Film review: A Good Day to Die Hard (12A)
It's 25 years since Bruce Willis donned a sweaty vest to save the day in Die Hard. And 23 years since Die Hard 2, when he asked, disbelievingly, "How can shit like this happen to the same guy twice?" That question persisted right through to Die Hard 4.0, when Willis, as hard-ass cop John McClane, teamed up with an ace computer hacker (played by Justin Long) to save America, again.
The variations seemed all played out, but lo! McClane is back in A Good Day to Die Hard, this time to join forces with his equally fearless son. Did anyone know that he even had a son? The series seems to be taking on the disturbing aspect of a family business. I wouldn't put it past McClane to line up with his grandchild in time for Die Hard 8.
For now, though, we're in Moscow, where John has gone to bail his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) out of trouble. Little does he know that the kid is not just a chip off the old block: he's on a mission for the CIA to rescue top-level scientist Komarov (Sebastian Koch) from a gang of murderous Russian goons. "So, you're the 007 of Plainfield, New Jersey," says father to son, pride mingling with envy.
The director, John Moore, delivers two huge set-pieces in quick succession, the first an explosive assault on a Moscow courtroom, the second a long car chase through heavy traffic and across floyovers that ends in a demolition derby. Scenery-trashing has been integral to the franchise from the off, the difference being that the first Die Hard cleverly confined itself to a single building (the Nakatomi tower!) and gave Willis one of the greatest adversaries in movies – take a bow, Alan Rickman, your beard and soft-voiced suavity live on. Here, the bangs come quickly but with less ingenuity, the rule being that if one loiters in a building for longer than five minutes a barrage of gunfire will shatter the windows.
As for Willis, he's pushing it as an action hero but doing OK. The patented smirk is still intact, as is the bellyaching about how he neglected his kids because he was too busy working. Any remorse over his selfishness, however, is forgiven in the face of his willingness to go out on a limb for his family and his country. The screenplay by Skip Woods (The A-Team) keeps reminding us exactly what sort of scumbags he's up against: they stand over their victims and sneer, "Do you know what I hate about Americans?" Pause. "Everything." What can you do with such people other than blast them to smithereens with a cry of "Yippee-ki-yay"?
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
- 2 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
X Factor hopeful Mason Noise: 'How is Cheryl Fernandez-Versini in the music business, let alone a judge?'
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says jobless migrants should be banned from entering the UK