As he was getting out of the car at the airport, John McClane's daughter asked him not to cause any trouble when he visited Russia for a vacation.
Bruce Willis might as well have broken the fourth wall and gave a wink to the camera. Because everyone knew trouble is exactly what was going to happen.
The Die Hard legacy has earned the right to insist on itself. The fifth installment, "A Good Day to Die Hard," adds to the canon with a so-so outing that had both predictability and a slight change to the formula.
Don't worry. Over-the-top action is still at the forefront. And Bruce Willis is still as tough as they come. His nickname should be "The Human Terminator." Because no amount of wounds or flames or distance he falls from a building is going to slow him down.
After the movie lays the groundwork for the story and kicks into second gear, it's nearly a non-stop ride of car chases, explosions and destruction. A lot of destruction. It seemed that during a highway chase, a world record for the most destroyed cars in one scene was trying to be set. And the crashes were something straight out of the "Burnout" video game series, where the more destruction you cause, the higher the score. In fact, there were even several useless slow-motion explosions (far too many), just like in the video game. Camera angles on the whole had a couple of cool gimmicks, but an overall distracting feel.
Bringing out the big guns early and often literally meant just that. In an early scene, a huge tank showed up and launched shots to targets on top of a bridge. High ammo-capacity rifles, machine guns and a Gatling gun mounted on a helicopter all made for great spectacle during shootouts in which, of course, the bad guys' aim remains awful.
This installment had a different type of bad guy than the rest of the film series, though. A Russian named Komarov (played by Sebastian Koch) was a prisoner about to receive his death sentence when a concocted plan to free him actually one-ups the prison escape by Joker from "The Dark Knight." Having the protagonist not only known, but followed most of the movie is a contrast to the idea of the evil- mastermind-with-a-secret-base mechanic that was sort of a staple in most of the other Die Hard movies.
Still, there are a couple of twists along the way with Komarov, most of which were easy to see coming, and none of which anyone is made to care about, anyway. But the threat Komarov presented was, in fact, diabolical.
Perhaps the biggest twist came early in the film when Willis (he's more Willis than McClane at this point) realizes that his son Jack is involved. Jack apparently works for the CIA, but because Willis neglected his son for so many years, he doesn't know this, or much of anything else about him. So what's better than one McClane going after a bad guy? Two of them, as the father-and-son duo have a breakthrough in their relationship while they break through enemy barricades along their mission.
Look, Die Hard movies aren't supposed to be taken too seriously. That isn't made more obvious than when the tongue-in-cheek line "It's not 1986 anymore" gets uttered. By Die Hard standards, "A Good Day to Die Hard" falls a little short of the series' glory, but it's not regrettable to watch.