It also says a great deal more about the resilience and determination of the human character in the fact that I sat through the entire 87 minutes of this ordeal of a movie.
How is it? Well, can you picture that feeling and the resulting expression when there’s a sudden resounding crash behind you, and you know without looking that at least a dozen plates made of fine china have met their sudden and shattering end on the floor? You can? Good. Now imagine that same feeling stretched over an hour and a half, and for all practical purposes you will have seen this movie.
Honestly folks, I have hardly ever watched a movie while mentally going through such a continuous stream of winces, groans and curses like I did with this one. And this despite the fact that I have been a fan of both Bruce Willis and the Die Hard franchise for as long as I can remember.
Where do I start? Director John Moore is nothing to write home about; and let’s face it, he never has been. But at least his previous works (Max Payne, The Omen and Behind Enemy Lines) have been better than this. The script is derived from the same second-rate formula that has become a favorite of Hollywood in recent times : Put so much at stake so that the audience wouldn’t mind the hero being immortal, indestructible or, well, a 60 (almost) year old Bruce Willis. Once you’ve one such doomsday scenario or the other (Here it is some weapons grade Uranium stored at Chernobyl), you have an unlimited license for VFX, explosions, car chases, one liners, superman stunts, and an obligatory sexy chick; and voila! you have a blockbuster movie. I honestly don’t know what is more pathetic: the formula, or the fact that it works most of the time.
The excuse for a story goes like this : John McClane‘s son Jack ( Jai Courtney ) is a CIA operative in Moscow (Yeah, go figure). He is estranged from John(No surprises there either) and almost loathes him. He is used by the Russian defense minister to get to a rival Komarov, who apparently has a secret file hidden away at Chernobyl. As part of some very stupid plan, Jack commits a completely unnecessary murder and then lets the police capture him. John learns about that his son is being tried for murder and sets off to Moscow to rescue him, only to end up screwing a perfectly good CIA snatch operation. Like I said, go figure. What follows is the usual. An obligatory car chase scene where every vehicle on the street seems to defy every law of physics just for the sake of crashing into each other. The obligatory eye candy Irina played by Yuliya Snigir. The usual eye-popping tech in the form of an armored truck and a bad-ass MI-26 attack helicopter. The usual stock footage of Chernobyl. A catastrophic climax. And of course, an immortal and invulnerable action hero.
That last bit is also the film’s biggest failure. John McClane was never a terminator. He has always been a reluctant hero, the guy who takes up the dirty work not because of any personal reasons, but simply because it has to be done. He gets beaten up and bloodied every now and then, but still refuses to give up. That, is where the name “Die Hard” comes in, and that also happens to be the reason why the franchise has so many fans.
The other failure of the movie is the lack of a convincing and menacing villain. I recall Thomas Gabriel of Live Free or Die Hard and Simon Gruber of Die Hard With A Vengeance with as much fondness as I do McClane. The two old scheming and plotting Russian villains and their assorted sidekicks are simply not up to the mark.
And finally, did you really have to this Bruce? I do understand the Twentieth Century Fox paid you a shitload of money to do the film, but did you really have to do this to us? I mean, come on! Surviving those car crashes without a scratch, flying almost 50 feet through the air in that helicopter scene, what are you? Chuck Norris? Give it up, please.You look OLD. As in Senile. No one doubts you have a lot of acting left in you. I would even grant that you still have one or two Die Hard movies left in you (Yes, I’m that devoted a fan). But, Jeez! Act your age, Man! When I go to see Die Hard, I go to see John McClane, not Lara Croft or Spider-man. If you’re gonna keep this up, then, well..