Returning to the role that catapulted Bruce Willis to that of A-lister status, John McClane is back in the fifth 'Die Hard' film series 'A Good Day to Die Hard'. With high action, scrappy script and over the top sequences, this film feels throughout much like the others - just in a manner that comes across a bit stretched at times with regards to the narrative structure. Die Hard 5 is not bad, but when compared to the previous films in the series it falls short of what expectation was placed upon it. Directed by John Moore, whose last film was the ill received 'Max Payne', 'Die Hard 5' seems to only concentrate on where and how the next action sequence will come, and not on whether the plot works or is even plausible. For action nuts, this film will bring enough to the table to reward the investment, but for those who wanted a return to the series' earlier glory days of cinematic action, a disappointment-of-sorts will be all that awaits.
After not having any contact with his son, John McClane is desperately looking for him. When information is received that his son, Jack McClane, has been found in Russia and that he is on the wrong side of the Law, John heads over there in hopes of convincing him to return back to America as a changed man. Arriving in Russia, it soon becomes apparent that Jack is mixed up in big political issue involving two people; Viktor Chagarin - a high ranking but corrupt Russian official - and Yuri Komarov - a political prisoner and government whilstleblower. With the former trying to incriminate the latter without a fair trial, on a basis of holding back a file containing secret documents that can be held in evidence against him. Jack is mixed into proceedings by being an arrested after assassinating a target, only to agree to testify for a shorter sentence. Coming into this situation, McClane is at first confused about why his son is involved. However the further he gets involved into it, the more conspiracy around these two people is found. Not everything is how it at first seems with this narrative, with revelations and twists throughout, the films storyline will keep you engrossed throughout.
'A Good Day to Die Hard' is not a bad action movie just one that does not reach the heights outlined in the earlier installments. The action sequences that this film features never lets off. Throughout its duration many explosions occur, countless vehicles are destroyed and Jack and John are shot at for pretty much the entire 90 minutes.
Bruce Willis seems to be at one with the character. Having played him in five feature films, this fact is not surprising. By having him this self-assured really does make the character feel real. Although some of what he does and says is ridiculous, having these traits really is what McClane is about. Coming into the franchise for the first time, Jai Courtney, as Jack, is easily an established action star waiting to come into the lime light. Balancing the dual lead position with Willis is never an easy thing to do in film, however Jai Courtney takes half of the focus making 'A Good Day to Die Hard' as much his story as the other. With the possibility of the future of this series being developed into his, it is good that Courtney seems correct for the role that he is playing. Instead of focusing this narrative on, once again, McClane being a accidental hero, the filmmaking team have decided to adapt the series into something that resembles a different approach to the narrative type. This makes 'A Good Day to Die Hard' feel fresh and different, bringing new life to the series.
Although 'A Good Day to Die Hard' is an exciting thrill ride of a film, it does also feature multiple flaws. Throughout its narrative there are multiple plot holes that set this film back. The fact that our leads are shot at thousands of times but never seem scathed really does make them feel invulnerable, this means that the threat is really taken away from them - thus creating a blend of action scene to another action scene with out much dread garnered for the characters. The most annoying of these plot holes however, is the complete un-plausibility of certain aspects featured. Why, where many people are seen wearing protective suits, do are protagonists only need a shirt so as to survive the radioactive environment that surrounds them? Why is it ok for three cars to smash their way through a highway causing so much damage, yet leave the scene unchallenged for what they have done? Questions like this linger long in the mind after the credits have rolled, and are never even looked into, let alone explained. This really detracts from the production of this film, paired with a one dimensional villain, that seems to do little more than skulk around in various scenes, the film feels rushed and weak in some places.
'A Good Day to Die Hard' is a worthy, if not great, follow-on to an already established action series. Willis returns, and never has he appeared so relaxed as within this role. Jai Courtney is a fresh extension to the series, styling his performance on McClane in the previous installments. Will he be the new lead of the series in future installments? Only time will tell, but what can be said with confidence is that he will not disappoint. With plot holes and mistakes made by the filmmakers however, 'A Good Day to Die Hard' never eclipses the series highs, seemingly happy to stay average. C