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A Good Day to Die Hard

By MICHAEL NORDINE
2007's Live Free or Die Hard was, to the pleasant surprise of many, the best entry in the Die Hard series since we were first introduced to John McClane nearly two decades earlier. It was self-aware, funny and joyously over the top. John Moore's A Good Day to Die Hard doubles down on that film's maximalist approach and silly title but drifts away from nearly everything else that defines a Die Hard film. McClane has gone from a likable everyman to an indestructible super-cop. Too much attention is paid to barely coherent action sequences and too little to the once-charismatic figure in the middle of it all. At the film's beginning, McClane flies to Moscow in order to help his gone-rogue son; once there, things quickly escalate—as they are wont to do whenever Bruce Willis’ flagship character gets involved. In hindsight, it seems not only inevitable that the all-American cowboy of a cop would eventually fight the Russians but strange that it took so long to happen. This scenario yields a number of early pleasures: It would be self-defeating to deny the joy of seeing Willis yell “Do you think I understand a word you're saying!?” immediately after punching out an angry Muscovite. But such moments are overshadowed by the baddies' propensity to speak only English and lazy plotting that leads to a radioactive climax in Chernobyl. Moore and writer Skip Woods also expend considerable energy creating an overly ominous atmosphere. The explosions and gunfire are often exciting despite not holding up to narrative or logical scrutiny, but they nevertheless leave one longing for the moments of levity that colored the previous entries. Which is to say: A Good Day is a decent action flick, but change a few characters' names and it's barely recognizable as a Die Hard movie.
 
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Release Date: Thursday, February 14, 2013
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • MPAA Rating: R [ Language, Violence ]
  • Critic's Score: C+
  • Starring: Bruce Willis [John McClane], Jai Courtney [Jack McClane], Mary Winstead [Lucy McClane]
  • Directed by: John Moore [Director]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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