Bruce Willis’ character, John McClane, in the first few Die Hard movies was charming, ingenious, funny, and heroic. However, in this latest franchise installment, Willis focuses more on trying to hand the franchise off to Jai Courtney who plays John’s son John, although he goes by Jack until they reconcile their differences by shooting all the bad guys and blowing lots of stuff up – Your typical heroic father/son bonding experience.
If you go to the movie to see a lot of action, this film is just for you. However, if you go to see the famous John McClane stumble upon something fishy, explore it, uncover a sinister plot that requires him to get help from locals that he befriends, and some how single handedly takes down the uber bad guy, while saving America, it sadly doesn’t quiet play out like the other successful Die Hard films. But again, if you’re going for the action, the film won’t disappoint.
The original McClane seemed to be developed by Willis from his hit TV series character in Moonlighting, but with a cynical edge and element of brilliant gut reflexes when things hit the fan. The writer in this latest release some how lost track of the things that made McClane unique to watch, instead he created a character set in his ways and stodgy.
This is where you have to suspend disbelief. Picture a stodgy guy in his 50s jumping through windows and falling numerous stories, breaking through roofs, scaffolding, and glass ceilings, then landing hard on the floor, followed by getting up and realizing his young muscular son couldn’t hack the fall and has a piece of steel sticking out of his gut. And I didn’t even mention the ride through a plastic debris chute, while being shot apart by military helicopter machine guns.
The bottom line is that the film is a great action ride for anyone in the mood, while being a huge disappointment for McClane fans. It was almost as if the writer, in attempting to stay true to the franchise, picked a good 80s (When Die Hard first released) story and modernized it, but forgot the importance of character development.
Of course, it might not be the writer’s fault. It might be, although I doubt it, that Willis is just tired of the character and gives a detached or disinterested performance of the great McClane character because he’d prefer to play a more contemporary character like Frank Moses from Red – Especially since he owns that franchise and its sequel. Red 2: The Best Never Rest is due out August 2, 2013 staring a great cast including Bruce Willis, Anthony Hopkins and Catherine-Zeta Jones to name a few.