A Good Day to Die Hard ** (R) Or, more accurately, a good day to watch one of Bruce Willis’ earlier Die Hard flicks rather than this one. John McClane - the Energizer Bunny of action heroes - learns his son (charisma-impaired Jai Courtney) is facing serious criminal charges in Russia. Even though the two have been estranged for years, John flies over to see what he can do. He stumbles into yet another episode of epic mayhem, as his son and another high-profile defendant are fleeing from the courtroom that’s just been bombed and overrun by thugs toting big guns.
That leads to one of the messiest, noisiest and least coherent chase sequences in living memory through the streets of Moscow. John’s boy isn’t really a crook; he’s an undercover CIA plant who was sent in to rescue the other guy who has information with huge political value. John’s attempts to save his son actually screw up the mission.
But wait. There’s more. A whirlwind of double-crosses and other bits of subterfuge keep them on the run and in pursuit for a whole ‘nother bunch of shootouts, fights and explosions. Lots of explosions. Really big explosions. They even manage to inflict another mess on Chernobyl, which one would think had suffered enough in reality. Nothing makes sense. The wry humor and throwaway lines that worked so well in the earlier films ring hollow. Tossing another generation of McClanes into the franchise is no path to longevity. Perhaps the Die Hard series should just be mercifully allowed to expire on this loud, ludicrous death rattle of a film. (2/14/13)