A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth entry in Bruce Willis' John McClane franchise, is 90 minutes of wall-to-wall action. To fans of the genre, that might sound like bliss. Yet even with Willis back in the saddle, director John Moore and writer Skip Woods have found a way to suck every ounce of soul out of McClane's everyman escapades. Willis is 57 years old, but Moore's car chases, shootouts, and explosion-dodging sequences are slow and stagnant enough to be fit for a McClane in his 90s. Adding to the misery is a incomprehensible narrative where nothing happens. Even when menacing Russians are prepping nuclear bombs, nothing is happening. It may have been a Good Day to Die Hard, but the latest sequel is the definition of a soft ball.
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This time around, John McClane is on the hunt for his son Jack (Jai Courtney), who is in deep doo doo after connecting himself to the murder of a crony working for corrupt government official Chagarin. Turns out, Jack is actually a CIA agent, with a mission to protect the incarcerated whistleblower Komarov, who currently sits at the top of Chagarin's hit list. Hoping to lift his son out of trouble, McClane shows up at the exact wrong time, witnessing a gang of henchmen blowing up a courthouse to kidnap Komarov and Jack. Everyone escapes and from there on; it's set piece after set piece until McClane shoots his way to the grand finale.
The one thing A Good Day to Die Hard gets right is the casting of Courtney as the son of McClane. He's just gruff enough, just charming enough, and just adept enough at rolling around with a shotgun blowing away enemies. He can spar with Willis, who has really become the quipping, overworked cop he plays in the movies. The two could make a watchable pair, if they were actually given action to perform.
Many complained 2007's Live Free or Die Hard lost the spirit of Die Hard when it opened up the world and turned McClane into a superhero capable of battling a fighter jet. A Good Day to Die Hard has you begging for anything geographically coherent. The film attempts to contain the action once again, but not by finding a single location or pushing its leading man to his limits. Instead, Moore takes his camera straight up the noses of actors, shaky cam and aggressive editing making up for the complete lack of energy or ingenuity in the set pieces.
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A highway truck chase — which comprises nearly a third of the movie's run time — is lifeless and lost in its barrage of crashing cars. Willis feels distant from it all, even when he's in the driver's seat. When McClane's unleashing hell to the faceless baddie — and really, if there's anything a Die Hard movie needs, it's a solid, maniacally laughing villain — he barely moves an inch. Thanks to the magic of cutting, Willis never exerts energy while decimating large crowds of people. Attempts to inject Die Hard with thrills flop — no exploding helicopter barreling down the side of a building, composed with flashy slow-motion and noticeable green screen, can top the sight of Willis going mano a mano with a killer twice his size. A Good Day to Die Hard even teases a good ol' fashioned fight, but never pays it off.
By the eighth time John McClane reminds us that he's on vacation (this movie's version of "I'm too old for this s**t!"), the brain will have bid A Good Day to Die Hard a good day. The film is insipid in the worst way, throwing stunts at the screen when Willis and Courtney seem ripe with action hero potential. Willis has hinted that a sixth Die Hard movie is already in the works — the good news is, the series can only go up from here. Right?
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
[Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox]
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Anyone who might fall for the grown-up Jack McClane this Valentine's Day is in luck — you can have two of Jai Courtney, star of Feb. 14's A Good Day to Die Hard, thanks to his celebrity doppelgänger, Phillip Phillips.
Yes, there is an... unexpected resemblance between American Idol winner Phillips and burgeoning action star Courtney. But the two celebrities aren't the only stars who look like other celebrities. Check out our gallery of 14 others who boast doppelängers amongst their A-list brethren. This is the one time you'll love seeing double.
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[Image Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images; DJDM/Wenn]
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"Chynna was raised in this crazy rock 'n' roll family... My wife, when she was a child, she lived with Warren Beatty, she lived with Jack Nicholson, she lived with Dennis Hopper, her mother dated Mick Jagger. My dad coached my Little League (baseball) team and was my cub scout leader." Billy Baldwin on his wife Chynna Phillips' wacky upbringing as the daughter of John and Michelle Phillips.
Phillips passed away after suffering a heart attack in Malibu, California, after recently wrapping up his work on the upcoming Superman reboot Man Of Steel.
Roth worked with Phillips on Quentin Tarantino's movie Inglourious Basterds, and took to his Twitter.com page to remember his colleague.
He tweeted, "Very sorry to hear Lloyd Phillips died. He was a producer on Basterds and a really nice guy. A great photographer too. He will be missed."
Phillips' credits also include The Tourist, Twelve Monkeys and The Legend of Zorro, and he won an Academy Award in 1981 as the producer of live-action short The Dollar Bottom.
According to trade publication Variety, he was in pre-production on mystery thriller The Great Wall, and had signed up to executive produce XXX: The Return of Xander Cage with Vin Diesel and Samuel L. Jackson.
"Sandwiches in general is what I want to eat right now. To be honest with you, I don't eat a lot of carbs when I'm not pregnant, so I think just the bread sounds really appealing!" Expectant actress Busy Phillips is enjoying indulging in carbohydrate-filled snacks during her pregnancy.
The star announced on Twitter.com last month (Dec12) that she and husband Marc Silverstein are set to become parents for a second time, but Phillips insisted on honouring her TV filming schedule.
However, the actress admits her ever-growing bust caused problems on the set.
She tells U.S. TV host Conan O'Brien, "What was great, we made the move to (cable network) TBS this year... we ended up shooting up until I was like 12 weeks pregnant so we were able to hide the stomach but I will say that my boobs grew three sizes in this season. So that's something fun everyone can look out for!"
The mother-to-be's co-star Courteney Cox recently appeared on O'Brien's show and revealed she planned to flash the flesh in the new series, but Philipps is adamant her own assets dominated the screen.
She quips, "(Cox) had declared it the season of her cleavage... and then it ended up being my season of my boobs just expanding."
Phillips, who founded the syndicated Dear Abby advice column, passed away on Wednesday (16Jan13) after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer's disease, according to TMZ.com.
Her daughter Jeanne, who took over the Dear Abby column, says, "I have lost my mother, my mentor and my best friend."
Juliana Shiao was taken into custody after someone at The Hangover filmmaker's California residence spotted the 22 year old and called the police.
She was held on $150,000 (£93,750) bail on suspicion of following, harassing, and threatening the director, and was subsequently charged with felony stalking.
Shiao pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Monday (07Jan13), the same day Phillips was granted a temporary restraining order.
In court documents, the moviemaker claims Shiao began harassing him after they had a "one-night relationship" in 2011.
Phillips alleges the women followed him to Las Vegas in November (12) and then visited his Los Angeles home, where she allegedly damaged his girlfriend's car.
A hearing has been scheduled for later this month (Jan13) to determine whether the restraining order will be made permanent, according to TMZ.com.
Juliana Shiao was taken into custody on Thursday night (03Jan13) after someone at The Hangover filmmaker's residence spotted the 22 year old and called the police.
She is currently being held on $150,000 (£93,750) bail on suspicion of following, harassing, and threatening the director.
According to TMZ.com, the Los Angeles County District Attorney has already charged Shiao with felony stalking.
It is not yet known whether Phillips was at home during the time of the incident.