July 11, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard is the story of an immortal CIA agent (Jai Courtney) who murders Russians for highly top secret CIA reasons that I’m sure make sense to someone somewhere. He has to protect this one Russian guy from this other Russian guy, and in order to do that he has to murder yet another Russian guy so that he can be in the courthouse alongside the one Russian guy when the other Russian guy launches over 9000 more Russian guys and a badass Russian gal to assassinate him. (In the 21st century, you've got to cast a spindly white woman to kick people for gender equality!) Courtney helps the one Russian guy, whose safety is apparently vital (though the movie neglects to tell us why until approximately four hours in), to escape the courthouse, but then a confused old man (Bruce Willis) wanders into the movie and cocks up the CIA’s attempt to extract them. It turns out the doddering old codger is Courtney’s father, who came to see him one last time before he was to be executed for killing that other Russian guy in order to get into the courthouse to protect the one Russian guy, so it’s a good thing the one other Russian guy decided to launch his assassination attempt before Courtney went to the gas chamber for murder. Anywho, Courtney is forced to chaperone his senile father all over Russia even as he’s racing to save the Russian guy with a beard from the Russian guy without a beard. Many explosions and shootings ensue.

This movie is damn cheap. I don’t know who cast the film, but she must’ve had no budget to work with. Apart from Bruce Willis as the senile father, I’ve never heard of a soul in this movie except for Cole Hauser, and that’s only because he has a titanically stupid name. Also, one can’t help but suspect the movie is set in Russia in order make cheap-to-film-in Eastern Europe look more authentic.

Under-written and over-directed, there isn’t much to say about Die Hard Another Day. Because the main character and his father are immortal (leaving aside for the moment that immortals can’t have children), there isn’t much suspense. How many movies have not one but two scenes of the hero running through a building while being shot at by a helicopter gunship? (Different buildings, different helicopters, same hero.) The second pilot gets so frustrated at being unable to kill or even slightly injure her target that she crashes the helicopter into the building, destroying the helicopter in a fiery explosion and collapsing the building. If you just leaped off your couch and pointed at the screen shouting, “Ah ha, but there’s a scene of him running and jumping out of the building in slow motion just ahead of the fireball!”, then you need to watch fewer shitty action movies, and also relax and sit back down. It’s a bit of a letdown that there’s no evil immortal at the end to challenge our heroes, because it's no fun watching mere mortals—who apparently haven’t heard that it’s only over for immortals when their heads come away from their necks—take on two immortals who aren’t even in the middle of fighting each other for the Prize. It’s like watching an in-his-prime Mike Tyson fight, well, anybody.

Apparently Russia is more of a lawless wasteland of failed dreams than even I thought, since law enforcement never once makes an appearance in this picture, apart from CIA sp00k Courtney and New York City cop Willis. The only law in Russia is Imperial law, baby! Actually there isn’t even Imperial law, as countless people are maimed and killed as collateral damage throughout the extended car chase, and Courtney straight up murders the helpless, unarmed villain at the end because he makes a crack about Courtney’s old man. I think even the Empire frowns on wanton destruction and cold-blooded murder by its law enforcement, at least on so grand and public a scale.

The comic relief is painful, the worst example being that the doddering old man keeps saying he’s on vacation, only he’s so senile he doesn’t realize he’s not on vacation because he came to Russia to see Courtney before his trial. The action, on the other hand, is hilarious, with cars crashing through concrete and the old codger dodging an RPG with the cunning use of his commandeered vehicle’s handbrake. The goofy action was about all that kept me awake, what with a confusing, uninvolving plot and characters that lack even the first dimension. And not even once does somebody shout “There can be only one!” and chop off a guy’s head. At least there’s a plot twist that even your average paramecium would roll its eyes at. Well, would rapidly undulate any number of its cilia at in a derisory manner.

You know, this review’s just going to have to come in under length. It’s not because I’m lazy (though I certainly am). There’s just nothing more to say about this movie. It’s not any good, but it’s nowhere near bad enough to get worked up about. In fact, this was the second of the three movies I saw on the flight, and I forgot what it was when I sat down to write these reviews. I'm so not joking. I Googled the airline's inflight entertainment since I couldn't remember the second movie I saw. When that didn't work, I had to look up the list of 2013 movies on Wikipedia and read down the list until I got to this title, and then I remembered, “Oh yeah, it was that new Die Hard movie.”

Wait...this is a Die Hard movie? Well, all I can say is that this movie needed more William Sadler doing naked tai chi and Samuel L. Jackson shouting racial epithets. Without that, it’s just another shitty action movie, and all its moments will be lost in time, like...tears in rain....

1 comment:

  1. I dislike strongly bruce willis. He is FAR too old for action films any more, though this one sounds like there wasn't much real action. They should have paid willis on the scale that the film was made, then maybe we wouldn't have to see him in any more films.