AFI DOCS 2014 (Days 3&4)

A Good Day to Die Hard

The fifth time is not the charm for the hugely successful Die Hard franchise. A Good Day to Die Hard is, without a doubt, the weakest of the bunch – and I’m not even sure I’ve seen them all. That said, the movie is mindless entertainment that should do well at the box office because, well, it’s Die Hard. Bruce Willis. Action. Good guys. Bad guys. Things going boom. Father-son bonding. Bullets flying. Cars flipping. Helicopters crashing. And more things going boom. Get the picture? If the movie had tried to take itself too seriously, I’d have a much more serious problem with it. Instead, I will simply take exception with the fact that it has no comprehensible plot.

Bruce Willis is back as the iconic NYPD cop John McLane who, since 1988, has managed to find trouble – or have trouble find him – in Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and Live Free or Die Hard. This time around, trouble takes him overseas. He travels to Russia to bail out his wayward son Jack who, it turns out, is more of a chip off the ol’ block than John realized. Jack (Jai Courtney) is actually a CIA operative on a mission to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist. He also has a chip on his shoulder where Dad is concerned.

Ultimately, father and son must team up to save the world and each other from a bunch of Russian bad guys – and girl. Cue the guns blazing. Cars flipping. Helicopters crashing… you know the drill. There are more plot holes than pot holes, but there’s also very little dialogue. There are, however, lots of subtitles – ‘cause the Russians apparently prefer to speak Russian. Unless the Americans aren’t around. Then they inexplicably switch to English.

A Good Day to Die Hard is James Bond light. It moves at a fast clip. The stunts are preposterous. The body count is high. But the violence isn’t particularly graphic. Technically, the movie is rated ‘R’, but ‘R’eally, if the older boys want to see it, more power to ‘em.

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