It's a good day for Judge David Johnson to quit sniffing glue.
Yippee-Ki Yay, Mother Russia.
Bruce Willis suits up for another trip into Die Hard-ville. The fifth entry into the esteemed action franchise—a series, in my opinion, that has yet to put out a true clunker—transplants John McClane into Russia, where, surprise, he ends up ensconced in mayhem.
He's there to track down his son, Jack (Jai Courtney, Jack Reacher), who may have gotten mixed up with the wrong crowd, as evidenced by rocket launchers aimed at his head. Soon enough, father and son are all in on the biggest heist in Russian history. But before they uncork catch phrases and usher the heavies into the sweet hereafter, the McClane boys are going to have to outrun gunships, drive trucks out the back of helicopters, and wage an all-out assault onslaught on Chernobyl.
It's no secret this entry wasn't exactly accepted with open arms by the critics or the theater-going public. It's no mystery why: A Good Day to Die Hard is straight-up numbskull movie-making, stocked sideways with ludicrous premises. It's loud, super dumb, and I sort of like it.
No…No half measures here. I'm all in. I like it. I really, really, really like it!
Admittedly, out of the gate, the film had a few positives in its favor. It was a continuation of the Die Hard franchise; it was rated R; and, well, that's all I needed. As the craziness unfolded, I found myself both amused by the moronic nature of it all (John McClane has taking to punching out foreigners in the middle of the street just because they don't speak English), yet down with the relentless pace. Clocking in at just north of an hour and half and crammed with action that is about as non-stop as it gets. Out of the chute the action rolls, with literally two minutes set aside for "character development" (read: John calling his son a moron, etc.) and then it's off for some more explosions! Another plus: much of the scenarios are executed practically, save for the overcooked finale and some John McClane acrobatics as physics-defying as his infamous jet-surfing in the previous film.
Minuses? The usual: incoherent plot, wooden acting, flat jokes. Fine. I can deal. As a slab of red-blooded action with a John McClane vocabulary once again returned to foul-mouth territory and guys getting tossed into helicopter rotors, I'm fine dealing with the drawbacks.
A money Blu-ray, bringing in a crackling 1.85:1, 1080p video transfer that pushes out some gorgeous carnage. Even more striking is the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, a marvelous mix that ensures that the wanton destruction sounds about as good as you could want. A good haul of extras: the original theatrical cut of the film, commentary by director John Moore and 1st AD Mark Cotone, deleted scenes, five hefty featurettes including a monster 60-minute documentary, some visual effects stuff, an art gallery, a DVD copy, Digital copy, and UltraViolet download.
The hard-R actioner is a dinosaur. We all need to do our part.
Hate on it all you want, but if this movie was called Boom Boom Ka-pow in Russia!, the sleek, violent, practically-executed havoc would be lauded. Or maybe not. Hey look, John McClane says the F-word again!
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Scales of Justice
• Theatrical Cut
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