‘A Good Day to Die Hard’s’ John McClane has seen better days

By: By Frank Miller Special to The News Messenger
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“A Good Day to Die Hard”

Directed by John Moore                          

Starring: Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney

Rating: One out of five stars

Action heroes from the ’80s have been shuffling their creaking bones across movie theaters over the last year, trying to recapture the glory days when they were lionized for blood-splattering machismo.

After the failure of such films as “The Last Stand” and “The Expendables,” the last glimmer of hope for the AARP supermen has finally been snuffed out by the return of John McClane in “A Good Day to Die Hard.”

McClane’s latest adventure takes him to Russia to see if he can help his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) out of some legal trouble.

However, once he arrives, McClane bungles a CIA mission that Jack was secretly spearheading and is left to mop up the mess with his resentful offspring in tow.

There isn’t much else to say about the plot because the film is strung together by the most threadbare bits of story conceivable. It’s one incoherent action scene after another filled with pithy one-liners and eye-rolling banter.

The problem with this (and the last) “Die Hard” movie is that the filmmakers don’t understand the character of John McClane.

He is not a comic book hero – as he is portrayed here – but rather an everyman who makes the best of bad situations thrust upon him because he’s the only one who can.

Within 30 minutes of “A Good Day to Die Hard” McClane survives not one but two spectacularly horrific car crashes with nary a bloody nose or broken bone.

The character has also been transformed into an antagonistic and ugly American rather than a charming rogue wiseass. He also seems to actively enjoy seeking out opportunities to kill people, which makes him come across as something of a sociopath instead of an anti-hero.

It’s a sad day when McClane’s catchphrase “Yippee ki-yay (you know the rest)” elicits groans instead of cheers. With a film this bad, the only joy comes from knowing that it’s probably a good day to stop making “Die Hard” movies altogether.


Frank Miller is a Sacramento writer.