A Good Day to Die Hard, directed by John Moore, is the fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise. Once again it stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, now with Jai Courtney as his son Jack, who has gotten himself into some trouble in Russia. John feels it’s his fatherly duty to go and help his son, but little does he know that his son is actually a CIA agent on a secret mission in Mother Russia. With John now in tow with his son, stuck in Russia, no help, and no hope, what are the McClane boys to do?
Blow up everything they see and save the day.
With the recent trend of taking our favorite action stars from 20 years ago and putting them back in the roles that made them famous to see if they are still marketable, the question is, does it still work? For the fans, yes, it seems to pay off. With the recent success of The Expendables series, there is still a market for that 80’s style action film. But then again recent box office disappointments with Schwarzenegger’s Last Stand and Stallone’s Bullet to the Head tell a different story. So it’s big gamble for the studios. What action series still works? And for that matter: who does the audience want to see as their hero to root for? The answer is simple: John McClane.
The Die Hard franchise is entering its 25th year, and after seeing A Good Day to Die Hard it’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon. From the start this movie is balls-to-the-walls-action! It stays true to what we expect from the Die Hard Series. Regular cop, John McClane, defining all odds and saving the day by doing things no normal cop could ever do. That’s why we go. It’s a testament to Bruce Willis that he is still willing to do the character and that the jaded audiences of today still want to see him do it.
Joining Willis this time around is Jai Courtney as his son Jack. Learn this name, he’s going to be huge. Not unlike when we first saw Chris Hemsworth after Thor, we knew he was going to be huge, but Jai is going places, and rightly so. He works great off Bruce in all their scenes. He’s funny, looks great, can carry the action off as if he’s been doing it his whole life, and ladies are going to want to be saved by him. He is a new action star in the making. Mostly known from the Starz TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and going up against Tom Cruise in last year’s Jack Reacher, Jai Courtney is a breath of fresh air to the action genre.
But why do we go and see these Die Hard films in the first place? Bruce Willis. As John McClane he is still as fun to watch as he was when we saw him face off against Hans Gruber in 1988 with the first Die Hard. He’s funny, quick witted, and takes no crap. That’s exactly what we want and need from our action heroes. Yes, he looks older, and some jokes are made that he is, but never in a sad way. He looks great and you never get the feeling that he couldn’t do this again. Bruce still has it, from jumping from cars and out of buildings, to dodging bullets. And with this looking to be a big money maker I’m sure part six could be coming at anytime.
The action here is off the hook. Since part 3, McClane always seems to find himself in one hell of a car chase. And here is no exception. McClane is trying to keep up with his son’s car while trying to distract the bad guy. What does he do? Oh, just drive over all of Russia leaving a wake of destruction along the way. It’s one of the best car chases in a long time. Just as the huge fight at the end, not going to spoil it, but lets just say that a car vs. helicopter is adrenaline pounding and just fun to watch. You will root for Willis and Courtney and want more the whole time.
The movie has a nice mix of CGI and practical effects, being used in the right amount. Yes, you know there is a lot of green screen work, but it never takes away from the action on screen. You never get that feeling that pulls you out of a flick. That’s due to great talent from the art department and visual effects team. They do an outstanding job. This movie was given the five-star treatment on effects and sound. Everything looks flawless, which just adds more richness to an already fun filled flick.
As far as action films go, this isn’t the best one ever, but damn if it isn’t trying to be. The movie is entertaining, funny, and action packed. It’s just plain awesome, it’s the perfect movie for fathers and sons to go to see this weekend. And unlike part four, Live Free or Die Hard, which was PG-13 and felt like it, this new film is a solid R. So when McClane says his most famous line, he gets to say it like he should. And then the audience went wild. This series still has it. If it continues on, good, but if not, this is the film to go out on.