Bam. Pow. Boom. The three-way chase is long (nearly 20 minutes), and it’s certainly loud, with plenty of crunching steel and squealing tires, but thanks to sloppy editing and a lack of urgency in the story (far from being terrified of the villains, we barely know who they are, plus John McC doesn’t even belong here) it’s about as dramatically affecting as a demolition derby. The director, John Moore, is an undistinguished journeyman (his credits include the remake of Flight of the Phoenix, the remake of The Omen and Max Payne), which is a nice way of saying he’s a talentless hack.
The choices of such inexplicable mediocrities as Courtney and Moore to be costar and director in an installment of one of Twentieth Century Fox’s proudest franchises scream “cost-cutting move,” and yet the rest of the movie is if anything even worse than the so-so chase scene. John and Jack spend the movie bitching at each other, tossing out brainless one-liners (Willis repeats the “Yippee ki-yay” line one more time, in a pitiable play for the nostalgia vote) and gradually learning to work together as they shepherd Komarov through a series of attacks. As it turns out, the “file” everyone has been after gets forgotten, and the ultimate goal turns out to be… what it always turns out to be: protecting a stash of enriched uranium.
The climax, set at night in an industrial wasteland that looks like New Jersey’s worst nightmare, is eyeball-scorchingly unattractive, eardrum-puncturingly loud and mindlessly dull, as John and Jack face off against the mob’s sexiest killing machine Irina (Yuliya Snigir), who tries to take everyone out with a helicopter. Mountains of ammo are expended by each side, but as Willis dashes around cracking wise, there’s no sense of him actually outsmarting the villains as in the sanctified original Die Hard 25 years ago. Instead, he just seems lucky and indestructible, ducking under gunfire and effortlessly pulling off feats of physical fitness that don’t look terribly likely for a man Willis’s age. The thrills in this scene and in this movie are, as a result, nonexistent: It all just seems tired and absurd. A Good Day to Die Hard is a good way to die of boredom.
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