MRR Review: "A Good Day to Die Hard"


Movie Review: "A Good Day to Die Hard" 

Rating: R (for violence and language)

Length: 97 minutes 

Release Date: Feb. 14, 2013

Directed by: John Moore

Genre: Action/Crime/Thriller


"A Good Day to Die Hard" is the fifth movie in this series where the protagonist John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Russia to help his son Jack McClane (Jai Courtney), who has been arrested on charges of devising an assassination plot. What begins as an aged, battle-weary veteran's attempt to help his estranged criminal son turns into an adrenaline-pumping, death-defying chase across Russia right into Chernobyl in Ukraine where the father-son duo defeats a bunch of bad guys trying to lay their hands on weapon-grade uranium worth billions of dollars. 


John lands in Russia slightly upset about his relationship with his son, whom he suspects to be a drug dealer. He witnesses a courtroom explosion and finds his son escaping with Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch), a dissident and a government whistleblower. The concerned father approaches his son, demanding him to give up his errant ways, only to discover that Jack McClane, a CIA operative, is on a mission to protect Komarov and help him expose Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), a high-ranking corrupt member of the Russian oligarchy. 


The dissident is in possession of a file that contains incriminating information about Viktor and is being protected by the CIA, which wants the ammunition to tackle the corrupt Russian. John's intervention leads to a charged confrontation between the ex-cop and spy. The latter goes to the extent of drawing a gun on his father to protect his mission. 


This is where the action, a bit delayed but well worth the wait, hits top speed. Chagarin's goons led by Alik (Radivoje Bukvić) target the group, forcing the trio to wend their way to a safe house through the busy streets of Moscow. After a fast-paced chase sequences with lots of gunfire, tank shells, smashed cars, and witty dialogues, the trio finally reach their destination without being worse for the wear. The father and son continue to trade barbs before being attacked again by Chagarin's goons. Komarov's daughter Irina (Yuliya Snigir) joins the beleaguered group, and they make way to a hotel room that contains the key to the vault where the incriminating file is hidden.  


Hot and sassy Irina sizzles on screen and, apart from heating up the movie's glam quotient, she plays a very pivotal role in a twist, which transforms the movie from being a collection of mindless save-your-lives chase sequences to action-packed movie where the protagonists end up saving the world from nuclear terrorism. 


John's sixth sense for danger causes him to dislike and suspect Irina. He is proved right when Irina betrays her father to Chagarin for a few million dollars. Komarov is taken away as a hostage, while Jack and John end up being immobilized and forced to wait for their death. 


Komarov's exit shifts the spotlight firmly on the McClanes as they escape a helicopter attack, perform a few stunning and simply unbelievable stunts, and head for Chernobyl in a car stuffed with lots and lots of guns. Reaching there, they are shocked to find that the vault contains weapon-grade uranium and realize that Komarov's arrest was a ruse to eliminate Chagarin and recover the uranium.   


John and Jack, in true "Die Hard" style, refuse to give up despite the overwhelming odds and manage to arrest Komarov. Irina targets the duo with a helicopter gunship, setting the stage for John to bring it down by, believe it or not, simply driving a car out of the gunship when delivering his classic Yippee ki-yay.... quote. 


The movie's action sequences do justice to the reputation that the "Die Hard" series has developed, and director John Moore's decision to smash expensive vehicles beyond recognition ensures that the movie's chase sequences is a notch better than similar sequences seen in other movies. The director destroyed 132 cars and damaged another 518 cars. The producers spent more than $11 million just for junking cars like a Lamborghini, a Mercedes Zetros Unimog heavy truck, several Mercedes G-Class wagons, and a couple of BMWs as well. 


Performance wise, Bruce is perfect as a distressed father who is disappointed with his son for ending up as a criminal. His lack of respect for his son turns into begrudging respect by the end of the movie. Jai Courtney is efficient as the estranged son who realizes at the end that he is just like his father after all. The movie ends with the father, son, and daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in a cameo, walking off together as a happy family. 


Rating: 3.5 out of 5