Is it a coincidence that the first two months of 2013 house the latest action movies from the now elderly Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis? It seems there’s nowhere left to put tired action stars – except in repetitive, uninventive, mindless, blow-‘em-up spectacles. And this fifth chapter in the “Die Hard” franchise certainly makes room for nonstop, high-octane explosions, going to great lengths to detail immensely destructive car chases, shootouts, and even multiple helicopter attacks. Entirely too much time and attention is given to the extravagantly violent, nonsensically large-scale stunt sequences (although this is clearly the point); with a swift 97 minute runtime, no story is developed (save for the standard political prisoner targeted by national security measures – and a secret file!) and none of the characters get to participate in anything meaningful. But the salvos of machinegun fire and the massive vehicles detonating against one another sure are grand.
It seems that despite little diligence for main character study, “A Good Day to Die Hard” peculiarly focuses on the details of unambiguously supporting roles. A murderous Russian henchman (Rasha Bukvic) receives an entire scene in which to ponder his questionable career choice (he could have been a dancer!), and an even less involved gunman is clearly shown to be muscular (for some reason he loses his shirt), tattooed, and sporting a shaved head – only to end up dispatched without the fistfight that it would seem he was actualized to institute. McClane is still invincible, but as each movie passes, it becomes less acceptable and less impressive. Impossible escapes from exploding buildings and outrageously brutal pummeling of the human body result in nary a bloodied lip; when injuries are incurred, they’re forgotten about minutes later. The father/son dynamic starts off frustrating and ends unspectacularly, but this major addition to the franchise also takes a backseat to the colossal amounts of citywide devastation. At least the “R” rating allows for McClane’s classic catchphrase to be uttered without convenient distortion.
- The Massie Twins