diehardA Russian Traffic Jam

A Good Day to Die Hard
Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir, Radivoje Bukvic, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco and Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Director: John Moore
Scriptwriter: Skip Woods
Composer: Marco Beltrami
Cinematographer: Jonathan Sela
20th Century Fox
Rating: PG 13 for action
Running Length: 98 minutes
Mother Russia is still in business. As long as Chernobyl radiates, there will be a story connected with it and this time, it is a scientist Yuri (Sebastian Koch) who sat in a Russian prison because of his work at the nuclear plant. You just know he is hiding something and the guy is one tough nut to crack, as he is protecting his daughter, Irina (Yuliya Snigir.) What does this have to do with John McClane (Bruce Willis) New York detective?  He is the tourist who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught up with espionage, CIA, terrorists and his missing son.  All on one vacation. So goes life.
The film begins with Yuri in a prison cell being interrogated and looking both enigmatic and sad at the same time. Enter a young ”revolutionary” (Courtney) who manages to get arrested and placed in the cell next to Yuri. McClane is a tourist trapped in a taxi in a traffic jam and has a singing cabbie, no less. He decides to go on foot and finds himself witness to a jail break and explosion. Shades of "Is that my son over there?" Then comes one of the most spectacular car chase scenes you will see in years between a van, small truck armoured vehicle and a cement truck. This is the type of chase that puts insurance companies out of business.
As the story progresses, we see that McClane’s estranged son is now CIA and working on a secret case (aren't they all?), but Dad with just plain street smarts, can help, too. They are protecting Yuri and then Yuri’s daughter. Eventually, this leads to Chernobyl and no one seems to think twice about radiation. The CIA is two steps behind everyone and the helicopters here look massive like something out of Roy Scheider’s film, “Blue Thunder” of 20 years ago. He really was forecasting the future. There are plot twists and plenty of action. People are beat up and bounce back and women are either in flight gear or high heels.
The cast does well and there is camaraderie between Jai Courtney and Bruce Willis as son and father. One wonders, if the series continues, if this family unit as such, would continue, too? Bruce’s daughter, Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), gets top billing, but is in the film about five minutes. Willis has that little smirk that the bad guys should pay attention to, but never do. Sebastian Koch does very well as a conflicted man and so does Yuliya Snigir, as his daughter. A villain, Alik (Radivoje Bukvic), who wanted to be a dancer, is a new one.  Before he shoots you, the person has to watch his dance steps. 
All in all, “A Good Day to Die Hard” is a thoroughly adequate installment in the series.  The first “Die Hard” film was the best, though, and set Bruce Willis up as an action star.  Traffic jam scenes here, and how the guys get out of them could send some people to secrecy in their garages for a new type of vehicle. Think “The Road Warrior” meets The Batmobile. If John McClane can do battle in Chernobyl, I bet he can do battle in space, too.
Copyright 2013 Marie Asner
For film reviews of more action films see:
Broken City