A Good Day to Die Hard (*** 1/4)
Where has "every man" John gone?
One big explosion
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD. Y'all know how much of an action flick fan I am. I squealed with glee for most of Expendables 2; I frightened people who didn't know me during a the Super Bowl when the Fast and Furious 6 trailer came on; I enjoy the Die Hard movies immensely. (Yes, even the toned-down Live Free or Die Hard.) This latest film in the franchise, however, left me feeling totally flat.
Gone are the days of John McClane being a regular Joe who, while minding his own business, gets caught up in something beyond his control. I could see the brief attempt to keep with the formula in A Good Day to Die Hard, but that was only within the first 10 minutes of the movie. And John wasn't so much forced into the fray as he stuck his nose into someone else's business.
Bruce Willis was great in the role (as he is in pretty much every role), but his interactions (as John) with his son Jack (played by Jai Courtney) were so awkward and forced—and not in a good way. I understand that the McClane men are the sort of men that shake hands when they mean I love you, but the "lets bond before we go kill dudes" moments didn't work for me at all. The fixing of a broken father-son relationship was one of the movie's main plots, and it could have been done so much better.
It also seems that the writers had a hard time coming up with a proper story and just threw in a gunfight or an explosion when they couldn't get a scene to work. I'm all for explosions, but when I walk out of a movie feeling like it was just one giant mushroom cloud, something's missing. (And yes—I know that the Expendables movies are pretty much one giant explosion, too, but I feel like the plots are at least a little less contrived.) See also: Plot holes.
Even the inclusion of the iconic "yippie-ki-yay motherfu**er" couldn't redeem this one for me.