<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by John Moore. Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Another original action hero has his day in the theatres after a good long time but this is one film that does complete injustice to the Die Hard franchise including its ridiculous name.
We’ve had Arnie with The Last Stand and Sly Stallone with Bullet To The Head so far and now the third big hero of the 90s is back with a bang in the fifth instalment of the badass cop John McClane’s adventures whooping the bad guys’ asses. But in what looks to be a torch passing akin to the last Indiana Jones movie (Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) this one similarly trips up by showing us that they just don’t make them like they used to.
In A Good Day… super cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) must get his son out of a Russian prison. He doesn’t seem too perturbed by the fact that John Jr ‘Jack’ McClane (Jai Courtney) is in some deep shit. Not a typical parent reaction at all but then he’s been estranged from his son for years now so I guess it’s alright. Meanwhile, in Russia, two shady characters are busy talking in Russian about testifying at a hearing, about making sure the other one doesn’t talk, blah blah. Really, the plot doesn’t matter at all.
What matters is that the Russian government has given one of their cities and a major highway to the filmmakers to completely destroy. Along with at least 100 cars. “Take it all,” they must have said, “we have plenty more. Blow it all up.” And so they do. In an attempt to look totally badass, the film’s opening car chase scene features a heavy armoured vehicle with the baddies, a delivery van with Jack and the Russian guy with the secrets he’s rescued for the CIA and John McClane in a Mercedes truck and then a Mercedes SUV.
Rocket launchers, bullets, cars being smashed to bits, lots of loud music and you’d think this would be awesome but it’s just like ‘whatever’. Totally unimpressive stunts and ridiculous violence do nothing for this film, which in any case has lots of plot holes and a lacklustre script.
Jai Courtney may look more like Bruce Willis than Joseph Gordon-Levitt did in Looper but at least Gordon-Levitt has more personality and can actually act. Jai Courtney is just all beef and looks like he belongs in a GI Joe movie. In any case he pretty much plays third fiddle behind Bruce and the Russian guy (Sebastian Koch) as John McClane sets out to prove that daddy’s always right and his CIA spy son doesn’t know diddly-squat. This holier than thou, I’m too cool attitude probably comes from an inner bravado that Bruce feels since he’s being paid to just be in this movie and mouth lines that fall flat but are quickly covered up with another bout of excruciatingly loud gunfire.
Sure there’s a bit of twist at the end that you might not have caught, but really who cares. Certainly not these actors who all of a sudden take time for some father/son bonding just seconds before the bad guys are about to find a secret file and kill off the guy they’re supposed to protect! Arnold Schwarzenegger is the clear winner with The Last Stand. Sly second and Bruce last. Sad, considering Bruce is actually the guy with both the acting and the action chops.