A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir, Radivoje Bukvic and Cole Hauser. Directed by John Moore. 98 minutes. Rated M (Action violence and coarse language).
It’s Die Hard 5 – and a reminder that it is now twenty five years since Bruce Willis had a hit with the original action drama that led to a franchise. While he looks a bit older and has less hair than he used to, Bruce Willis seems much the same. He flares into action whether he really knows what’s going on or not. He still has that wry smile and can deliver an ironic line or two when the script offers him one.
Apart from that, this one has a plot which is farthest-fetched, both implausible and, for survival, most improbable.
The setting is Moscow (with the film shot mainly in Hungary) where Bruce’s son, John McClane Jr, is in more than a spot of trouble, in gaol and about to go into court. (He is played by Australian, Jai Courtney, a bit of a stolid young man.) Bruce hears about it and is on the next plane to Moscow to rescue his boy whom he has not spoken to for years. (There is a daughter who lovingly bosses her father about.)
But, what Bruce doesn’t know, and we do, is that his son is a CIA operative and is in the middle of an operation to rescue a Russian oligarch/scientist from prison where his former friend and now rival-enemy wants him to stay.
Within about ten minutes we have a car chase, through Moscow’s main streets, highways and side roads, that must have been a bid for the Guinness Book of Records for the biggest number of cars crashed, smashed and trashed in a twenty minute sequence. While watching in disbelief at the most reckless driving you might see, it seemed umpteen cars were destroyed – but then you lose count.
After a couple of respites, there is a huge twist and a climax with a helicopter on top of a building that is pretty belief-defying as well, more smashes and deaths all round – except for John and John Jr who are now reconciled. Nothing, says Bruce, that a father won’t do for his son.
We see quite a bit of Moscow. We see plenty of shooting – and more. We see Bruce, not yet 60, though close, so why can’t he do all these stunts. And that is where that 98 minutes went.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
20th Century Fox.
Out: 21st March 2013.