Reel Critics: New 'Die Hard' is familiar, silly

"A Good Day To Die Hard" is the fifth installment of this loud and obnoxious movie franchise.

This one takes place mostly in Russia, with Bruce Willis reprising his long-running role as a supercharged cop. In this film, he is on vacation to visit his CIA-operative son, credibly played by buffed Aussie Jai Courtney.

As usual, the plot is largely irrelevant. It serves mainly as weak connective tissue for the relentless action sequences and state-of-the-art special effects. The stuntmen in the endless shoot-outs, explosions, chase scenes and cliffhangers are the real stars of the show. The main function of our heroes is to crack jokes while killing people and surviving ridiculous situations of impossible danger.

The formula is all too familiar, overblown and overrated. The heavy action is too silly to take seriously or create any real tension. The true die hards may be the fans who keep showing up to see the same head-banging movie made over and over again in different locations around the world.


Film is 'Safe' but sorry

Who wouldn't want to be in love in a Nicholas Sparks novel? 

Winsome and sun-kissed, your true love would be a sweet guy who looks great with his shirt off, especially soaking wet.  Life in your sleepy, picture-perfect town would be an endless array of sunsets accompanied by folksy guitar music.

"Safe Haven" is another in this endless stream of romantic fluff, with a tagline "you know it when you find it."  What makes this movie so safe is that we have seen it before — in "The Notebook," "Message in a Bottle" and "Sleeping with the Enemy."

There's a girl (Julianne Hough) on the run from something bad.  When she gets to a quaint seaside town, it feels like a safe haven.  No, really! Is it because of the kindly widower with adorable children (Josh Duhamel), or maybe that Ethiopian blend coffee he sells her?

The two spark and have lots of cute non-dates, and it's chick-flick heaven.

Except there's a bad guy, furious that his girl ran away from him and obsessed with finding her. We know this is a bad guy because he sweats. Profusely. All the time. The widower doesn't sweat, ever.

Five minutes into "Safe Haven," I knew exactly how this movie was going to play out, except for the absurd twist thrown in at the last minute.

I'd rename this movie "Schmaltz."  Because you know it when you find it.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator. SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa and is an executive assistant for a company in Irvine.

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