BY DAN METCALF
Clipper Film Correspondent
Rated R for violence and language.
Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Radivoje Bukvić, Cole Hauser, Yuliya Snigir, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directed by John Moore.
Written by Skip Woods, based on characters created by Roderick Thorp
Yippie Ki-Yay, again. It's hard to believe it's been almost 25 years since the release of the first Die Hard movie, but the ageless Bruce Willis keeps on signing up for more sequels. John McClane is back in "A Good Day To Die Hard," just in time for Valentine's Day (nothing says “romance” like a few car chases, explosions and gun battles, right?).
The story begins with Detective McClane leaving New York City for Russia to find his estranged son John “Jack” Jr. (Jai Courtney), who is in jail for murder. Upon arrival, John goes to a Moscow courthouse where Jack is appearing alongside Komarov (Sebastian Koch), a Russian political activist. At that same moment, an explosion knocks out the wall of the courthouse. The source of the explosion comes from hired hands working for Chagarin, a ruthless Russian politician who wants to capture Komorov.
Komorov who is apparently hiding some sort of incriminating file concerning some shady dealings in Chernobyl right before the infamous 1986 meltdown. Before Chagarin's thugs can pick the jailbirds out of the courthouse rubble, Jack and Komorov escape on their own. During their getaway, they encounter the senior McClane, and a huge chase takes place in the busy streets of Moscow involving the McClanes and the aforementioned thugs who ride in a large, armored truck. That's when it's revealed that Jack is really a CIA agent on assignment to get Komorov out of the country for the sake of national security.
The McClanes and Komorov run into several obstacles during the ensuing hours, including Komorov's daughter, who has apparently betrayed her dad and is working for Chagarin. A few more encounters with bad guys take place until all the significant characters end up at Cherynobl, where a huge battle involving a military helicopter and several cases of plutonium takes place.
"A Good Day To Die Hard" has everything you'd to expect from a Die Hard sequel, including a plot lacking any discernible intelligence, a substantial amount of action, implausible stunts, special effects, and macho quotes. There are familiar Die Hard visual and audio queues, right down to a villain falling backward in slow motion to his death during the climactic finale.
Speaking of familiar things, it's worth mentioning the cameo appearance of one character from the previous movie in the series (2007's "Live Free Or Die Hard"): Mary Elizabeth Winstead as John's daughter Lucy. There is rumor that Willis has agreed to appear in one more Die Hard film. Maybe the producers of the franchise can arrange for a little Die Hard reunion, including Bonnie Bedelia as McClane's ex-wife Holly and Reginald VelJohnson as McClane's old Los Angeles police buddy Al Powell in the finale of the series.
As for Bruce Willis, he may have lost all his hair and gained more than a few wrinkles since 1988, but he's still “got it” in terms of carrying the load in an action film, even if we're all pretty sure he isn't doing any of his own stunts at the ripe old age of 57.
"A Good Day To Die Hard" story is more than a little silly, but audiences don't flock into theaters to see a Die Hard movie as some sort of reliable substitute for Shakespeare. Die Hard movies don't require a lot of abstract reflection – just audiences with an affinity for blowing stuff up and lots of gun play. In that sense, "A Good Day To Die Hard" truly delivers, especially for fans of the franchise. Even so, "A Good Day To Die Hard" is probably one of the weakest in the franchise, because we've seen all that action film stuff before.
"A Good Day To Die Hard" was given a well-deserved R rating, mostly due to a few scenes of very gory action and plenty of coarse language.