Combustible Celluloid
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With: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yuliya Snigir, Rasha Bukvic, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco
Written by: Skip Woods
Directed by: John Moore
MPAA Rating: R for violence and language
Running Time: 97
Date: 07/02/2013

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Russian Snark

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Twenty-five years after the original Die Hard, John McClane (Bruce Willis) now has a grown son who serves as his comic sidekick, like Samuel L. Jackson in the third entry (Die Hard with a Vengeance) and Justin Long in the fourth (Live Free or Die Hard). But Jai Courtney was cast for his brawn and not for his banter; the characters' "tough love" talk is actually more cruel than funny. Moreover, director John Moore (The Omen remake, Max Payne, etc.) is a camera-shaker who often jolts the action off-kilter.

Following a few opening jokes about his old age, John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to Moscow to try to help out his son Jack (Jai Courtney), who is in trouble with the law. It turns out that Jack is actually a CIA agent helping to rescue a Russian political prisoner, Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch), and secure a secret file related to Chernobyl. John gets in the way of the plan, and before long, father, son, and prisoner are on the run from Russian thugs. After a double-cross and a daring escape, the two McClanes decide to infiltrate Chernobyl itself to prevent the bad guys from getting their hands on a load of weapons-grade uranium. Will they save the world before they destroy it?

The script by Skip Woods hits all the right marks, but also relies on some ludicrous twists and ridiculous plot holes. For example, father and son survive a gas explosion, unscathed, merely by ducking behind some stone pillars. Not to mention that the use of Chernobyl as a setting for a showdown is in questionable taste, and the movie humorously shrugs off the possibility of radiation poisoning for our heroes. It's very likely that this entry will be the death of Die Hard.

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