Movie Review: 'A Good Day to Die Hard'

Bruce Willis is back in his fifth outing as Detective John McClane in ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ and delivers exactly what we’ve all come to expect from the franchise. Escapist entertainment in the forms of: big explosions, uncomplicated plots, and crowd pleasing quips from Willis.

Director John Moore (Max Payne, The Omen-2006) seems to have studied which parts of the ‘Die Hard’ formula work well and done his most to entertain fans of the franchise in this latest outing.

The action sequences and stunts are creative and exciting, the banter between Willis and co-star Jai Courtney (as Jack McClane) works well for the most part, and returns to an internationally-flavored villain all serve the story well.

The plot concerns Jack McClane, the son of John McClane, who as a CIA operative has infiltrated a Russian political conspiracy. The storyline is, as in all of the film series’ entries, fairly straight forward and simply a loose framework for Willis to ‘do his thing’ as world-weary NYC Detective John McClane.

If you’re expecting answers to life’s deepest questions or Shakespearean soliloquies…this is not your kind of movie. If you are a fan of Bruce Willis and the ‘Die Hard’ brand, I would rank this entry the second best in the series. A distant second.

The original ‘Die Hard’, in 1988 was a breakout hit and surprise blockbuster that helped to redefine what an action hero was in movies. Willis played the wise-cracking McClane as a man completely out of his element and with a sense of self deprecation that audiences deeply connected with. His external monologues throughout the original film served to involve the viewer as his ‘partner’ in the action, as we were listening to his thoughts while he saved the hostages in Nakatomi Plaza.

Director John Moore has smartly returned to some of the elements that made that original outing so successful. The color scheme, the R-rating, some of the camerawork/shots and how they mirror scenes from the original movie serves this ‘Die Hard’ well.

‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ is a solid, if imperfect entry into the series. It is a big, noisy, fun time at the movies with a character that action fans have grown old(er) with. Yippee-ki-yay, indeed.

 

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