Brian Henry Martin at the movies

From Dundalk To Die Hard

Published Friday, 15 February 2013
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Can you believe it is 25 years since no-nonsense New York Cop John McClane first hit our cinema screens? Now Bruce Willis is back for a fifth time in his most iconic role, complete with wisecracks and white cotton vest.

At the helm of this ever popular franchise, ensuring that we all die even harder, is Dundalk director John Moore.

Moore cut his teeth in short films before making it big in the world of advertising. Hollywood soon came knocking, and in the last ten years he has delivered box office hits Behind Enemy Lines, Flight Of The Phoenix and Max Payne. Now, he faces his biggest challenge yet trying to breathe new life into the latest instalment of the Die Hard franchise.

A Good Day To Die Hard leaves New York behind and decides to throw the mother Russian kitchen sink at the explosive action. John McClane is given a Manhattan transfer to the Wild East; first to the mean streets of Moscow and then to a climactic meltdown in Chernobyl.

This is Die Hard and Son, as McClane senior is reunited with McClane junior (played by Aussie beefcake Jai Courtney), who turns out to be not a bad guy but a CIA super spy. "The 007 of Plain View New Jersey. Your mother will be pleased" quips McClane senior "We thought you were dealing drugs."

"Dad" pleads daughter Lucy McClane leaving her father at the airport "Try not to make a bigger mess of things."

Fat chance. Within minutes of McClane landing in the Russian capital a massive bomb has devastated the court house and maniacal terrorists are tearing up the town. Let the fun begin.

One of the essential ingredients of the original Die Hard was Alan Rickman's wonderfully wicked villain Hans Gruber. Attempting to follow suit here but failing miserably is master criminal Alik (played by Radivoje Bukvic). "You know what I hate about Americans?" he tells the McClanes "Everything. Especially cowboys."

He then spends the rest of this supposedly menacing scene as a bad ass Bugs Bunny inexplicably munching a raw carrot! "Eh...What's up, doc?".

"You guys are so arrogant" snarls the hopping mad Alik "It's not 1986, you know." Unfortunately Die Hard 5 does feel like it was written in 1986 and Bruce Willis in Russia looks less like a fish out of water and more like a bored tortoise out of his shell.

Screenwriter Skip Woods also penned the big screen version of The A-Team, and there is a "I love it when a plan comes together" feel about this shaky sequel. Especially when McClane miraculously danders out of several horrific crashes with barely a scratch.

But what Director John Moore does best is rip up the screen with a terrifically destructive car chase through Moscow. Hells bells, I don't think I've ever seen a more high octane stock-car smash up.

Many critics have already determined that this Die Hard is a bad day at the cinema.

For me, like so many modern action films, if you leave your brain at the door, you may leave Russia with love.

A Good To Die Hard (Cert 12a) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.


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