'A Good Day to Die Hard' review: Yippee-ki-whatever

 *1/2 (out of four)

Well before John McClane (Bruce Willis) calls his CIA operative son Jack (Jai Courtney) "007 of Plainfield, New Jersey," "A Good Day to Die Hard" already feels more like a Bond movie ("Die-monds Are Forever"?) than what it is, "Die Hard 5."

Or is it "Terminator" or "Taken" or ...? Following the example set by the moronic "Live Free or Die Hard"--which only got worse by casting Justin Long as the personification of a yippy dog--"A Good Day to Die Hard" now depicts formerly relatable cop McClane as an indestructible force. He survives the unsurvivable and smells trouble before there's any in the air. He's never surprised and never shaken, even when he flies to Moscow to rescue his son and lands in the middle of a shootout/car chase. Eh, just another day for the man who always saves it. 

This increasingly smug hero, repeatedly complaining that he's on vacation even though he isn't, also yells at a Russian for speaking Russian and comically mispronounces Russian words. "A Good Day" isn't as consistently offensive as its more exciting predecessor (which acted as if this franchise really had something to say about the vulnerabilities in national security in that our only reliable line of defense is McClane), other than a late-movie detour that replicates the poor taste of one of last year's worst horror films. I won't spoil it for you, and trying to guess provides more fun than the new "Die Hard" does.

If you care, the plot's generic espionage nonsense involves an elusive file and a political prisoner (Sebastian Koch). I think one of the minor villains is played by Zangief from "Street Fighter." Despite hackneyed stuff in which we wait for Jack to stop calling his dad "John," Courtney's solid in the sort of role Sam Worthington would make bland. Doesn't matter. Director John Moore ("Max Payne") and writer Skip Woods ("X-Men Origins: Wolverine") have no idea how to keep the franchise going, so they make a lot of anonymous noise, all for naught.

At one point, McClane laments the destruction of his phone. In the last "Die Hard," he voluntarily smashed his phone on the street. Continuity has become a thing of the past for the franchise, which would help itself by not continuing anymore.

Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U

mpais@tribune.com

 

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