Loud and tedious, A Good Day to Die Hard is a blast of bullets and bombs, digital explosions and death-defying feats of defying death.
Not a decent villain or catchphrase in it, the fifth Die Hard movie is an attempt to CIA-up the New York-cop-takes-on-the-world's-terrorists franchise. It doesn't work.
Director John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) spends an endless opening filled with no-names speaking Russian and laying out an elaborate scheme to nab/kill or release a rich "political prisoner" (Sebastian Koch). Moore gave his cinematographer a Steadicam and a case of Red Bull. The movie is shot with a jittery frame that doesn't mask how dull the action beats are and how really dull the chatty father-son bonding scenes in-between the action beats are.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in Moscow to check up on a son (Jai Courtney of Spartacus) who's in jail. Turns out the estranged son is CIA, and he's on a mission. And Dad, who's "on vacation," is interfering — or saving the day, depending on your point of view. They don't get along.
They crash through an epic Moscow traffic jam — which Moore & Co. shoot and edit into a jumble of crushed cars and feeble wisecracks from the villains.
They get into fights with helicopters. In the middle of the city. Not that local law enforcement notices.
And it's all in pursuit of some mysterious "file," which the prisoner they're trying to slip out of the country has. Or doesn't. Vast arsenals turn up, at their convenience. Unlimited supplies of lead are exchanged with legions of evil minions.
With Red Dawn badly remade and Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger stinking up cinemas in recent weeks, you kind of hoped the last '80s action star to take his shot could conjure up a little of the old magic.
Willis, sad to say, doesn't.
The past two Die Hard films have neutered the franchise and wrecked any hopes that Bruce as McClane might be Bourne again.
'A Good Day to Die Hard'
R for violence and language. 20th Century Fox. 1:37. Fayette Mall, Frankfort, Georgetown, Hamburg, Movie Tavern, Nicholasville, Richmond, Winchester, Woodhill.