REVIEW: It's a 'good day' for McClane to hang it up
By Roger Moore
Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Is it “A Good Day to Die Hard,” a good time to be had by all as Bruce Willis takes his fifth shot at “shootin' all the scumbags”?
Loud and tedious, “Die Hard” 5 is a shaky-cam/ Sensurround blast of bullets and bombs, digital explosions and death-defying feats of defying death. Not a decent villain or catchphrase in it, it's an attempt to CIA-up the New York-cop-takes-on-the-world's-terrorists franchise. And it doesn't work.
Director John Moore (“Behind Enemy Lines”) spends an endless opening filled with no-names speaking Russian and laying out an elaborate scheme to nab/ kill or release a rich “political prisoner” (Sebastian Koch). Moore gave his cinematographer a Steadicam and a case of Red Bull, and shot the whole thing with a jittery frame that doesn't mask how dull the action beats are, and how really dull the chatty father-son bonding scenes in-between the action beats are.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in Moscow to check up on a son (Jai Courtney of “Spartacus”) who's in jail. Turns out the estranged son is CIA, and he's on a mission. And dad, who's “on vacation,” is interfering. Or saving the day, depending on your point of view.
They crash through an epic Moscow traffic jam — which Moore & Co. shoot and edit into a jumble of crushed cars and feeble wisecracks from the villains. They get into fights with helicopters. In the middle of the city. Not that local law enforcement notices. And it's all in pursuit of some mysterious “file,” which the prisoner they're trying to slip out of the country has. Or doesn't.
Vast arsenals turn up, at their convenience. Unlimited supplies of lead are exchanged with legions of evil minions.
With “Red Dawn” remade, badly, and Stallone and Schwarzenegger stinking up cinemas, you kind of hoped the last '80s action star to take his shot could conjure up a little of the old magic.
Willis, sad to say, doesn't.
For 25 years, it's generally been “A Good Day to Die Hard.” But these last two films have neutered the franchise and wrecked any hopes that Bruce as McClane might be Bourne again. The guy can still take a licking — still pull those shards of glass out after every death- and physics-defying stunt. But the character is weary, and the “I'm on vacation” line is played out. McClane needs to trot out “I'm retired” from here on out.
Roger Moore reviews movies for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Jude Law struts his dark side in ‘Dom’
- ‘Transcendence’ stuck in tropes
- Get up close and personal with cute ‘Bears’
- ‘Haunted House 2’ is too much of a bad thing
- ‘Skin’ has a lot going on underneath
- Crowe seen in Fox Chapel for filming of ‘Fathers and Daughters’