Bruce Willis’s wisecracking hero John McClane is back in action for his fifth screen outing with A Good Day to Die Hard, 25 years after the character’s iconic debut. Unsurprisingly, Willis is showing his age – and so is the franchise.
The plot certainly creaks from the strain of finding yet another excuse for putting New York cop McClane in the wrong place at the right time. This time the screenwriters have contrived to send him Moscow – armed only with an Idiot’s Travel Guide – to track down his estranged son, Jack (Aussie actor Jai Courtney).
Unbeknown to dad, Jack is actually an undercover CIA spy and McClane’s inopportune arrival blows his mission to whisk a Russian whistleblower (Sebastian Koch) to safety, beyond the reach of an oligarch’s private army. Naturally, McClane can’t resist getting involved and is soon playing dodgems with the city’s rush-hour traffic – giving director John Moore the opportunity to stage some spectacular vehicular mayhem.
Of course, father and son somehow emerge intact from the carnage and proceed to team up, bickering and bonding amidst the flying bullets as the convoluted plot sends them to an ultimate showdown with the bad guys at the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
Moore throws everything at the screen, but ends up creating action that is hackneyed, repetitive and often incoherent. When they’re not leaping off buildings in slow motion, Willis and Courtney trade the odd snarled insult or grudging endearment, but there isn’t a line that lingers.
Released on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD on Monday 10th June by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The two-disc release features an extended version of the film’s theatrical release and over two hours of extras, including deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary.
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