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A Good Day to Stay Home - A review of "A Good Day to Die Hard"

Updated on February 16, 2013
2 stars for A Good Day to Die Hard
Bruce Willis stars as John McClane in the latest installment in the Die Hard franchise
Bruce Willis stars as John McClane in the latest installment in the Die Hard franchise

Summary: The charms of the original movie have been completely overshadowed by an overabundance of testosterone coupled with a substantial lack of plot. Sorry, you can only listen to the loud explosions for so long.

Ah, there are times that I absolutely love sequels. They can bring back the fond memories that you had when you first experienced a character and their eccentricities on the screen. You get to rekindle that friendship that you have with an old friend and can usually be comforted by the idea that you know exactly what to expect from the character.

Alas, this is not the case with the latest Die Hard installment. Yes, John McClane is back in all his unforgiving glory, taking out his inherent frustrations on bad guy after bad guy. Too bad this installment didn’t come with a plot.

Bruce Willis is still in fine form, even at his age and you can still buy him as a rough and tumble action star. But in order for the story to be good, you have to feel compelled to like the hero, even if you have seen him on the screen four times in the past.

Here, though, the writers make no effort to make McClane an even remotely likeable character on many levels. Even his son, Jack, hates his guts.

It’s in his efforts to find his son in Russia that we rejoin the senior McClane in his adventure. Jack has evidently gotten himself in a bit of trouble, and John thinks that he’s going to get to play cowboy and save the day.

Little does he know that he is stumbling head first into a black ops operation that centers on Jack’s efforts to rescue a Soviet dissident. And of course John will screw things up and then try like heck to put things right, much to the chagrin of his also less-than-likable son, played by Jai Courtney, who may one day be a household name, but not with the help of this movie.

What made the original movie so compelling and honest was the relationships between all of the characters. There was honest and palpable terror and the belief that even the good guys might not make it out alive. And the relationships among the bad guys were even multifaceted. That strength carried over to the second movie and even, to a minor extent, the third. The last two installments, though, lack even a hint of emotional connection.

If the right script writer and the right director got involved, we could see the John McClane that we’ve come to know and love on the screen again. But in the interim, we’re stuck with this pale comparison who’s a convincing action hero, but a shell of character. And that’s just not worth dying hard over.

I give A Good Day to Die Hard 2 out of 5 stars.

Which Die Hard installment is your favorite?

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