A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD opens Thurs., Feb. 14, 2013. Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sebastian Koch, Yulia Snigir. Directed by John Moore ("Max Payne", "The Omen"-remake, "Behind Enemy Lines").
"Die Hard Part Five"!!! Holy excitement, Batman. Bruce Willis is back in the role that established him as a larger-than-life action hero. 1988's "Die Hard" was one of the most intense and spectacular action films ever made. As a tough NewYork City cop named John McClane, Willis was intense but likable, diligent but human, fearless with some frailties. He was a working class hero who walked into a nightmare but survived by the instincts he'd honed on the streets. He was a real guy.
Audiences loved the film and fell under Willis' spell. "Die Hard 2" was bigger and better. After shooting three mediocre films, Willis was back, still human, still real, still fearless. His acting skills had improved dramatically and would improve even moreso before he shot "Die Hard With a Vengeance".
This time, during the interim, Willis had portrayed John McClane in "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1", a hilarious spoof of spy/action films. Many critics were unable to extricate their heads from a 'dark place' and have fun watching this film but it's their problem. Willis had also won over a much larger audience with his portrayal of Butch Coolidge in Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction". "With a Vengeance" put him opposite the incredibly talented Samuel L. Jackson who gave an equally strong performance. The two faced their demons together as a reluctant pair of heroes.
Between 1995-2007, Willis had parts in 36 films--some very very good, some not so much. His star quality made it possible to survive the clunkers. "Live Free or Die Hard" was even more spectacular with even bigger stunts and the addition of a snotty daughter to contend with.
Since then, Willis has been more selective and more daring in his choices. But today is Valentine's day and he's once again in a tight spot in the fifth installment of this highly successful franchise. Unlike Schwarzenegger and Stallone, this film will succeed because of the work Willis put into it. He obviously still enjoys playing John McClane. "The Last Stand" and "Bullet to the Head" showed limited promise but this film proves that work, talent and an attention span make it a good day to die hard.