Never say "done" to a good franchise. Just when you think it's safe to say you've seen it all, some die-hard producer grabs the original actor or actors and does another sequel. The die hard reference in this case is Die Hard and today is a good day to see A Good Day to Die Hard.
Die hard fans of the now five Die Hard films will probably find this the least satisfying. Those of us loving Bruce Willis' character and plenty of guilty pleasure action will find the film a perfect 1 hour, 40 minute real-life distraction.
Willis' John McClane heads for Russia to see if he can help his estranged son beat what appears to be a murder rap. Jack killed a guy on purpose. He said a Russian billionaire being tried for crimes against society by an evil political climber put him up to the crime.
The idea is to testify against the man and send him to prison forever.
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The testifying plan — it turns out — is a sham. Jack is a CIA agent who is going to bust the guy out, learn the political secret he's keeping and spirit him out of the country. During the breakout, John interrupts Jack's plan and gives the bad guys wanting to kill the billionaire the opportunity to get him.
That leads to a nonstop, and very well done, action sequence after action sequence starting with an exceptionally good car chase. Director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) wrecks dozens of cars in a most creative way. Using different filming speeds and unique camera angles, this is a totally unbelievable but really fun wreckfest.
A Good Day to Die Hard is essentially an action buddy movie. Chemistry between the characters is critical. There is some chemistry between Willis and Jai Couirtney (Jack ReacherDie Hard series.
So you'll have to ignore the chemistry problem and just enjoy the action. The film features dozens of fun stunts as McClane and kid create chaos through the country. Bad guys run in lines straight at the two characters as machine guns blast away. They never stop to think, "Hey, four guys running that way just got mowed down, maybe I ought to stop." Meanwhile, bad guys are horrible shots and anything shot at the two main characters barely miss. They fall from great heights, get into horrible car wrecks, and generally get the crap beat out of them in nearly every scene. Yet they always get up, bruised and battered but undeterred.
My favorite suspend-disbelief sequences involve glass. A couple of times the guys run through huge glass windows that would cut a real person to ribbons and leave them a bloody mess. When the last piece of glass tinkles to the ground, they don't even need a bandage.
Suspension of reality is a must. But that's Die Hard, and this is one die hard Die Hard fans won't love but won't hate either.
Director: John Moore
Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Cole Hauser, Yuliya Snigir, Sebastian Koch
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and violence. It's playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.