Yeah, Happy Valentines Day, Mother Russia.
By ROGER MOORE
But its no Good Day to Die Hard.
Loud and tedious, Bruce Willis Die Hard 5 is a shaky-cam/Sensuround blast of bullets and bombs, digital explosions and death-defying feats.
Not a decent villain or catchphrase in it, its an attempt to CIA-up the New York cop takes-on-the-worlds-terrorists franchise. And it doesnt work.
Director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) spends an endless opening filled with no-names speaking Russian and laying out an elaborate scheme to kill or release a rich political prisoner (Sebastian Koch). Moore gave his cinematographer a Steadicam and a case of Red Bull and shot the whole thing with a jittery frame that doesnt mask how dull the action beats are, and how really dull the chatty father-son bonding scenes are in between.
John McClane (Willis) is in Moscow to check up on an estranged son (Jai Courtney of Spartacus) whos in jail. Turns out the son is CIA, and hes on a mission. And Dad, whos on vacation, is interfering. Or saving the day, depending on your point of view.
The kid calls the old man by his first name.
John? Whatever happened to Dad?
Yeah, whatever happened to him?
They dont get along.
Need a hug?
Were not really a hugging family.
They crash through an epic Moscow traffic jam which Moore & Co. shoot and edit into a jumble of crushed cars and feeble wisecracks from the villains Boy, dis guy iz really gettink on my nerves.
They get into fights with helicopters. In the middle of the city. Not that local law enforcement notices.
And its all in pursuit of some mysterious file, which the prisoner theyre trying to slip out of the country has. Or doesnt.
Vast arsenals turn up, at their convenience. Unlimited supplies of lead are exchanged with legions of evil minions.
Its not 1986, you know.
Which has kind of been a watchword these past couple of months. With Red Dawn remade, badly, and Stallone and Schwarzenegger stinking up cinemas in the weeks leading up to this, you kind of hoped the last 80s action star to take his shot could conjure up a little of the old magic.
Willis, sad to say, doesnt.
For 25 years, its generally been A Good Day to Die Hard. But these last two films have neutered the franchise and wrecked any hopes that Willis as McClane might be Bourne again. The guy can still take a licking still pull those shards of glass out after every death- and physics-defying stunt. But the character is weary, and the Im on vacation line is played.
McClane needs to trot out Im retired from here on out.