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Bruce Willis has got to me the laziest guy running around Hollywood calling himself a professional actor. Not that he isn’t a professional actor (this is the original John McClane we’re talking about here), it’s just clear that a whole lot of the time he doesn’t care for A) his character’s arc B) the storyline he’s put in or C) the audiences’ perception of his knack for the non-dramatic. This is part of the reason why “A Good Day To Die Hard” is a subpar film even by the lowest standards.
And the lowest standards were set quite low with “Live Free Or Die Hard,” director Len Wiseman’s take on the now overtly drawn out series (they’ve jumped a lot of sharks – we’ll get to that) which completely miscast Justin Long. Despite the varying directors, John Moore’s “A Good Day To Die Hard” brings no added positivity to the series – it’s essentially a movie for morons.
Ok, so the plot goes as follows: McClane learns that his son (Jai Courtney, whose role was 100x better in “Jack Reacher” because we didn’t have to hear him talk much) is in trouble in Russia, so he heads out there on a “vacation” and gets caught up in the middle of an undercover CIA mission where his son is supposed to extract a Russian criminal out of the country. Shit goes wrong and, in a series of twists and turns as predictable as Lindsay Lohan finding herself back in court, the father-son duo winds up having to kill an army of stereotypical Russian thugs to get out of there.
But it’s not confined to just the big city atmosphere (where the best part of the movie probably comes, a short scene with a hilarious Russian taxi driver) – eventually they head to Chernobyl! Yes, THAT Chernobyl. That’s a shark that isn’t worth jumping. Even the original “XXX,” also set in Russia, didn’t go there. Chernobyl should just be off limits altogether, but I guess that’s what happens when an action series runs out of decent set ideas and tries to imitate Justin Lin and "The Fast And The Furious" series.
Willis’ inability to engage with his role has, over the last four decades, transformed his McClane character from a hard ass to a suave ass. He used to be a tough guy who just dealt with the trouble as it came, but now he’s supposed to be more experienced and he only survives because he always knows what’s coming. That’s not really entertaining from an audience’s perspective, but then, you know, neither was Moore’s “Flight Of The Phoenix.”
Sebastian Koch, beautiful Russian actress Yuliya Sniger and an especially underused Mary Elizabeth Winstead (it sadly seems like Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino are the only guys that know how to use her right…) round out the rather boring cast, but maybe we should have expected that after seeing how boring John Moore’s “Max Payne” was on the big screen. I think I’m right in assuming that the all true “Die Hard” fans out there aren’t going to like this very much, because I love the original “Die Hard” and I didn’t.
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