Love that John McClane! He's got the hardest head in movies since Rocky Balboa. What's not to like? He's the archetypal American "cowboy" - fiercely independent, always plowing ahead into danger with no thought but to get the bad guys. You know he'll come out victorious in the end, scarred from battle and in need of medical attention.
Besides the villains he fights are always really bad guys! In this latest installment of the franchise, his son is missing in Russia. So John goes off to find him, estranged though they may be. He runs afoul of conniving criminals bent on stealing weapons-grade uranium from the ruins of Chernobyl. Of course that's a frightening prospect.
John finds his son, played by Jai Courtney, looking like a younger version of his dad. Jr. is NOT glad to see him. In fact the first half of the movie, Jr. is making concerted efforts to get away from John.
But they join forces ultimately and Jr. learns a trick or two from dear old dad.
In one scene, they steal a car outside a bar. When they look in the trunk, they find a huge cache of weapons. Jr. tells his dad they're outside a Chechen bar, where the patrons are not allowed to bring weapons inside. In view of the Boston Bombing, which occurred long after this film was released to theaters, that is not as funny as it used to be.
The film is filled with action scenes, some of the biggest, most destructive I've ever seen outside of one of the recent filmed versions of the apocalypse. You sit back gazing in morbid awe, as you watch the grandaddy of all traffic crashes. Briefly you wonder what kind of deductible McClane must have - probably rivals the national debt of a small country...
But the action doesn't stop there. It gets bigger and definitely meaner, culminating in a firefight at Chernobyl.
In the end John asks his son if they'll suffer any ill-effects from the residual radiation, to which Jr. replies "you'll probably just lose your hair..."
Seriously, I don't know how they can top the scope of the action sequences in this movie. McClane would have to appear swimming in the north Atlantic, dragging the bow of the Titanic behind him...
But, it's fun and entertaining. That's the point of formula films. You know what will happen. You expect the wild ride and the triumphant ending. That's why you watch them. They truly are a great escape. Just enjoy the ride.
I know this film got mediocre reviews when it opened. But so what? It's not a serious film drama. It is what it is - a fun piece of our pop culture. Bruce Willis' John McClane has been a pop culture icon since the first movie years ago. Yippee Ki Yay...
Recently I watched two different movies with an eye to reviewing them here on the blog. But, you know what? I didn't find anything positive I could say about them. One of them was a very popular film that came out in theaters. The other was a much-hyped made for cable drama. I respect all creative efforts and will not tear down anybody's. Creating, whether it's a film, a book, a piece of music, a piece of art, or a theatrical production, is hard work, don't kid yourself. The act itself deserves respect, even if we don't like the results.
Oh, and speaking of cable, is anybody out there a fan of HBO's Game of Thrones? I've watched every episode since it came on the air. Alas, Sunday night I tried to watch a late night showing and fell asleep in the middle. Imagine my surprise when I looked on the Internet Monday and found the great outcry at the decimation of the Stark family...actually since talking to my manicurist today, I'm glad I missed the actual scene. I knew their murderer was up to something. He got that mean look in his eye that he used when he played Filch in the Harry Potter films. I haven't read the books from which the series is taken, except the first one. I just hope nothing happens to Arya or Brandon. Sansa isn't really like the Starks. Geez.
I hope nothing happens to Dany either. Poor girl has had enough trauma in her life! I'm rooting for the dragons, personally...
Until next time...A Good Day to Die Hard is now out on video. Enjoy!