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It IS A Good Day to Die Hard

die hard 5

If you go to see A Good Day to Die Hard, the 5th instalment in the Die Hard franchise, don’t expect to see a typical Die Hard movie.  

But firstly, what is a typical Die Hard movie?

When people think, Die Hard, they think of an ordinary guy, trapped in an impossible situation, armed only with his wit and determination not to die.  Sure. 25 years ago when John McClane was trapped in a building alone and up against 30 terrorists.  The only conduit to the outside world he has is via a CB radio to Sgt Al Powell, who’s out on the street.   He saves the day as we all know and the credits roll to Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow.

The sequel, just 2 years later, escalates with McClane once again in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He is mostly solo but has a little help from an airport orderly and a reluctant airport police commander in trying to save his wife’s plane as it heads to Washington DC.  Armed again with his customary one liners, he once again saves the day.

In the third instalment, Die Hard with a Vengeance, McClane is this time in the middle of the action, but not by accident but by invitation from another Gruber.  Other than the opening challenge, set by Simon, McClane is joined by a sidekick in the form of Samuel L Jackson, who assists him in saving New York.

In Live Free or Die Hard or Die Hard 4.0, he has another reluctant sidekick in the form of Justin Long and then in the newest film, A Good Day to Die Hard he is joined by his estranged son, Jack.

See a pattern here?  I’ll help you out.  McClane in each movie since the original and most of the Die Hard 2, hasn’t been solo. The last three films he has had a companion throughout the movie.  He has also become somewhat superhuman, surviving a flooded aqua dock and exploding ship, an attack from an F35 Jet after surfing on the tail of the same jet, and being flung around by a helicopter in the newest film.  Sure he dangled from a fire hose in Die Hard and ejected out of an exploding military cargo plane in the second, but both are plausible and not that far fetched.  However the stunts have been getting bigger and more unbelievable.  Nothing about the sequels equals the same feel as Die Hard and to a lesser extent Die Hard 2.

During the 25 years he’s been a cop, don’t you think that John McClane has also grown and become more skilful and cunning in what he does?  If the original John McClane tried to fight the Russians in A Good Day to Die Hard, he probably would have been eaten up and spat out in the opening gun battle.  But as with anyone, he’s 25 years older, smarter and wiser.

This isn’t James Bond who replace the actors every 5th movie or so.  This is Bruce Willis who coincidentally is getting old too, just like John McClane. Therefore not only is the actor ageing but so is the character.  With ageing comes growth. With growth comes new skills and emotions and new ways of doing things.

I don’t go to each new Die Hard expecting to see the same movie or get the same feel as the original. I go expecting to see a kick ass action movie with plenty of explosions, gun fight, one liners and great villains.  And when it comes to the villains, I never expect to see Hans Gruber again.  He was an extraordinary bad guy, played by Alan Rickman.  If each bad guy wore John Williams suits and spoke so well, then maybe but he really was one of a kind.

So my advice when going and seeing A Good Day to Die Hard is to sit back and enjoy it for what it is.  A whole different movie to the original but with the same John McClane wit and never say die attitude.

I loved it and so has everyone else in my family full of McClanes.

4 out of 5 stars.

Movie Review – Knight and Day

Tom Cruise returns to the big screen as Roy Miller, an ‘is he or isn’t he’ spy gone bad, in possession of a unique battery with infinite power.  Chasing him is both the CIA and the bad guys who want the battery at any cost.  Is Miller the bad guy trying to sell the battery or is he the hero trying to save the world?  Only time will tell.

Roy bumps into June Havens (Cameron Diaz) at the airport and the ensuing plane scene in the first act, sets up this thrill a minute and visually spectacularly movie.

Directed by James Mangold (3,10 to Yuma, Cop Land) the action is fast and plenty and he keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace.  Set throughout America and Europe and with plenty of external locations in some of the world’s most beautiful cities, Knight and Day gives you the typical international spy feel by featuring back drops in Spain and Austria.

While there is plenty of comedy to keep the laughs coming, this really is an action movie with plenty of stunts and gun fights.  Yes, it does push the envelope too much in the action scenes and few of them are believable but I go to the movies to escape reality.

Perennial bad boy, Peter Sarsgaard plays CIA Agent, Fitzy, tasked with tracking down both Miller and the battery.  While not a huge presence on screen, he tackles the role with enthusiasm and skill.

No matter what you think of Cruise outside of the cinema, he is a fine actor and has quite a good comedic style about him, given the right script and as audiences saw in Tropic Thunder, he is a funny guy.

Diaz continues to impress in whatever role she chooses.  With her dazzling blonde hair and huge smile and a skimpy red bikini, she pulls off the role of the clueless, yet savvy June to perfection.

At 109 mins, Knight and Day is perfect in length and a must for all action fans.  It is a fun movie and both Cruise and Diaz do a great job with a fun script.

Knight and Day is out now in Australian cinemas.

Rated M

My rating 6.5/10

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Movie Review – Kick Ass

Whatever presumptions you had about this movie are  wrong.  Way wrong!  I went into this movie without knowing what classification this movie was.  I was expecting a bubble gum, light hearted take on the super hero genre.  Instead, what I got was an assault on the senses and a desire for more.  Expecting an M rating at the worst, the movie is rated MA15+ in Australia (R rating USA).  It is based on the comic book of the same name, and not having read the comic I had no expectations – outside of what I saw in the trailer.

This is the Die Hard of super hero movies.  It is full of action and the language would make a sailor blush as it is full of F bombs and a C bomb.  While this is not uncommon in today’s movie spectrum, these bombs are being delivered with apparent ease from an 11 year old girl.  The pint sized, sword slashing, gun toting, super hero, ‘Hit-Girl’ played by 13 year old actress Chloe Grace Moretz.

She is the scene stealer.


Hit-Girl in Action

The movie starts with high school student, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) pondering why there are no real life super heroes.  Deciding that he could be a super hero, he buys a scuba suit, dons a mask, practices some moves and sets out to save the world.  It doesn’t go to plan with his first attempt ending him up in hospital.  Not letting that stop him, our earnest hero once again steps up and saves the day.  This time, his heroics are caught on video camera and in today’s digital world, he is soon an internet sensation, going viral around the world.

That is pretty much where the heroics pause for Dave, now named Kick Ass.  Enter Hit-Girl and her father, Big Daddy (Nicholas Cage), an earily similar character to Adam Wests, Batman, from the 60’s TV show.  Big Daddy is a disgraced ex-cop, hell bent on bringing down crime boss, Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong).

D’Amico’s teenage son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is keen to join the family ‘business’ but isn’t mature enough according to his father, so pretends to be a super hero, Red Mist – flash car, suit and hairstyle included – to bring down Kick Ass and then Big Daddy and Hit-Girl to gain his father’s respect.

The action scenes featuring Hit-Girl are gruesome.  With plenty of severed limbs and blood spray, think of ‘The Bride’ in ‘Kill Bill’ and add in a little ‘Trinity’ from ‘The Matrix’ and you have yourself one messed up little girl.  She is however mesmeric and with the curled upper lip and the delivery of some awesome one liners, you can’t wait to see who she knocks off next and how she does it.

In summary, Kick Ass is an action movie with a touch of comedy and if you can handle the swearing and the brutality of an 11 year old girl kicking ass in her own style, then this movie is for you.

Kick Ass is in cinemas now.

Length: 120 mins

Rated: MA15+

My Score: 8/10

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