Die Even Harder than the Last Time You Died and then Lived Free Again! With A Vengeance!

die hard5A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013)

DIRECTOR: John Moore

STARRING: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Radivoje Bukvic

PLOT: Supercop John McClane runs out of stuff to destroy in the United States, so he meets up with his estranged son in Russia and destroys stuff there!

RATING: R for gunfire, explosions, violence, Bruce Willis and his potty mouth.

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 25 years since Bruce Willis exploded on to the big screen in Die Hard. The movie made Willis a superstar, and is a crowning achievement in the action movie genre. Willis’s movie alter ego Detective John McClane is one of the greatest action movie characters of all time; a man who has thwarted terrorist plots, killed armies of bad guys, and destroyed more property than your average  Category 3 Hurricane. And like an Energizer Bunny who curses a lot, McClane just keeps going and going…

If you’ve never seen any of the Die Hard movies (and in all seriousness if you haven’t, then we cannot be friends), here’s a quick synopsis of the franchise:

Die Hard (1988) – John McClane blows up an office tower in Los Angeles, kills Alan Rickman, saves Christmas.

Die Hard 2 (1990) – John McClane blows up an airport in Washington D.C., drives a snowmobile, saves Christmas again.

Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) – John McClane destroys Wall Street, a subway, a cargo ship, and kills Jeremy Irons all with a terrible hangover and Samuel L. Jackson screaming at him throughout the whole movie.

Live Free or Die Hard (2007) – John McClane thwarts a cyber terrorists plot to rob the internet, beats up a fighter jet, miraculously stops himself from killing Justin Long.

Now John “yippee kay yay” McClane is back in A Good Day to Die Hard. This movie takes place in Russia, where the bad guys are big and beefy, the weather is dull and dreary, and those Yakov Smirnoff “In Soviet Russia” jokes are even less funny.  

As the movie opens, McClane is hanging around the Police station loading up his gun and waiting to shoot something when he learns his son Jack (Jai Courtney) has been arrested in Russia and is on trial for attempted murder. McClane heads off to Russia to patch things up with his estranged boy and have one of those charming father/son moments before the execution.

McClane is barely off the plane in Moscow before all heck breaks loose. The courthouse where Jack is being held for trial is attacked by a squad of heavily armed guys; which is par for the course since the Die Hard franchise invented the squad of heavily armed mercenaries that show up out of nowhere. The armed guys are trying to take out a political prisoner named Komarov (Sebastian Koch) who has some top secret info dating back to the Chernobyl disaster that evil Russian official Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolsesnikov) needs to destroy the world or to make him rich or something; it’s all the same with these Die Hard villains: money and world domination. But I guess this kind of villain is more exciting than a villain who only wants to control all the used car lots in the greater Sacramento area. To each his own I guess.

Anyway, Jack helps Komarov escape the courthouse attack, and as they flee, they run into dear ol’ Daddy McClane in the parking lot. A massive car chase follows between Jack, the heavily armed mercenaries, and of course McClane who just can’t miss an opportunity to destroy more Russian property than when the Luftwaffe was in town. When McClane finally catches up with Jack (and most of Moscow has stopped burning), he learns why sonny boy has missed so many Thanksgiving dinners: Jack is a deep cover secret agent assigned to rescue Komarov from prison so he can rat out Chagarin to the CIA. When Jack’s cover is blown and Chagarin’s heavily armed thugs destroy the CIA safehouse, the wild and crazy McClane boys are on the run trying to stay one step ahead of Chagarin while trying to figure out the super huge secret Komarov has been hiding all these years. Spoiler alert: It’s not the world’s best Chicken Kiev recipe.

McClane and son move from one action packed shootout to the next as Bruce Willis fires off his usual wisecracks and Jai Courtney does his best to remind you he is not Channing Tatum or Sam Worthington.  Luckily Jack McClane has inherited his Father’s Wile E. Coyote like ability to survive falls from very high places. I figure by the next Die Hard sequel they’ll just admit that John McClane and Wolverine from The X-Men are brothers from a different mother.

A Good Day to Die Hard has all stuff you’ve seen in all the previous Die Hard movies, and judging by the lazy line readings and the “Has the check cleared” look he has on his face for the entre run time, maybe Bruce Willis knows this too. I guess they thought having McClane’s badass secret agent son along for the ride would keep things fresh, but unfortunately Jai Cortney is so wooden it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if his parents were in fact a couple of Adirondack chairs.

But hey, at least John McCLane got to travel to another country in this installment! Okay, he left a huge crater where suburban Moscow used to be, but everyone does something stupid while on vacation.

Did I ever tell you about the time I ate some bad sushi and then went on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney World?

It was not the happiest place on Earth that day, believe you me…

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About Tom Levier

Tom is a New Jersey native who lived in New York City for a while, and is now back in the Garden State. He is creator and writer of Central Park: A Misguide, DVD Critics Corner!, and The Gallows. Please read, comment on, and subscribe to his blogs. It would make him very happy. When not writing, Tom enjoys making jewelry and other handmade items for his shop Cold Garage Creations. Check out his shop on Etsy! https://www.etsy.com/shop/ColdGarageCreations

Posted on January 10, 2014, in Action Movies, Adventure Movies, DVD, Humor, Movie Reviews, Movies, Netflix, Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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