A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (M) (98 min)
Directed by John Moore. Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney.
Along with nearly every other mope in the Western world, I've a lot of affection for the original Die Hard.
In fact, even the first sequel was a pretty likeable film, in a hugely violent and cynical kind of way.
And 2007's Live Free or Die Hard was a bit of fun if you left your brain in neutral and maybe smuggled in a hip flask.
The secret to this franchise has always been its essential good humour.
Bruce Willis's John McClane is one part Rambo, one part Archie Bunker; a loveable borderline drunk with a moral code set in stone and an unlikely knock out punch.
Take him about as seriously as a Popeye cartoon, and there's nothing to be offended by, and plenty to enjoy.
Well, until now anyway.
A Good Day etc is set in Russia. McClane's son Jack is all grown up and working undercover for the CIA. He gets in it up to his neck, and Dad unwittingly flies in to help out. Between them they shoot a few score baddies, and then go home.
The film is basically just a collection of set pieces and stunts. Some are effective, others are too obviously digital creations, and fail to have any impact.
But the shame here is what A Good Day does to McClane's character.
Stripped of any charm, irony, or cleverness, McClane has become no more than one of the thugs he once fought.
The one-liners are still there, as is the obligatory father-son reconciliation, but this Die Hard is only going through the motions. Willis seems dis-interested, and no one else registers as a character at all. The franchise ends here.
- © Fairfax NZ News