I actually thought Jai Courtney was Bruce Willis real son, as the one he plays in this movie. They don't really look alike, but it feels like there have been a lot of father and son movies with real father and son duos lately... or maybe I'm mixing them all together...
As with all Die Hard movies, this one was just awesome. It has some of the most amazing car stunts I've seen, with an armored truck running through the concrete rolls on a truck, a car flipping into the roof of a tunnel just as the following car rolls under it, all kinds of flips and wall jumps and cool stuff that seems so realistic I'm thinking most if it actually is. Is it? I wish someone would make a collective 'Behind the Scenes' movie with stunts from all my favorite movies!
Apart from the stunts though, there is also aggravatingly much shaky cam involved. The chase is shaken, not stirred, and I wish they'd provide some more panorama shots of the traffic, more angles that let you follow the action rather than delve headfirst into the chaos, where you are blinded by debris and out-of-focus camera work and don't really get as much out of it. It still amounts to one fantastic car chase3, but it could have been even better.
Apart from that chase, there is the (somewhat comical) relational drama between McLane and his son, which he was probably thinking of breaking out of prison, but who actually turns to be working for the CIA on breaking free another political prisoner. Eventually they end up at Chernobyl, and there's a lot of talk about family along the shooting-up-people and falling through floors and windows and causing quite a bit of mayhem. The filming is good, the sceneries varied (but at times a bit dark and tasteless - the hotel brought an appreciated and rare warmth into the movie for a while) as with stunts, punchlines etc. Yet it somehow feels like a new episode rather a movie in its entirety, full of elements meant to cater to individual audiences (varied ethnicities, the femme fatale, obvious Americanization, the typical villain and family part). It's unique in it's own way of cliche, but compared to the previous four, this movie was - despite stunts - my least favorite so far. But it was good.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle
The fifth one did have some loose ends! There´s the lack of law enforcement during an incredibly long chase. A lack of sense of distance between locations. A lack of clarity over how they managed to cut their ropes. A lack of punchlines as clever as in the prequels. A lack of perfect symbiosis between the two main characters (even with a total stranger in the third movie, the character chemistry was better), lack of empathy on the new main character´s behalf (did John ever drop someone off a rooftop intentionally, before this?), and most of all: a lack of incentive! Going after the bad guys with the intention to kill them all... does that seem right? In the first two movies there was Holly, in the third there were bombs, and in the fourth there was his daughter being kidnapped. Here the incentive disappears halfway through.
Sure, there is that other guy, but... nah, it's not enough. Or at least it's not made to seem like it is. The movie lacks the desperation the previous four movies do, and though the idea doesn't seem that lacking, maybe the script is. A lot of scenes are so dark you can barely see the action too. The special effects are ballistic. The father and daughter thing did pack a punch, but most of the fights are just shooting and getting shot at - very basic choreography, and with very little strategy involved. John's tendency to survive in previous movies has always seemed to be based upon instinct and know-how, not intentional lack of planning. With previous movies there was always little time to plan, but when there was time: there was a plan. The new John just isn't like the old one, and the change in character brings down the quality of the movie as a whole. It's shallow: he went from being a being, to just being a tough guy... and a pretty bad father figure.
One thing that did impress was the car chase. Very nice car chase. I just wish Jack would stop saying
Damn you McClane, or
Damn you John, amidst that action. It sounds forced. And going from McClane, to John, to Dad...? That's one step too many. And the first step so soon in the movie too - it lacks authenticity. Actions would speak better than words there, and Jack telling John to
shut up, and then
just shut up after he's just saved his life leaves a bad taste. Surely he is aware that John just saved his life? Either alternative's untimely. There are plenty of other moments that feel forced, and it's not just because they're not a hugging family, it's just... not the right chemistry, right? Lucy worked better.
The plot could've been decent, but it keeps you out somehow, and the Dancing Guy should've had a bigger part. The crooks don't feel very elaborate, and Jack certainly doesn't seem very professional, and John seems psychotic what with all the wanting to kill people and uncalled-for outbursts of violence. Sometimes it works, like when he punches the Russian driver, but sometimes it just feels wrong. He's a warrior of justice after all.
The plot has some nice twists, but... nah. Take me back to the good old days of the original trilogy! Or keep going like the fourth, that was new but still OK. This... it feels like the more times I watch it, the more I'll dislike it.
rated 3/5: not bad