Lately, classic action movies seem to be taking a hit with audiences. First, Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest film The Last Stand failed to stand on its own two feet, then Sylvester Stallone's Bullet to the Head shot itself in the foot, causing many to believe any action film that's not a comic book movie would be a failure.
Thankfully, Bruce Willis is back in the saddle as John McClane, and A Good Day to Die Hard proves that action is not dead. After 25 years, Die Hard is still entertaining as ever, complete with explosions, f-bombs, and the America's favorite everyman saving the day.
When he gets wind that his son John Jr (Jai Courtney) is in trouble with the law in Moscow, possibly facing life imprisonment (or worse), New York Police Detective John McClane takes a much-deserved vacation to try to bring him back stateside. Upon arrival, McClane discovers that his son works for the CIA, trying to protect political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) from a corrupt government official named Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov), and now McClane is forced to tag along to ensure his son survives the mission, and to unwittingly save the day.
Director John Moore (Max Payne) and popular action writer Skip Woods (2010's The A-Team, Swordfish) bring the classic franchise back for an unprecedented fifth installment, which is unheard of with any franchise these days. Woods brings a script worthy of the Die Hard name, with all the McClane-isms fans love and an amazing father-son dynamic that Willis and Courtney bring with a stunning chemistry, while Moore's amazing direction choreographs a dance of destruction, complete with eye-popping stunt work, lots of gunplay, and a car chase scene that rivals any installment of the Bourne franchise.
What always made the Die Hard franchise stand out from other action films is not just the snappy, smart dialogue, but the heart that goes into it, and A Good Day to Die Hard is no exception. Bruce Willis proves that he still has it after 25 years, bringing his spot-on comedic delivery to the role, but also adding vulnerability as well -- a first for McClane -- which brings a whole new dimension to the franchise, proving that you truly can teach an old dog new tricks.
FINAL VERDICT: A Good Day to Die Hard proves that, in an age of waning action films, can remain fresh. Bruce Willis, even after two and a half decades, is still John McClane, and the fifth installment is just as fun to watch as any of the other installments. Although it may not be Shakespeare, it's still a worthy action film, proving that Willis, unlike Stallone or Schwarzenegger, can stand on his own outside the The Expendables movies.