Nicolas Cage acts his socks off in this thinly plotted thriller, which is set in the same moral universe as the Taken movies, where mass murder is excusable if your daughter's been kidnapped. Despite a low-budget aesthetic, director Paco Cabezas invests each scene with straight-faced emotion, never acknowledging the general implausibility and irresponsibility of the story itself. But with Cage's rampant performance and Cabezas' visual style, the film almost works as melodramatic escapism.
Cage plays slick businessman Paul, who has finally put his criminal past behind him. But when his over-protected 16-year-old daughter (Aubrey Peeples) is kidnapped, he digs out his old leather jacket and turns to his boyhood partners in crime (Max Ryan and Michael McGrady) for help. While Paul's new young wife (Rachel Nichols) urges him to sort out this mess, his old police detective pal (Danny Glover) warns Paul against taking the law into his own hands. But he can't help it. Especially when it becomes clear that the Russian mobster (Pasha D. Lynchikoff) he clashed with nearly 20 years earlier might be involved in an attempt to get revenge.
While the plot itself doesn't have any real surprises, it at least tries to twist and turn its way through the story. And along the way, Paul's experience gets increasingly emotional, giving Cage the chance to indulge in everything from slow-burn frustration to tear-stained grief to full-on mad-dog violence. Rage indeed! Cage explodes with fury so many times that he seems in danger of transforming into the Hulk at any moment. And the actors around him wisely back up and let him have the stage to himself. Otherwise, there isn't much to the film, with a series of average car chases and fist-fights that are brutal but forgettable.
Continue reading: Rage Review
There really is no point in looking for logic in a fifth Die Hard movie; these films have become a parody of themselves, wallowing in their inane action set pieces and sassy one-liners without much concern for plot or coherence. And this is no exception. There may be the bare bones of a decent narrative here, as our hero John McClane gets in the middle of a messy spy situation. But the unsubtle filmmaking blunts everything. On the other hand, it's so committed to entertaining us that resistance is futile.
This time, John (Willis) takes an urgent trip to Moscow, where his estranged son Jack (Courtney) has been arrested for murder. But before John even gets into the courthouse, chaos erupts in the streets and John ends up on the run with Jack and Yuri (Koch), a fellow prisoner. As cars and buildings crash down around them, John discovers that Jack is actually an undercover CIA operative helping Yuri escape in exchange for a file of information about corrupt government official Viktor (Kolesnikov). As Viktor's tap-dancing goon (Bukvic) chases them into the countryside, there are a series of twists and turns that lead them to, of all places, Chernobyl.
But don't worry, an overdramatic scene establishes that the nuclear residue can be instantly eradicated by some sort of magical gas. So this frees our heroes for the usual antics involving enormous guns, mammoth explosions and lots of bad guys coming to inventively grisly ends. Along the way there's one of the most mind-bogglingly destructive car chase imaginable, like Bourne on acid, as well as a couple of preposterously fiery helicopter assaults. In between, Willis and Courtney have fun with the father-son dynamic, alternating between bitterness and emotional bonding before heading back out to "kill some scumbags".
Continue reading: A Good Day To Die Hard Review
John McClane, a trigger happy New York cop, returns in the fifth movie of the 'Die Hard' franchise. This time, the terrorists he must face are based in Moscow, Russia. He flies there after discovering that his son Jack, with whom he has been estranged for some time, has got into some trouble with the Russian law enforcement and has been arrested. It doesn't take long for it to unravel that Jack has somehow got involved with a terrorist plot that McClane must pull him out of.
'A Good Day To Die Hard' will become the gritty action film series' fifth instalment following 2007's 'Live Free or Die Hard', 1995's 'Die Hard with a Vengeance', 1990's 'Die Hard 2' and the original 'Die Hard' in 1988 that was based on the 1979 novel 'Nothing Lasts Forever' by Roderick Thorp. The previous movies have had three different directors and four different writers and this time we see director John Moore take on the role with a resume that includes 'Max Payne', 'The Omen' and 'Behind Enemy Lines'. 'Die Hard' number five has been written by Skip Woods ('Hitman', 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine', 'Swordfish') and will be released in UK cinemas on Valentine's Day next year (February 14th 2013).
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