WRITTEN BY: Skip Woods
DIRECTED BY: John Moore
STARRING: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
RATING: 3 stars
Don't you hate it when you go on vacation and everyone tries to kill you? Welcome to John McClane's life. The original Die Hard film has certainly stood the test of time to be considered the pinnacle of action films. Its star, Bruce Willis, has made a fortune from its lesser-quality sequels. While the second and third films in the franchise were still quite good, the fourth completely bombed – excuse the pun. That has not stopped Willis from coming back for a fifth instalment. While it is not anywhere near as good as the original, there are still all the things fans have come to expect from a Die Hard film – one-liners, explosions, and an ordinary cop doing ridiculously extraordinary things. It may be mindless fun, but at least it is indeed fun.
In A Good Day To Die Hard, John McClane (Willis) travels to Russia believing his son Jack (Jai Courtney) has gone off the rails. But when he tries to “save” Jack, he learns that his son is in fact a CIA operative working undercover to stop a nuclear-weapons heist. Of course, father and son join forces to bring down the criminals and along the way they deal with some rather nauseating father/son issues. I won't give away any spoilers about the plot twists, suffice to say you will see them coming from a mile away, unless you are too involved in the action to notice the thin plot plodding along.
Reality is essentially suspended in this film with trucks flipping over, helicopters exploding in extraordinary fashion, buildings collapsing and the protagonists enduring more knocks than any real human being could withstand. Fans will accept that because it is so much fun to watch. You will laugh at some of the ridiculousness, such as the car chase – which is a great bit of product placement for Mercedes – but it won't matter. The real problem with this film is that McClane is no longer the anti-hero cop who saves the day. He's a little bit too sure of himself now and that is not really who the character is supposed to be.
Willis may be getting old, but he still looks like an action hero. If anything though, his powerful presence is almost overshadowed by Courtney who is incredibly buff for the character. If the film makers are intending to do a sixth film with Courtney in the lead they will certainly attract more females to the cinema. There were more than a few gasps from the women at my screening when Courtney took his shirt off. The good thing about him too is that he can actually act, so he may be another Aussie success story in Hollywood.
Did we need a fifth Die Hard film? Probably not. But anyone who loved the previous instalments will still enjoy seeing the quintessential action hero on the big screen again. Yippie ki-yay!