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Movie Review: 'A Good Day to Die Hard'

A Good Day to Die Hard....but not to go to the movies.


It just may be time for the "Die Hard" series of action movies to die. Judging from the collective thumbs down by critics who wanted to like Bruce Willis' latest movie, I would say that New York Detective John McClane should have hung up his shield with the last installment.

But no. Now the good John is in Russia, trying to free his son Jack (Jai Courtney) from prison. Turns out his son is really a CIA operative. Let's leave the rest of the plot and the surprises to the brave souls who are really diehard fans of "Die Hard." They're the ones who should be applauded.

Here's what the critics are saying:

And there is never a shortage. The cold war may be a fading memory, and C.I.A. superspies (like the younger McClane) may have displaced big-city cops (like his dad) in the pop-culture pantheon. But this off-the-shelf blend of car chases, fireballs and the rat-a-tat, thunk-a-thunk of automatic weapons fire is not likely to go out of style. Style, sad to say, is precisely what is missing from “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the latest entry in the flourishing geezer-action genre. Directed by John Moore (“Max Payne,” “Behind Enemy Lines”), it consists of a handful of extended set pieces — each more elaborate and therefore somehow less exciting than the last — linked by a simple-minded plot and a handful of half-clever lines, most of them muttered by Mr. Willis. A.O. Scott, New York Times

So a weak screenplay, lousy action sequences, and flat wisecracks. But surely, there must be something good to be said for "A Good Day to Die Hard," right? Actually, no, I've saved the worst for last. You know, that whole idea - the central conception of this installment - of having Willis share the spotlight with Jai Courtney as his screen son, John McClane Jr.? Not good at all. It adds a note of sentiment, but of false sentiment. And instead of watching McClane (Willis) deal confidently with villains, we get to watch him treading lightly around his grown son, hoping for his approval. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Hardware is one thing but inspiration is something else, and in that area "A Good Day to Die Hard" comes up short. True, a lot of stuff gets blown up and stunts that must have cost the Earth appear with startling regularity, but the sense of exhilaration and fun that marked the best of the series has gone unaccountably AWOL. Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

There’s a point at which any long-running franchise begins to fall into the realm of self-parody, and for the Die Hard franchise, this fifth installment officially marks that point. Through a combination of a thin story, even thinner characters, terrible dialogue, spastic, murky filming and outrageously cartoonish violence and stunts, the title of this film - A Good Day to Die Hard - is not just a name, it’s a proclamation that this series is now ready for the graveyard. Kofi Outlaw, Screen Rant

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