s still capable of beating bad guys, even if he is on vacation. There’s a decent chemistry between the two, and enough of a physical similarity (not to mention pig-headedness) to make them plausibly related. The relocation to Russia is an interesting choice, and Moscow looks awesome on film.
It isn’t a challenging film, or even a particularly fantastic one, but it’s fun, and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The only real problem is the fact it’s a Die Hard film – the first one set the bar rather high, and no villain is ever going to top Alan Rickman. Bruce Willis has done the McClane act in so many films since that it doesn’t feel original or unique any more. That said, he’s still Bruce Willis and I still love the guy.
If you’re looking for something that will pick at your brain for weeks to come, then this isn’t for you. If you’re looking for something silly that’ll entertain for a couple of hours, then you could do a lot worse!
4 out of 5