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Laramie Movie Scope:
A Good Day to Die Hard

Twice the McClanes, twice the explosions

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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February 25, 2013 -- For me, the Die Hard movies have been hit and miss. I thought the first one was great, the next two, not so much. The fourth one, “Live Free or Die Hard,” was the second best of all the Die Hard films. This fifth film, “A Good Day to Die Hard” is a notch below the best two films in the series.

This one provides an extra McClane for even more firepower. One McClane can blow up a lot of stuff. This we know. Two McClanes can blow up twice as much stuff, kill twice as many people, wreck twice as many cars ... you get the idea. In this film, John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Russia to when he finds out his son has been arrested. He goes to the building where his son's trial is to be held, but does not go inside. It is like he knows what is on the next page of the script. All hell breaks lose. Lots of explosions and then his son (Jack McClane, played by Jai Courtney of “Jack Reacher”) is loose and on the run, with John McClane in hot pursuit.

The chase, involving a lot of vehicles, causes an enormous amount of destruction, which one expects in this series of movies. The pursuing giant armored vehicle seems to go out of its way to find cars to smash while pursuing the van being driven by Jack McClane. In a stunt very hard to believe a small vehicle driven by John McClane forces the much larger vehicle off the road.

The reason for all this destruction is that the CIA is trying to rescue a Russian industrialist who has damaging information about a crooked Russian politician who poses a threat to national security. Jack McClane, who works for the CIA, doesn't like his dad's interference in his mission, but John won't go away. He also comes in handy, of course, when it comes to killing lots of bad guys. The plot gets a lot more complicated later on. They end up in Chernobyl with a big stash of weapons grade uranium, where there are a lot more explosions. No nuclear blasts, at least, but this problem turns out to be an even bigger national security threat than the CIA initially thought it was.

Both McClanes argue, they get bloody, beaten up, captured, escape, kill lots of people and blow up lots of stuff. This proves to be a bonding experience, of course. What better way to bring a father and son together than slaughter on a grand scale? If you were wondering what happened to Lucy Genero (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) John's daughter from the fourth film, she has a kind of cameo role in this film, but mostly it is just John and Jack against a whole bunch of bad guys. There is one very attractive woman in the film, Irina (played by Yuliya Snigir, who was born in Russia). Irina is one of the film's main characters.

There is plenty of action in this film, but the characters are a bit sketchy. There is so much backstabbing and doublecrossing that you tend to lose patience with the story. You begin to wonder if it is even worth following. The action is pretty steady in this film, but it doesn't have the interesting characters found in the best of the Die Hard films. This film rates a C+, for Die Hard fans only.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)