Father and son make A Good Day to Die Hard

With all the usual John McClane thrills and spills, this time we’re in Russia where it’s A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.

Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch in A Good Day to Die Hard

Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, and Sebastian Koch

As hard as he might try to just do his own thing, stuff seems to happen to detective John McClane. And thank goodness it does, because since 1988 we’ve had the pleasure of watching an absolutely awesome array of action movies courtesy of the Die Hard series.

The new film in the collection, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD, hasn’t received great reviews but hey, I’ve never been one to go with the flow – I enjoyed it enormously. It’s got all the elements we’ve come to adore from these movies that give John McClane another bad day: stupendous action sequences, memorable lines, an excellent supporting cast and a rocky family dynamic that underpins events.

So after exploring John’s up-and-down relationship with wife Holly (an always great Bonnie Bedelia) in the first three movies and then seeing him reconnect to winning effect with estranged daughter Lucy (the superb Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in Die Hard 4.0, we now watch him go all the way to Moscow to see if he can make up for all the years he hasn’t been part of his son Jack’s life.

“Yippee-kai-aye mother Russia.”

Jai Courtney as John Jr. in A Good Day to Die Hard

Jai Courtney as John Jr.

And that’s where the fun begins because Jack (fantastically played by Jai Courtney fresh from his star turn as a baddie in Jack Reacher) is not quite the son John thought he’d find – according to a report he’d read back in New York, Jack had been arrested for a shooting in a nightclub and his future looked set to include a rather long stay in a Moscow prison. But the arrest is really all part of a plan that Jack thinks he got a handle on – because he’s really a CIA agent undercover of course! – and John doesn’t have a clue about.

That plan involves exiled Russian politician Komarov (the terrific Sebastian Koch), his daughter Irina (a feisty Yuliya Snigir) and all manner of explosive hi-jinks.  So of course when the plan goes awry, father John has to step in and save both his son and the world from some rather dastardly nuclear terrorists.

This may not be the best of the five films in John McClane’s adventures (I’m with Bruce Willis where he said in a recent interview that the first one is his favourite) mostly because the 98 minutes running time doesn’t really allow as much exploration of the villains and their motives as we’ve had previously and that’s a shame, as there are some good moments involving Radivoye Bukvic’s tap-dancing bad guy.

But one thing the movie does have is one of the most extraordinary chase sequences you’ve ever seen. It made me go wow and all kudos to director John Moore for orchestrating it so superbly. So that and the excellent camaraderie between Bruce Willis’ John and Jai Courtney’s Jack make up the best elements of the film.

What it does do, is nicely set up the hint at a barn-storming finish to the series for film number 6, with dad John, son Jack, and daughter Lucy teaming up in what would certainly be an unmissable treat. Game on McClane!