Die Hard Death Knell

The latest offering of the action-packed franchise is an unworthy iteration

Almost a quarter-century after Die Hard premiered, the travesty of John McClane lives on. He’s bruised and balder, wrinkled and wearier. Whatever once seemed charming or thrilling about him has been trimmed away or strangled into formulaic submission. And yet, against any sense or good will, the old man keeps trudging ahead, a parody of the wisecracking cop he once was.

Yippie-ki… yay? Not in a long, long time.

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard

A Good Day to Die Hard picks up the reins from its miserable predecessor, Live Free or Die Hard, which kicked off the “revival” of this franchise six years ago. McClane (Bruce Willis, natch) travels to Russia on “vacation” after learning that his son Jack (Jai Courtney) was arrested for assassinating a corrupt politician’s crony. Papa John lands in Moscow just in time to ruin Jack’s undercover spy operation — it turns out his baby boy is a CIA agent, tasked with extracting a jailed government whistleblower named Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) — which sets off a long, incredible, impossible race to do… something. I don’t know what, or why, but it involves several explosions and many automatic weapons.

It’s not as if there’s no reason behind what happens. There is logic to A Good Day to Die Hard — it’s just stupid and lazy. Director John Moore and screenwriter Skip Woods conjure motivation out of thin air to keep the McClanes on the hunt in Russia, while a late twist manages to both ape Alan Rickman’s tremendous work in the first Die Hard and insult anyone foolish enough to trust these filmmakers. And that’s after everybody treks to Chernobyl, where, apparently, radiation poisoning is no longer a serious concern.

Confused? It doesn’t make much sense to me, either.