I’m a big fan of Bruce Willis. However, after seeing the latest installment of the Die Hard series, I’m left wondering if it’s time to let John McClane retire. To go out on a good note, not a particularly high one, but still a bang, instead of a mediocre whimper.
A Good Day to Die Hard, a title that brings out the pre-pubescent humorist in all of us, takes us to Russia. John McClane (Bruce Willis) arrives there in hopes of helping his son Jack (Jai Courtney) who has been arrested for murder. Dad rushes in to find out instead of helping he’s screwing things up. Because Jack is now CIA and his arrest was part of a plot to rescue political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and to secure some a valuable file. What follows are lots of car chases, gun fights, and the big explosions we’ve come to know and love from the Die Hard movies. Unfortunately, what ties all this action together is weak plotline and attempts of father-son bonding moments that for the most part fall flat.
At least the storyline for Live Free or Die Hard was kind of novel, plot holes aside. This story I frankly could care less about. It’s been done to death. Rescuing the political prisoner, secret files, double crosses, nothing new and not even done in a particularly imaginative way.
What bothers me the most is the portrayal of the McClane’s. First of all the McClane’s daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) serves no purpose in this movie other than to remind you that he has a daughter. As little as they used her she could’ve been a photo on the wall. Secondly, how John McClane is brought into this plot doesn’t make sense. What reason does he have to go to Russia in the first place? Why didn’t he just contact the state department, the U.S. embassy in Russia, a lawyer? He has no contacts there, he can’t speak Russian, yet he’s going to get on a plane and do what for his son who’s facing life in prison or worse? Also we are clearly aware why he’s there, so why does he feel the need to remind people repeatedly he’s on vacation. No one cares, least of all the audience.
Then there is his son Jack who is a trained CIA agent yet can’t figure his way out of things or catch a clue once his dad’s on the scene. I know John McClane is the hero but I think this would’ve played better with more give and take instead of using almost every opportunity to prove that daddy knew best. Jack has a couple of flashes of brilliance but not enough to make it that exciting.
Was it a good day? Good yes, great no. It’s not like Bruce Willis doesn’t continue to have a pretty decent movie career. We’ll be seeing him again soon in GI Joe: Retaliation, Red 2, and many other films. But it’s time for John McClane to turn in his badge, go have a beer, and call it a day.