Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Good Day To Die Hard

In Soviet Russia, hards dye you. Or something. I'm not good with memes.

This is one of those movies that needs no reviewing, really. After 25 years and four previous films, you know more or less exactly what you're going to see. Bruce Willis is gonna get into his tank top, fire some guns, and get beaten up for a couple of hours.

This time, with his son, played by Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher), rather than his daughter, although Mary Elizabeth Winstead is back as grown-up Lucy for a scene.

Well, it's short. Only about 90 minutes, which is really short given that Die Hard pioneered the lengthy action flick, clocking in at over two hours at a time when action films tended to run about 100 minutes.

The opening action sequence is amazing, but also ridiculous, with McClane causing dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries with little provocation. I mean, they don't show it, but there's no way for that series of events to occur without lots of civilians being hurt and killed.

It doesn't really fit in with his character. It's one thing for him to blunder into a situation, but another for him to just—well, it's just silly and out of character.

The second action sequence is also over the top and really predictable.

On the third action scene, I was going to go to the bathroom, and I figured I'd wait until the scene was over, and then I realized this was going to be the closer.

The third sequence? Also way over the top.

The fourth movie in the series did this similar over-the-top action scenes, which really isn't in the—well, I'd argue that the hallmark of the first film was the convincing manner in which John McClane survived a number of relatively intimate encounters with the bad guys. There are a couple of big scenes, but really, the way McClane survived was in the manner of a horror movie monster.

That is, he took the bad guys out in small numbers, which was the only thing that made the movie "plausible", and gave it a semblance of suspense. (Joe Bob Briggs has a convincing argument that Die Hard follows the model of a horror movie more than an action flick.) It also lets the few big action sequences breathe.

But they really threw that out the window on Die Hard 2, and I haven't really cared much since then. It's just an action flick with Bruce Willis doin' his Bruce Willis action thing. He's always likable, and if you want to see him in something different, go see Moonrise Kingdom.

The kids liked it, but were far from overwhelmed.

The Boy is funny about Willis, though. When I talk about being old, he advises me to be like Bruce (who is substantially older). Time to shave my head and put on the wife-beater, I guess.

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