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Death knell: A Good Day to Die Hard

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This is the worst Jason Bourne movie yet. What were they thinking?

Wait, what? This is supposed to be a Die Hard movie? That can't be. It starts out all, like, CIA crap. Shaky zooms on worried wonks in supertech control rooms on one side of the planet, and an opening gambit that I swear is swiped directly, if inexpertly, from Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, with a field agent getting himself thrown into a Moscow prison in order to help rescue a political prisoner ...

Wait, what? Moscow? That's even farther outside John McClane's jurisdiction than Nakatomi Tower.

So that's it, then? They've given up on any feeling of Die Hard-ness and just gone for a bland, generic action pudding. Well, bland pudding that manages to be sociopathic at the same time. Like with the demolition-derby car chase through Moscow that, among other outrages, totals every parked car in the city. It's a prolonged orgy of automobile destruction. It's car-crash porn that's not in the least bit erotic. Director John Moore demolishes with all the rage of a petulant toddler and none of the panache of, say, Godzilla.

This is the sort of dumbed-down junk in which former NYPD cop McClane (Bruce Willis) can arrive in Moscow expecting to visit his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), in prison only to screw up Jack's CIA extraction (which leads to that demolition orgy). And then as the McClane boys continue to run around shooting scumbags and getting in some good — read: awkward and unconvincing — father-son bonding, the elder can complain to the scumbags ruining his day, "I'm on vacation."

That he's not, in fact, on vacation is bad enough, and makes this pathetic wheeze of a would-be one-liner inexcusable enough. Screenwriter Skip Woods should be ashamed. Just contrast it with the original Die Hard's "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs ..." which dripped with sarcastic wit and self-deprecation.

There's no wit here. Instead of the charming wiseass New Yorker McClane once was, now he's an ugly American abroad; the film invites us to be ugly right along with him, since we're intended to laugh with him, not at him, as he insults random non-scumbag Muscovites. Instead of the clever play on cultural fears and the predictability of police playbooks that Die Hard gave us — Hans Gruber's phone call to the FBI demanding the release of random terrorists he read about in Time magazine as a distraction is a brilliant bit of cinema — Good Day unironically indulges anxieties over terrorism with its sliding scale of nefarious badness that starts out cartoonish and ends at a place that is downright science fictional (and without any indication that the movie realizes this).

There are two lines of dialogue here, one spoken by Jack, the other by a lady scumbag (Yuliya Snigir), that are so ludicrous that they could well be something Marvin would have intoned. I can't imagine how the actors did not bust out in guffaws delivering them in much the same way that the crowd I endured this with did when we heard them. The Idiocracy has descended, and shit is all fucked up.

scene@csindy.com

Related Film

Official Site: www.diehardmovie.com

Director: John Moore

Writer: Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp

Producer: Alex Young

Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jai Courtney, Patrick Stewart, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Yuliya Snigir, Amaury Nolasco, Cole Hauser, Anne Vyalitsyna and Sebastian Koch

Related Film

Official Site: www.diehardmovie.com

Director: John Moore

Writer: Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp

Producer: Alex Young

Cast: Bruce Willis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jai Courtney, Patrick Stewart, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Yuliya Snigir, Amaury Nolasco, Cole Hauser, Anne Vyalitsyna and Sebastian Koch

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