Just park your brain at the door and pick it up on the way out. Or, at least, place your critical faculties in neutral. This is a “Die Hard” movie. You get car chases, a new world record in product placement via destroying Mercedes vehicles and a remarkable number of things being blown up and shot at, including the now obligatory helicopter scenes.
You want more? Sorry, there isn’t anything for you here.
People ask me a) Is Bruce Willis still up to the role b) Does the Russian setting add anything c) Is Jai Courtney any good as the son?
a) Bruce Willis is a star with presence. Nobody goes to these movies because he has matinee idol good looks or Prince Valiant hair. They go to see Bruce in vests, shooting, being shot, surviving explosions and basically, being every insurance company nightmare. You like him or you don’t. End of.
b) Establishing scenes are shot in Moscow and there are some cool Moscow accents early on. After that, you are on planet generic Slinky Slav. It’s mostly Hungary, Burbank sound stages and tons of CGI. Yippee ki ay Mother Russia, the poster says. I can’t even remember hearing that line. But I may have been dazzled by the lights from the last explosion.
c) Jai Courtney has the most remarkable arm muscles I have ever seen. Honestly, they deserve their own franchise. Can he act? I have no idea. My eyes were only occasionally tempted from Bruce by Jai’s arms.
Plot? John McClane’s son is in trouble and in Russia. Daddy goes to rescue him. There’s some nuclear risk stuff and a few good jokes about Newark, New Jersey (sorry, friends in Newark but you are a fair target in movies) and a few not so good jokes about being American, being a McClane and being in the CIA.
All 98 minutes passed quickly and the Stratford East Picturehouse audience were entertained, albeit the younger viewers started playing on their phones halfway through, after three minutes without shooting, car chases or explosions.
When Bruce Willis was interviewed on British TV, he mused about and mocked the title and showed off how he makes his baby daughter laugh, by spitting water.
Clearly, apart from payment, Bruce has already lost interest. Me too, although I will watch this movie again and again when it comes on TV. Jokes about Chernobyl and uranium are in incredibly poor taste but, if you want philosophy and intelligent discourse on nuclear weapons, you’ll need to read a book or, at least, find another movie.
Direction here is a little flabby – see those aforementioned slow scenes – and continuity is non-existent. Wounds and tears appear and disappear within the same scene.
But you parked your brain and you don’t mind, right?