CATEGORIES Movie NewsThis weekend, the fifth film in the "Die Hard" franchise, "A Good Day to Die Hard," opens in theaters. This time around, Bruce Willis's character looks to save his son, Jack, after he botches a CIA mission in Moscow. Yes, John McClane's son is in the CIA. And yes, 20 years after the first "Die Hard" hit theaters, McClane Sr. still thinks he knows better than everyone else.
Unfortunately, that's about all you're going to recognize in this bloated, explosion-heavy sequel, starring Jai Courtney and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Below, a rundown of the pros and cons of the film.
PRO: The Return of John McClane Everyone's favorite no-nonsense, step-on-glass-if-you-have-to-get-the-job-done New York City police officer is back, and that should be reason enough to celebrate. No matter what your thoughts are on the previous -- and somewhat lackluster -- "Die Hard" sequels, audiences still feel attached to this character (at least, the character they remember from the original 1988 film). Granted, that is the problem with all the "Die Hard" sequels: John McClane's "everyman" cop left a long time ago. Still, people always seem to hold out hope that some form of the character they used to know will show up. But if you think that's going to happen in "A Good Day to Die Hard," you are sorely mistaken.
CON: The Return of John McClane ... as a Supporting Character Like every other "Die Hard," this chapter stars Bruce Willis, which is why it may come as a surprise that this isn't his film. In fact, Willis's McClane is essentially demoted to a supporting role here, making way for some younger talent in the form of his son, Jack, played by Courtney. We'll give you one guess as to why that is. (It's more sequels. The reason is to make more "Die Hard" sequels.) This wouldn't be so bad if Willis seemed to care one iota about this movie and the millions of fans who will pay money to watch him fight his way through terrorists. Unfortunately, Willis is just window dressing here, stumbling around Moscow like an embarrassing father making dumb observations and jokes about Russians and bad guys. He also feels the need to throw in the "I am just on vacation" line every time some jerk with a machine gun decides to shoot at him.
PRO: Some of the Action Sequences Are OK There's nothing groundbreaking about the explosions and chase scenes in this film -- they happen about every two minutes. But there are a few cool ones, including the aforementioned highway chase scene where McClane Sr. looks to elude a gigantic tank. There's also a scene at the end that shamelessly pays homage to the first movie. One word of advice, though: make sure to leave your "that would never happen in real life" reaction card at the door. There was clearly no one involved in the making of this movie that cared enough to make it realistic. Also, if you've seen the last four "Die Hard" flicks, you should know this already.
CON: Everything Else Is Pretty Bad On the surface, the plot for this film isn't that ridiculous: John McClane heads to Moscow to find his son, only to discover that he's a CIA operative in the middle of tracking two Russian oligarchs who caused the Chernobyl meltdown. But the entire film is chock-full of terrible dialogue, and the direction is even worse. John Moore puts the camera right in the middle of the action, so much so that you have absolutely no clue what is going on. Who's fighting whom? Where did that bullet come from? Wait, why is there a car in a helicopter on the highway? WHAT'S GOING ON?!
CON: It's One Giant Mercedes Benz Commercial Look, I realize almost every movie today -- even the great ones -- look to capitalize on product placement. But it is so so blatant here. Every car is a Mercedes, even the trucks. The worst example happens during Willis's highway chase scene, in which the logo of his Mercedes G-Class is featured front and center in almost every shot. Oh, and before you start saying, "Wait, this could all be a complete coincidence!" I point you to this website.
PRO: The Return of the Blood-and-Dirt-Stained White Shirt John McClane doesn't leave home without it.
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