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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 21, 2013

A Good Day To Day Hard Movie Review: Bruce Willis Gets A Son As His Sidekick

THE recent flicks of aging action stars, Arnold S in “The Last Stand” and Stallone in “A Bullet to the Head”, did badly at the tills. Bruce Willis does better as his new movie is a franchise that has its own following so it opened number one in the U.S. last weekend. The very first “Die Hard” movie was shown in 1988. Now, after 25 years, we have the 5th instalment, “A Good Day to Die Hard”.

This time, Bruce as John McClane is sent to Moscow after his son Jack (Aussie actor Jai Courtney who played the ruthless hitman killed by Tom Cruise in “Jack Reacher”) is arrested for murder. On the day of his trial, John discovers that Jack is actually a CIA undercover agent assigned to protect a scientist, Komarov (Sebastian Koch), whose testimony in court can lead to the downfall of top Russian politician Viktor Chagarin (Sergey Kolesnikov.)

But on the way to the courts, pandemonium breaks loose when bad guys try to get Komarov. John meets son Jack in the middle of all the shooting and they eventually form a team to protect Komarov from their pursuers. Jack is tasked to take Komarov to the U.S. for his own safety but Komarov won’t leave Russia without his daughter, Irina (Yuliya Snigir). This starts a series of double-dealing twists and it soon becomes apparent that it’s all part of a plot to obtain a huge cache of weapons-grade uranium. The climax is set in the nuclear-ravaged city of Chernobyl.

The movie is directed by John Moore (“Max Payne”, remake of “The Omen”) and he makes excellent use of CGI effects with all the explosions and stunts (wrecking so many cars) used in the movie. A plus factor is the new location, Moscow, where the entire movie happens in less than 24 hours. The frenetic chase scenes in Moscow heavy traffic and the destructive shoot outs are all excitingly staged. Add to this the personal conflict between estranged father and son that’s eventually ironed out in the course of the movie.
U.S. reviewers panned the movie, as if they’re expecting a franchise thing like this to be of Oscar calibre. It’s not as breathlessly awesome as the very first “Die Hard” (which remains to be the best for us), but avid action fans will be pleased. Willis (who’s in his late 50s compared to Arnold and Sly who are in their 60s) remains amusing as the wisecracking McClane. You’d note that Bruce was also given sidekicks to help him out in the last two “Die Hard” flicks: Samuel L Jackson in “Die Hard with a Vengeance” and comedian Justin Long in “Live Free or Die Hard”, where they rescue McClane’s daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who also appears briefly in this new movie) who gets kidnapped. But this time, the one fighting side by side with him is his own son. Somehow, it makes you feel that it’s an indication of a changing of the guards, doesn’t it? From aging John McClane to the younger, more buff Jack McClane. But we don’t think viewers will still buy the franchise without Bruce in it.