Wednesday, 27 February 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard - The scoop and digest


Since the introduction of super cop John McClane in 1988, he reprised his role with or without estranged wife Holly a further three times.

Die Hard set the standard for action movies meaning that any film of similar ilk or sequel would always struggle to emulate the original.

Although the second and third films were good, they weren’t fit to wear McClane’s vest.

Oh, what about the fourth, well....

Anyway, in 2013 he’s back and will this be either his swan song or swan dive?

Plot details and/or spoilers will be drunk with Russian Standard.

Those forming part of uranium include:

Bruce Willis – John McClane
Sebastian Koch – Komarov
Jai Courtney - Jack McClane
Yuliya Snigir – Irina
Mary Elizabeth Winstead – Lucy

In Moscow, we hear that a powerful but not so squeaky clean Russian official Chagarin plans to blow his whistle harder than a footballing referee on fellow comrade Komarov because he has in his possession a file that contains incriminating evidence against him.

CIA Agent Jack (McClane’s son) is also in a spot of bother with the law but agrees to testify against Komarov in exchange for a lighter sentence.

Back in America, John is testing his grouping accuracy on a targeting range and when learning of his son’s predicament in Russia, his passport is dusted off.

A taxi ride stuck in traffic later, John arrives at the court of law where son and Komarov are due to be sentenced.

The jury do not have the chance to deliver their verdict as an explosion causing a chain reaction of car right offs inconveniently interrupts proceedings.

The two horses make their escape and are galloping rather than trotting.

John stops their getaway truck and after Jack seems shy to call him ‘Dad’, he pulls a gun on him.

Absolutely fucking charming, what loving son could do more?

What follows is a rather good car chase featuring some impressive annihilation involving four wheels on the streets.

After chopping and changing vehicles, they arrive at a safehouse where John discovers that Jack has been operating undercover for the CIA.

Jack’s partner insists that Komarov hands over the file so that justice can be heaped upon Chagarin but that is soon cut short by Chagarin’s henchmen.

They evade necessary lead and at a hotel, Komarov finds a key that will unlock The Vault.

On this occasion, attempting to guess the correct combination is not necessary...

Here, we meet Komarov’s smouldering hot daughter Irina who kidnaps her own father when Chagarin’s hired heavies arrive.  Subsequently, Jack and John are a bit tied up.

It seems that money doesn’t just talk, but screams and shouts.

After head henchmen Alik enjoys a chewing a carrot and the cowardly nature of beating up father and son, John cuts himself free and they fight back.

Alik survives a beating at the hands of John but escapes to a waiting chopper with daughter and Komarov.

At some point sooner or later, John grills Jack and Chernobyl is brought to radioactive attention as back in the day, the evidence against Chagarin’s involvement is made clear.

They raid a boot full of arsenal and make their merry way to Chernobyl.

The file never existed and ooh you little tinkers, you were just spinning us a yarn but that’s not the most sparkling plot twist in silver screen history.

The key to unlock the vault only opens a passage that has been storing secret weapons-based uranium.

Another ‘twist’ that we never saw coming sees Komarov taking out Alik.  During a phone call between he and Chagarin, the latter is subsequently strangled by a henchmen posing as a masseur.

After the boys become part of this end sequence, Jack goes after Komarov and John has the misfortune of dealing with Irina who is making for the air.

Hmmm, I wonder who got the bum deal?

Shots fired from high-powered chopper cannons fail to take out Jack and a jeep driven up the ass by John makes things a bit unsteady for pilot and daughter.

After a few silly words from Komarov, he is forced to take flying lessons by Jack and loses an argument with the helicopter’s rotary blades.

Jack and John don’t climb up a hill to fetch a pail of water but they feel the tension as the clearly pissed off Irina rams her air support into the building, stating this is for her father.

I’m sure he would have appreciated it love and you can ask him in the next life as such a pretty face and body is permanently ruined.

Jack and John don’t care as a descent later finds a liquid cushion.

Before which, they are seen jumping in ultra slow motion with John flashing the mid digit at her.

What’s the point and how tacky?

Jack surfaces and calls for John, when he finally refers to him as ‘Dad’, John responds having already emerged elsewhere from a certain watery grave.

When challenged on calling him ‘Dad’, Jack denies it.

They trudge out, passing the aftermath of previous destruction and Jack asks “Do you go looking for trouble or does trouble just find you?”

He retorts with “After all these years, I’ve been asking myself the same question.”

After landing at the airport, they are reunited with their family.

Director John Moore fucked up even more than Len Wiseman did with Die Hard 4.0.

The story has no substance, or real villain and poses little threat in holding your interest to care about any character or event.

Chernobyl is not in Russia and actually part of Ukraine so how did Jack and John get there so quick?

The chemistry between father and son lacks charm with Courtney portraying Jack as an obnoxious and odious character.

No matter what issues you have with your father, pulling a gun should never be entertained.

After all, he isn’t a psycho.

The script trundles along with little grace and is devoid of any clever one-liners.

John reminds us several times that ‘he’s on vacation’ and also hints at desperation.

Willis’s catchphrase “Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker” has become part of silver screen folklore and it can be likened to Arnie’s “I’ll be back” as you expect him to say it.

The famous swear was totally absent in the former effort and surely it can’t happen here...

During the helicopter sequence, John says ‘Yippee-ki-yay mother’muffle’.

I don’t care what anybody says, he doesn’t say it.

Yes, the iconic profanity is like a good Die Hard film, a memory.

The series is synonymous with great action and on that score, it partially succeeds.

Apart from the chase sequence I’ve already mentioned, the only other worth mentioning is the helicopter climax.

While good, can any sequence(s) carry an otherwise shit film until its conclusion?

Of course not!

Battles and fire fights in general are unoriginal, predictable which encourage boredom rather than excitement.

The original Due Hard was originally classified as an 18 for cinema and video release in 1988 and 1989 respectively but then reclassified as a 15 in 2008.

The use of strong language such as ‘fuck’ in a 12A must be ‘infrequent’ so what the BBFC are saying is that ‘fuck’ can be used few and far between.

It remains bullshit (and that’s just the film).

What won’t come as much of a surprise is that the distributor ensured it would achieve this classification by agreeing to make a number of edits to language and bloody violence.

No amount of swears and violence could save this car wreck but at least I’d know that John Moore had a pair and accepted the fate of a 15 certificate.

While the 12A certificate exists, I’ll always have a bigger problem than most with it...

Bruce is not too old for this shit but the script ensures he somehow manages to be more irritating than his son.  McClane has always been a likeable hero and even though inevitable success beckons, his ride is never smooth.

Who knows why Willis entertained such a shit storm because he certainly didn't need the money and ensures the Die Hard legacy has been well and truly tarnished.

Personally, I’d rename this A Good Day to Kill a Franchise because aside from two action sequences, this is frankly terrible.

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