When our favourite action hero John McLane (Bruce Willis) keeps saying “I am on vacation,” we believe him. Because this isn’t John McLane in a Die Hard film. This is John McLane in what’s a Walk-in-the-Park film!
Halfway into the film, when McLane asks his kid: “You got a plan?”
“Not really. I kinda thought we would just wing it, you know. Running in, guns blazing! Make it up as we go,” says Jr.
That’s also probably what the makers were thinking while shooting for the latest instalment of the franchise, which also happens to be the weakest Die Hard film. Because, McLanes running in, guns blazing is what happens in one set-piece action sequence after another.
But don’t get me wrong.
A Good Day to Die Hard packs enough car on car action that makes Transformers look like Toy Story, plenty of explosions to blow our minds to bits and endless good old machine gun fire to give you a super hyper adrenaline rush.
Bullets rain, trucks fly, choppers slice through buildings, roofs collapse and walls crumble. Men and matter, metal and motor, and of course, brick and mortar are all severely harmed during the making of this blast of an action entertainer.
While Die Hard movies are usually about the wrong guy at the wrong place at the wrong time, when McLane is least in the mood for action, this one stretches that premise all the way to Russia just because the stakes have to get bigger with every film.
In the original Die Hard, he saves a building. In Die Hard 2, he saves an airport. In Die Hard With a Vengeance, he saves a city. In Live Free or Die Hard, he saves a country. Going by that trend, in A Good Day to Die Hard, obviously he has to save a continent. And it doesn’t get more dangerous than mysterious Russia!
But the big difference this time is that McLane doesn’t even see it as a challenge. Killing bad guys in Russia is his idea of father-son time. Just an excuse to get to know his kid better. Fathers around the world teach their boys to play ball, this is how McLane plays. All the world’s a video game for killing bad guys. Real danger. Real blood. Real bullets.
The problem: This game seems too easy, especially when we have two McLanes. At no point do they seem like they are having a tough time. The stakes are too low. Despite shifting action to sinister Chernobyl and the impending threat of a nuclear explosion, radioactivity is conveniently neutralised with the McLanes having nothing to do with it.
With just one or two more possible instalments left, we can bet John McLane saves the world next and/or the planet after that.
We can only hope he breaks a sweat and works hard for it.
Your vacation is over, McLane. Report back to duty.