John McClane is really starting to show his age…and no, I don’t mean Die Hard’s bald wonder, Bruce Willis (I’ve always loved him and still do). The series, however, has gone limp, giving Willis little to work with as he trudges and sloshes through the motions, shooting some guns here, flipping some cars there, all half-heartedly and unexcitedly. But let’s back up, shall we?
In A Good Day to Die Hard, our indelible, rough-and-tough hero travels to Russia to help his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) get out of prison; the mini-McLane was arrested as a result of an assassination. Willis’s McLane, however, learns that all is not as it seems and yada, yada, yada…he’s caught smack dab in the middle of a Russian terrorist plot.
Yippee-Kiyay? Not this time.
Despite some OK gun fights and better-than-OK chase scenes, there’s still a lot going wrong on this sinking ship. Much of the lukewarm plot is insanely weakened due to the lack of chemistry between Willis and Courtney. It’s as if the two showed up for a first table-read. They’re awkward around each other. Dialogue comes out of their mouths with such little emotion or weight. Considering the “estranged Dad reunites with Son” storyline that was unfolding, the actors really needed more story and background to sink their teeth into.
The terrorist plot for this rodeo was also pretty weaksauce. Sure, there’s a decent twist toward the end, but with a shortened running time (a meager 97 minutes), it’s too little, too late. The movie is over before you know it, but this time, maybe that’s for the best.
Considering McLane’s past – taking down German mastermind Hans Gruber, conquering a group of mercenaries trying to free a captured drug lord, darting across Manhattan with Samuel L. Jackson diffusing bombs set by Gruber’s brother(!) – A Good Day had a lot to live up to. Since 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard knocked it out of the park, perhaps the bar was set too high for this fifth installment. Regardless, I can’t recommend this trip to Russia, even despite the presence of one of my favorite action heroes of all time. Unless you’re one of the most die-hard of Die Hard fans, of course. Even in that case – consider yourself warned.