A Good Day to Die Hard
starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Yuliya Snigir
written by Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp
directed by John Moore
I don’t see many movies in the cinema, but this is one that I did. I went with a British friend on Friday, March 1, 2013 to the Milano Cinema in Shinjuku’s kabukicho neighborhood in central Tokyo. I like the Milano because even though it can seat many hundreds of people, whenever I go there there are only a dozen or so customers in the seats. I wonder how it stays in business? Kabukicho used to have half a dozen cinemas clustered together around one central square, but today the Milano is the last one standing, so maybe it won’t be in business much longer. As it turned out, the film was such crap I was sorry that I saw it. There were other films playing in other Shinjuku cinemas that I would have liked to see: Les Miserable (with Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, Hugh Jackman, et al), and Reacher (with Tom Cruise). But no, I had to go see another Die Hard.
This is the fifth installment of the Die Hard franchise.
1. Die Hard 1988 directed by John McTiernan
2. Die Hard 2 “Die Harder” 1990 directed by Renny Harlin
3. Die Hard With a Vengeance 1995 directed by John McTiernan
4. Live Free or Die Hard “Die Hard 4.0” 2007 directed by Len Wiseman
5. A Good Day to Die Hard 2013 directed by John Moore
Throughout all the movies one consistent theme has been the guff John MacLane has taken for being a bad husband and an absentee father. His marriage was already broken at the opening of Die Hard in 1988 when John arrived in Los Angeles at Christmas time to spend time with his estranged wife Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia) who had taken a job there in the Nakatomi Tower skyscraper.
I’m sick of all the crap MacLane has had to take. All along he has been in the right and his critics have been wrong. It was his wife, not him, who broke the family by putting her career first. The Nakatomi Corporation was a career move too good to ignore. John travelled cross country to try to save it, but Holly refused to reconcile - even as late as the third movie when John telephoned from a pay phone in Quebec, where he had chased Jeremy Irons. It continued in Die Hard 4.0 and again in A Good Day to Die Hard. Policemen’s marriages and family lives are always under strain because they are so often called away on duty. But everyone ignores the fact that it was Holly, not John who broke up the family. Regarding terrorists and criminal masterminds John has been consistently correct in identifying the bad guys, eliminating them, and solving the cases. Sure there has been a lot of destruction along the way. But that was never John MacLane’s fault. As he complains in Die Hard 4.0, while there is great admiration for heroism there is little reward in it. John’s reward is children who hate him - unfairly, I’m certain. John MacLane does what he does not so much because he feels the hero but because he feels the pull of public duty in situations when there is no one else to act.
The wife Holly Gennaro is to blame, so let’s crucify the dumb bitch.
Sadly, though, A Good Day to Die Hard was a disappointing movie. John MacLane travels to Russia to be with his son who has been arrested there and is coming up for trial. Naturally MacLane gets involved with Russian gangsters and leaves a trail of destruction everywhere. The best moment in the film happens in the taxi cab from the airport to downtown. The singing cab driver (Pasha D. Lychnikoff) is the best character in the whole damned film.
Kabukicho is called the largest red light district in Asia: sex shops, massage parlors, love hotels, hostess clubs, bars, pachinko gambling clubs, peep shows, live sex shows, as well as lots of ‘legitimate’ businesses like convenience stores and restaurants. These are not the sorts of things I grew up with in Guelph, Ontario. But I go there for the movies, nothing else. Honest. It’s interesting that when the movie was over my friend and I - two middle aged foreign guys with money - thought of nothing else but going home to our (Japanese) wives. Hmm.