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CINEMA with SARAH O'CONNOR: Day too far for the Die Hard franchise

By Herald Express  |  Posted: February 21, 2013

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A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (12A)

★★

WHY ON earth would you take one of the greatest action movies of all time and water its substance down so thinly that it no longer resembles the original in any form?

Apart from its title character, this Die Hard is unrecognisable from the first. Gone is the wit, the rollercoaster ride, the jaw dropping, edge of your seat action, and the believability factor.

In Die Hard, even though John McClane found himself in some of the most ridiculous situations a leading man will ever have to cope with, somehow you just accepted it and went along with it and enjoyed the ride.

Now, in its fifth instalment, I found myself spending most of the film thinking 'Come on guys, really?'.

Which is such a shame because I absolutely loved the original, liked the sequel, tolerated the third instalment and enjoyed the fourth. This one has proved just a day too far for my patience.

The plot, for what it's worth, sees our one time hero (Bruce Willis) leaving the US and heading off for colder climes in Russia to find his son Jack (Jai Courtney) who is being held in Moscow under suspicion of murder. What Dad isn't aware of is that Jack is actually a secret government agent working for the CIA ('Come on guys, really?') who is trying to arrange the escape of a Russian political prisoner.

What follows is predictable and sadly not very exciting. Masses of explosions, car chases, bad guys and gunfire and Bruce Willis covered in blood, but leading the parade. There is nothing here we haven't seen before, it just feels like there is much more of it and this is one of those films which feels infinitely longer than its 97 minutes.

A 25-year-old franchise needs something new and fresh and innovative to keep it alive and unfortunately, if the idea was to give us that in the form of Jai Courtney, it hasn't worked.

Built like a rock and with a brain to match, he has nothing of interest which captures the imagination. What it really needed was a great script, with some of those fabulous one liners from the original, but with the language tempered for a 12a rating.

Skip Woods' dialogue is tame and dull and not a little uninspiring. And who thought it was a good idea to try to go for the mass market with this one?

Surely it's audience base is the group of people, mostly older adults, who were there when it all kicked off 25 years ago and have faithfully followed ever since. Why would a 12-year-old child want to watch an old guy running round blowing up cars? Kill the essence of the film and you kill off its audience at the same time.

The same goes for the action. Bruce is battered and bloodied, but never looks like he's in any real danger. The fight scenes are non-realistic and at no point is there any tension, nor did I find myself wondering, or caring, what was going to happen next.

Director John Moore knows how to do a good fight scene normally, so I have no idea what he was thinking here.

Watching this movie feels like eating a three course meal which leaves you feeling hungry when your plate is finally empty.

A year in the making, an hour and a half to consume and then its quickly forgotten. Which in this case is probably just as well.

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