A Good Day to Die Hard
The cowboy hat may have not much meaning today except if they were making a fashion statement. Thankfully, the cinema is home to many modern cowboys. The definition of a modern cowboy applies to someone who thinks like a cowboy (using their own wits) today in a situation where they are not prepared for. The benefit of cowboys is that they are always ready to face the danger, even if they’re no match for it, physically or intellectually. If someone were to challenge me to a cage match, I would never win as I’m not strong enough and I don’t have the years of training necessary. The best I could do is improvise, like a cowboy would.
The modern cowboy I’ll be talking about today is John McClane. From the infamous Die Hard franchise, McClane has become an action hero legend as he is forced to fight his way through impossible situations, yet somehow miraculously finds his footing through it. I’ve always liked this character because he reminds me of someone right out of Hitchcock thriller. Like a lot of those characters, McClane is a simple man who almost has nothing to do with the settings he’s thrown into, yet has used his cowboy-like wit to beat the impossible. Our hero is now working with his son in A Good Day to Die Hard.
John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) is still the grumpy NYPD cop that we all love. He’s gotten word that his son, that he been out of touch with, has been arrested in Moscow. With only a Russian file for help, he takes the next plane out to see what’s going on. As he’s led to the Moscow courthouse, a car bomb goes off, triggering panic with the locals. Through a coincidence, he finds his son Jack (played by Jai Courtney) making his escape with a Russian political prisoner.
In the middle of chaos, Jack drives off as other terrorists in a larger vehicle are tailing him. Making the first move with improvisation, McClane steels a car and goes after his boy, despite having no clue behind the bad guys. This leads to the best part of the movie, as the freeways of Russia become a demolition derby with cars flying all over, roads giving away to tanks and gunfire exploding. After they escape, Jack reveals to his father that he’s a spy with the CIA. He’s helping fellow prisoner Yuri Komarov locate a file that can bring down a terrorist leader that’s exchanging mass uranium. So it’s up to John and Jack to work together to show that two McClanes are better then one.
The best way to describe A Good Day to Die Hard is to call this a note card film. It seems like they wrote down key scenes they wanted like “car chase scene”, “one liner cowboy scene” and “exploding helicopter finale scene” and somehow string these all together. Director John Moore seems to love these action scenes, but lacks any true style. I’ve seen these kinds of action scenes before, and nothing this movie has done could be called a Die Hard scene. A lot of it has been done before and I hoped that by taking it overseas, they could have found more creative ideas.
Bruce Willis does fine as John McClane. He’s the same guy from the first movie in the eighties, and to be honest, this is how I like him. His son on the other hand is anything but memorable. Never have I seen a forgettable character that I hope will not take over the franchise. The villains are also a disappointment as they feel like they have come out of a dime store mystery novel. Too cliche and forgettable. I think it’s time for this franchise to not only die, but to literally Die Hard.
I’ll give this two pictures of Roy Rogers out of five. All that A Good Day to Die Hard does is it makes me want to pop on the old movies on DVD.