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Latest installment shows the franchise should 'Die' off

20th Century Fox

By Akshay Seth, Daily B-Side Editor
Published February 18, 2013

“It’s going to suck ass,” they said. “It’ll make you hate John McClane,” they said. “Dude. None of us have dates. Watching Bruce Willis pistol-whip Russian people on Valentine’s Day isn’t going to change shit,” they said. They were right.

A Good Day To Die Hard


C-
Rave and Quality 16
20th Century Fox

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And now I’m down $30 for dragging them to a movie that had me convinced that low expectations could be shattered. Who cares if the trailer dragged us through a graveyard of unoriginal, shoddily edited action sequences? Did it really matter no one had any idea what the film was going to be about? Of course not. This was “Die Hard,” dammit — random stuffs were going to spontaneously combust and the only thing tying it all together would be virile one-liners spat out of Bruce Willis’s (“Moonrise Kingdom”) smirking mouth.

But “A Good Day to Die Hard” is not in the same category as those fist pump-inducing shots of testosterone we used to watch when Willis had hair. Weird and unnecessary, this fifth installment sputters along like an old jalopy. It limps through an amalgamation of scenes that reek of the alcohol some writer in Hollywood (Skip Woods, “The A-Team”) drank and then regurgitated on the script when trying to come up with idiotic references to the most idealized version of manliness imaginable. Apparently, real men are incapable of hugging (biceps too big) and laugh after getting impaled by large, blunt nails.

But let’s be fair — you’re supposed to leave your brain at home when watching an overblown action extravaganza like this, right? Whoever came up with the plot (Stop hiding — we know it was you, Skip) certainly thought so.

We start off with John McClane’s estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney, “Jack Reacher”), killing someone in Russia. The murder prompts our hero to hop on the next flight to Moscow in an attempt to finally come to terms with his son’s apparent delinquency. As it turns out, Jack works for the CIA and McClane’s unannounced visit throws off his mission to escort a Russian whistleblower to the United States. Father and son eventually join forces, and the jalopy wheezes to a start. Throw in a couple senseless plot twists, a few barrels of weapons-grade uranium and the most moronic, carrot-chewing (why, Skip, why?), tap dancing Russian villain (Radivoje Bukvić, “Taken”) ever conceived, and you’ve got yourself 97 minutes of my life on Valentine’s Day, 2013.

Like a lot of other teenaged males, I don’t necessarily mind when some assholes try to peddle this exclusive brand of harebrained idiocy as long as there are at least a few well-choreographed scenes of flaming carnage. In this film, there are no such scenes. There’s flame, there’s carnage, but it does nothing more than slap you with a migraine. Every single action sequence is over-long, dragging to the point that the sound of metal grinding against pavement actually starts to become part of the background noise. Seriously, we don’t need to hear every little engine spurt as John McClane clumsily tries to figure out how to get his car off the side of a bridge.

And by the time it finally does, it becomes clear I’ll never watch another “Die Hard” sequel again. John McClane used to be an iconic character, but like with any action hero worth knowing, he got old. The time’s come to move on. So here’s my goodbye: Throughout the film, our not so battered protagonist frequently yells out, “I’m on vacation.” John, I love you, man, but you’re not on vacation anymore. You’re retired — you just haven’t realized it yet.


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