From Geek for e: A Good Day To Die Hard
February 14, 2013 3 Comments
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A Good Day To Die Hard is the fifth installment if the Die Hard series. And I’m probably the only American that hasn’t seen any of the earlier films. All I know is “Yippee-ki-yay” and Alan Rickman. I know, I’m a bad reviewer; 10 points from Hufflepuff and all that. But in the interest of making lemonade out of my lack of knowledge, here I am, tapping away.
For anyone else that has been living under a rock since 1988, card-carrying badass John McClane (that’d be Bruce Willis y’all) finally decides that he’s kicked enough American badguy tuchas and heads to Russia to track down his estranged son Jack (played by Jai Courtney, Spartacus). But there’s a problem — isn’t there always? — Jack is in prison. But surprise; Jack’s actually a CIA operative whose orders are to rescue former Russian mobster Komarov (Sebastian Koch), a man who has a file that is very important to US Intelligence. But Komarov won’t go without his daughter Irina (Yuliya Snigir). Meanwhile mobster baddies are breathing down their neck. Guess who steps in to help sonny-boy?
Do you need to know anything about the earlier films before you see A Good Day To Die Hard? Nope, not at all. Did I like it? Yippee-ki-YES.
C’mon, you’ve gotta give it to Bruce’s John McClane. That man keeps a rockin’ long after Social Security comes a knockin’. But unlike many of the other 80’s stars that have taken to the screen lately (looking at you, Sly and Arnold) McClane does a great job with sharing the screen with his younger co-star. There’s no narcissistic hogging of the camera, no posturing. It’s not needed here. With an old school beginning credits sequence that’s a tip of the hat to the series’ 80s roots, A Good Day To Die Hard takes beloved genre chestnuts and gives ‘em a 21st Century spit-n-polish. Fans of 80s action films will enjoy things like slo-mo during action sequences, Deep And Meaningful close-ups, bad guys that never consulted Evil Overlord Inc., and a little bit of the old American Language Of Love, better known as xenophobic quips. Not much, but with John McClane being a throwback, I guess you gotta expect his belief system to be just as…vintage.
Perhaps the most old-school item of all are the Russian baddies.You know they’re the bad guys because the ringleader comes into his first scene eating a carrot. That’s never a good sign, just as Anja. (He must have taken that quirk cue from Bond bad guys. And we all know how they turned out.)
Oh, and there’s a lot of car carnage. A lot. Car buffs will definitely shed a tear, as the amount of auto destruction is jaw-dropping. But hey, who doesn’t love the boom? Speaking of boom, my hat is off to the stunt and effects folks. The drivers and stunt performers are 100% brilliant. The action choreography is breathtaking, with very little CGI to be seen. Sure, the final scene has some tweaking, but it’s totally worth it and very realistic. Not wholly believable in real-life, but who’s talking about real life here? For folks who can’t take too much red stuff, here’s a Gore Alert: during the final climax of the film one character dies by helicopter blade, a scene that had me jumping for joy, and thinking of Day of the Dead.
My only problem is with the ability of the Boys McClane; no matter how banged up they get, they keep on going. Kinda like a cross between Terminator and The Walking Dead. I mean really, nobody can sustain that kind of damage. I kept hearing Fat Albert’s Brown Hornet: “…they naturally escaped, unharmed!” There’s also a bit of Deux ex Machine Gun in the final scene (where did that gun come from, anyway?) and let me not forget the big, steroid-havin’ Russian mobster that chases our heroes around. Without his shirt. But he did manage to grab a big gun, so maybe he couldn’t squeeze anything else into his duffle. It happens.
So what did this newbie to the Die Hard franchise think? Well, it’s very easy to sit down and enjoy A Good Day To Die Hard. Just take it on faith that John McClane is a badass and all will be well. Can you see the plot twists and turns a mile away? Sure. But who cares? The end credits roll to the kick-arse strains of “Doom and Gloom” from The Rolling Stones. Which only serves to remind folks that just like the Stones, John McClane’s still got it.