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A Good Day to Die Hard: A Bad Day For Bruce Willis Fans
Therefore, it's unfortunate to see that the Die Hard sequels – that's five all together now – are slowly losing any sense of drive. With each new title being even more ridiculous and longer than the previous, the popular franchise's plunge in quality has been there for all to see, especially so in its fifth instalment.
A Good Day to Die Hard sees the hard-hitting cop – now an indestructible machine – McClane travel to Russia to find his estranged son, Jack (Courtney). He soon learns that Jack is a CIA operative in the middle of a mission that requires him to safely get a Russian dissident and nuclear scientist out of the country. Unintentionally, McClane foils his son's mission and, of course, soon gets himself involved in a scheme involving weapon-grade uranium and a gang of gun-toting Russian terrorists.
McClane's parenting skills become the point of discussion as father and son team up to fight the bad guys. Awkward scenes of the boys bickering about their dysfunctional relationship, while gunning down dozens of men, follow.
First of all, did anyone know that John McClane had a son? Probably not, but that's besides the point. Either way, this latest escapade feels like serious letdown. Generally considered an exciting and overall intelligent series – where prior criminals were ingenious and seriously twisted – A Good Day to Die Hard feels empty, lost and uncomfortable.
What happened to villains like Hans Gruber, brilliantly played by Alan Rickman, or Jeremy Irons' exceptional Simon Peter Irons – the 'Simon says' loon. This calibre of characters, witty dialogue and relatable logic have been abandoned, leaving the legend of McClane to deal with the mess all by himself. Except McClane is no longer your average Joe trying to get out of a sticky situation; he has become a cartoon character of a man who cannot die.
To be fair, director John Moore does offer a few decent explosions to satisfy, but with no substance to hold the story together, fans will feel slightly cheated.
The overall material doesn't deliver, nor do the characters. Fifty-eight year old Willis is back to his cheeky ways as he indulges himself in one of the laziest performances of his career. By the time he delivers his signature "Yippee ki yay", it's very difficult to care. In contrast, Courtney holds his own; although he lacks charisma in the more reflective moments of the film, he makes up for it in the high intensity fight-scenes.
Too loud for its own good, A Good Day to Die Hard is without a doubt one of the most disappointing additions to the Die Hard franchise and with a sixth instalment already in the works, there's little to hope for.
Marking the fifth instalment in the Underworld franchise, Blood Wars rests in the hands of a first-time feature director, Anna Foerster who, although managing to create a few notable moments of action, fails to bring any ingenuity or freshness to its now exhausted vampires-versus-werewolves narrative.
The story begins with a brief recap of events from the last four films where we learn that everyone’s favourite vampire death dealer, Selena (once again fully embraced by the leather-clad, forever sulking Kate Beckinsale) has been betrayed and banished by her kind.
Still trying to cope with the pain of having given up her vampire-werewolf hybrid daughter Eve for everyone’s safety, Selena is surprised to be summoned back into the vampire community - now led by the scheming Semira (Pulver) - who wish to make use of her skills in order to train the new generation of fighters, while still escaping her own chasers and searching for her daughter.
Taking quite a bit of time to get going, Blood Wars – written by Cory Goodman – is filled with lots of politics and nonsensical dialogue between characters who seemingly have a hard time in conveying any emotion, thus, making it all that difficult for the viewer to get invested in what they have to say. Drenched in a seemingly cold, metallic-blue tint, Blood Wars – although certainly not heavy on the action front – does manage to offer a couple relatively exciting action set-pieces. However, considering that this is a vampires-verses-werewolves kind of a movie, there just isn’t enough of that that specific mythology to set it apart from any other action movies – no wooden stakes or silver bullets to see here folks, just plenty of swirling swords and guns that can’t hurt anyone.
Another problem here is that the mythology behind the franchise in general – something the keeps spinning around aimlessly with no real focus or ending in sight – is a little hard to take seriously.
All of the characters, including the PVC-wearing Kate Beckinsale, who thinks that scowling her way through the scenes will get her anywhere, are all without an ounce of charm or personality – which sadly, brings us to a conclusion that there is no fun to be had in this rather forgettable cinematic offering and generic continuation of a franchise which, perhaps, might be ready now to close its doors and call it a day.
What can you say about the seemingly unstoppable force that is Nicolas Cage that hasn’t been said before? A magnet for the most troubled, muddled and just generally exasperating films to hit cinemas in the last five years, his latest work in USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage does nothing to change his fortunes.
Despite being based on one a true story that has all the makings of a war epic, the Mario Van Peebles-directed USS Indianapolis bleeds all and any gravitas and emotion out of its incredibly dramatic source material.
The story goes as thus: the eponymous US Navy cruiser delivered the first parts of the atomic bomb that would go on to devastate Hiroshima, before being torpedoed by the Japanese navy, leaving some 300 of the 1000-plus crewmen dead and the rest stranded in shark-infested waters. Said sharks, along with dehydration and salt water poisoning, leave just over 300 survivors to be rescued.
At the centre of the ensuing hubbub is Cage’s Captain McVay, who many, very unreasonably, blame for the death of the 700 or so victims – so you see, it’s a very complex story, but one that very quickly descend into and exercise on how not to make a war film.
The occasional laughable CGI aside, Cage is oddly sedate, bordering on placid, in his role – yes, the central character is possibly the flattest element of the film, while seasoned actors, Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane, are given little to chew on in their respective roles.
While starting exactly as one would expect a war film to, the wreckage part of the film turns into cheap disaster movie, before turning into a courtroom drama in the final act. It’s a muddle of a film that fails to really drum to the beat of McVay’s potentially brilliant arc as a firm commander that eventually buckles under the unjust pressure he receives back at home.
Bad CGI, a mammoth two hour-plus running time and Nic Cage can be forgiven, but what’s at the heart of this film’s mess is the script. Jumping from event to event, plotline to plotline, at a whim, with Cage’s soft murmured speech used to pave over the transitions, USS Indianapolis’s pacing is that of a film hurrying to stuff as many ideas and threads as possible – expect that’s not the case. Van Peebles tries so hard to build the layers of an epic, when, actually, all he needed to do was tell this simple but stirring story as it is.