Already in 2013, we’ve seen Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzeneger flexing their muscles as they attempt to revive their all action solo careers. Now it’s time to welcome back once again an iconic figure to multiplexes, in the form of John Mcclane. Proving there’s life in the old dog yet, 2007′s 4.0 saw our hero’s old school approach gel effectively with its techno-heavy premise. 25 years after a truly memorable tussle with Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber in Nakatomi Plaza, Mcclane is taking a break from America and saying ‘Yippee-Ki-Yay’ to Mother Russia.
‘A Good Day To Die Hard’ is all about the unorthodox reunion of father and son. Mcclane Junior (Jai Courtney) is an undercover CIA operative arrested for murder by authorities in Moscow, as he attempts to reveal the truth behind the tainted past of shady politician Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Koleskikov). His only ‘logical’ approach is to bust out a nuclear scientist turned prisoner named Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and retrieve the contents of a file.
As ever, it doesn’t take long for Mcclane Senior (Bruce Willis) to be in the loop. Equipped with an idiots guide courtesy of his beloved daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), he wastes no time embroiling himself in foreign affairs complete with historical links to an infamous human tragedy. Cue the inevitable as the Mcclanes bicker yet reluctantly team up against Viktor’s suited and booted henchmen.
Cutting to the chase, Mcclane’s latest adventure resembles a Looney Tunes cartoon so it’s perhaps ironic, that one of its anonymous villains is chomping on a carrot. In a desperate attempt to retain the simplicity of its predecessors, the premise is confined to a 24 hour period. Inevitably, the film leaves little room for engaging characterisation or logic as Skip Wood’s cliche-ridden script relies on repetitive ‘fill the blanks’ dialogue (I’m on Vacation!) and the bombastic mayhem of its action set pieces. The family dynamic between Willis and Courtney occasionally garners laughs with broad wisecracks as their respective grumpy and arrogant personas clash, but are predominantly ill served.
The 12A rating bestowed upon the film at the request of Fox prompted much disdain and it shows in the tamed dumbed down approach of its key ingredient. Whilst mildly entertaining in particular the veichular destruction of its opener, such sequences have been edited in such jarring fashion and saturated in CGI, they quickly become tedious in nature. With director John Moore’s previous credits (The Omen remake and Max Payne), this will serve as no surprise to many.
Unfortunately, ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’ will have to deal with the unwanted tag of ‘worst in the series’. Hardcore fans may be a tad more forgiving, but the character of John Mcclane deserves better. Utterly ludicrious, instantly forgettable.