John McClane is back for another round of 'hard to die' movie - for the fifth time and now he goes international in Moscow, Russia. Sure, the last one was pretty much swayed from the original cowboy Yippee Kay-Yay movies, but changing the scenario to suit the modern technology seems fit. DC's round of non-stop counter-cyber terrorism looks fun. But is this trip of our favorite hot-headed foul-mouthed tough New York detective to Russia does the same job of delivering loud kick-ass action with a ride of fun as usual, or does it succumb to a tiring piece of repetitive actions?
Release Date: 07 February 2013
Running Time: 93 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Director: John Moore
Screenplay: Skip Wood
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Cole Hauser, Yuliya Snigir
Plot: John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
Russia plunges into crisis when a trial of the former billionaire Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) becomes a subject of political scrutiny and national threat. Matter complicates when Jack (Jai Courtney), the estranged son of John McClane (Bruce Willis) is implicated in a murder of one of Chagarin's (Sergei Kolesnikov) associates. The whole trial is a setup by Chagarin to cover-up his illegal WMD manufacturing. As John arrives in Moscow to see his son, his untimely visit turns into a chaotic one, joining force with his son to protect Komorov from possible political assassination staged by Chagarin.
It is unfortunate because A Good Day to Die Hard is not exactly the Ode of Joy you will expect. I do love the past movies - all four in the franchise. Even the fourth one is enjoyable and possesses enough punching and ass-kicking moments. It is evident that the last installment paves for some sensible direction but this is not really the case. The plot is convoluted, heavily relied on twists and not thrill to pace the motion. Surely it does retain the old funky one-liners, fun actions and ridiculously insane set-up, but it fails to deliver an ultimately high satisfaction. Casual movie-goers will likely to find this movie fun but those familiar with the franchise will immediately notice more problems within it.
As much as the scope of the story goes wider into a foreign territory, the scale of action and story goes the other way round, unfortunately. Skip Wood (The A-Team) gives McClane & Son a smaller adventure to tackle with, something that also lacks a proper punch and real excitement. Things also get toned down pretty much with the writer resorts to use plot with high preference for recycling cliche materials and elements from the Cold War, resulting a totally predictable showdown of the third act. With the exception of the first act which has intriguing fast-pace car chase in the streets of Moscow, the other action set pieces are rather grounded, less ambitious and lack of punches. In fact, some of the shaky camera works well at some specific time but also been distracting when it is unwisely over-used.
All in all, A Good Day to Die Hard is an obnoxious action flick that will unlikely to win over those who are familiar with the franchise; but even with the recycled, convoluted plot and raw set pieces, it still save us with little fun to savour with.