Review - A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), R, 97 minutes - Previous installments of the Die Hard franchise have tended to revolve around holidays, most notably Christmas or the Fourth of July.  This fifth entry follows suit in that it released on Valentine's Day, but doesn't actually take place around a particular holiday.  It is also kind of ironic, because as an action flick, it certainly isn't the type of film that you would expect on such a day.  There are no underlying romantic themes, but there is a feel good father/son plot that kinda sorta fits the feel of the holiday.

After the events of 2007's Live Free or Die Hard and reconnecting with his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), John McClane (Bruce Willis) is trying to track down his son Jack (Jai Courtney).  One of his cop buddies has bad news: Jack is in Russia and is being held for trial after getting mixed up in some pretty serious stuff.  John hops on a plane and heads to Russia to find his son and to try and reconcile after years of not speaking to each other.  When he finds Jack, he inadvertently and unknowingly ruins Jack's undercover CIA operation.  As a result, he and Jack, cover blown, have a McClane team-up and attempt to complete the op, which was extracting a Russian named Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and giving him asylum in the United States in exchange for his files on a Russian politician named Chagarin (Sergei  Kolesnikov) who has ties to black market movement of nuclear weapons.  

There are a couple of plot twists that add some intrigue to the story, but for the most part A Good Day to Die Hard is a good old fashioned action flick with plenty of gun fire and explosions.  As with the previous Die Hard installments, there's a bit of suspension of disbelief necessary as some things are just a bit over the top.  This doesn't take away from the enjoyment of the film at all though.  Bruce Willis obviously still enjoys bringing John McClane to life and Jai Courtney (previously Varro on Spartacus: War of the Damned) is a good fit for the adult Jack, whom we've not seen since he was a boy in the original Die Hard in 1988.  We're not really given much background on why he and John fell out of touch other than John's mentioning that as a cop he worked all of the time and didn't have time with his family that he should have.  When they first meet, Jack keeps saying how John always gets in the way and/or screws things up.  It just seemed like there was more to their not talking.  The rest of the development of their relationship throughout the movie works though.  John is there for his son no matter what, and they both have their moments with taking the lead on deciding what should be done next.  What really brings them together is their realization that things have turned and are not going as either of them expected.

The best part is that A Good Day to Die Hard is actually rated R so John is able to utter his classic 'Yippee-Kay-Yay Mother F***er' line.  I actually think that the language is the primary reason behind the R rating.  There's plenty of violence, but none of it is very graphic.  If you're looking to kill some time with a fun action flick, give A Good Day to Die Hard a look.  It's probably about on par with Live Free or Die Hard in that it isn't quite as good as Die Hard or Die Hard: With A Vengeance, but it is still a worthy addition to the franchise.











****SPOILERS****

- So after reconnecting with his daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Live Free or Die Hard, and with his son Jack here, what are the odds that John tries to track down his ex-wife Holly in the inevitable next Die Hard flick?

- It's funny how over the last couple of years, Russia has become the go to source for bad guys in action flicks much like the '80s.

- I have no idea if the plan was to introduce Jack as a potential heir to the franchise, but I think that Jai Courtney was a good fit for Jack.  He definitely has the potential to take over as the lead of the series if they feel the need to go beyond John's adventures.  That is, if Bruce Willis ever gives it up!


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