Actually, it *WAS* a Good Day To Die Hard

When you have a beloved film franchise, every time they make a
sequel you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Indiana Jones,
Alien, Terminator: the law of averages works harder against you in
Hollywood than almost anywhere else on the planet. When I first started
watching the Die Hard series, I hadn’t equated this pattern to
the franchise yet.   Now we’re into the 4th sequel since Bruce Willis
started proving his badassery in 1988 and with every upcoming sequel
announcement I wince a little. “Oh, god: still?! Ok, you’ve had a great
run so far. Is this the one that stops the money train?”  I finally had
the chance to see A Good Day To Die Hard and, as of this writing,
I have some mixed feelings about it.  The plot revolves around John
McClane (Willis) hearing his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), is
being held in a Russian prison. McClane travels to Moscow to help his
son out of whatever bind he’s found himself in only to get entangled in a
terrorist plot (In true McClane fashion).  
The movie itself is crammed with action and director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, Max Payne)
has proven he can direct an action scene like no other.  The car stunts
in this movie were particularly spectacular, rivaling even the
car-ramped-into-a-helicopter moment of Live Free Or Die Hard.
 The feeling I’m left with is that these were a lot of amazing action
shots threaded together with a small, loosely stitched plot of John
McClane trying to reunite with his distant son.  I think even
Bruce Willis might be tired of delivering his “Yippe-kai-yay” line.
 There are quite a few redeeming qualities to the movie.  First and
foremost, plot aside, it did have *most* of the “Die Hard” feel and I
think that’s thanks to Bruce Willis who, so far, is the only cast or
crew member to work closely on every Die Hard installment. One of the
greatest moments (no spoilers) was during the third act in what *had* to
be a wonderful homage to the first movie (or an incredible
coincidence).  I felt my wife and I were the only ones who hooted and
applauded at this.  I might have felt the movie was poorly driven, but
it didn’t feel empty. I didn’t walk away feeling like I was missing
The movie, in all of its quirks, was still fulfilling. I’d
give it a B+ in action, but a C overall.   The biggest redemption of
this movie? Unlike Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,
I was marginally OK with the idea of a spin-off franchise starring John
McClane Jr. It may be too soon to tell, though: Jai Courtney has quite a
few projects ahead of him before he can successfully don the snappy
one-liner and dirty undershirt of his predecessor.  All-in-all, it may
not end up being my favorite installment, but I’ll accept it into the
fold and finally stop giving Die Hard 2 so much crap.

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