Doug's Take: 'A Good Day to Die Hard' needs a little more talk, less action

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 2:50 p.m. MST

"A Good Day to Die Hard," which stars Bruce Willis, has non-stop violence. (Twentieth Century Fox) "A Good Day to Die Hard," which stars Bruce Willis, has non-stop violence. (Twentieth Century Fox)

Remember the old phrase “a little less talk and a lot more action"?

In the latest “Die Hard” movie, we definitely need a little more talk and a little less action.

A Good Day to Die Hard” is nothing but action. Don’t get me wrong, we don’t go to these films for a “Downton Abbey” experience, but come on. In the first “Die Hard,” we at least had a few character developing moments. We were treated to a Christmas party in the new office tower. There were even a few revealing conversations over the police radio with the good-guy cop who was helping the hero.

Not here. Filmmakers have wound this puppy up and simply let ‘er rip.

In the fifth episode of this franchise, we find John McClane concerned about his son, Jack, played by Jai Courtney. It seems the wayward boy is engaged in some dubious activities over in Russia, so dear old Dad hops on a plane and heads for Moscow to sort things out. There is some kind of estrangement going on here that we never quite understand because to explain it would get in the way of the gunfire, explosions, crashes and death-defying feats.

Oh well, who needs character development, especially when this kid is so unlikable?

Jack is totally surprised by Dad’s sudden appearance and is very upset by McClane’s interference in what we find out is a very complicated, multi-year CIA effort to extract a Russian dissident. What follows is a complicated tale of Cold War betrayal, trafficking in enriched uranium, a major league political power struggle and we even find out what caused the meltdown at Chernobyl.

All of this unfolds with no real meaningful explanations at all. Now that is quite an accomplishment.

But let’s get to why we really go to see a “Die Hard” movie.

Is there action? Yes, from beginning to end, and it is relentless.

Are the special effects special? Yes, as a matter of fact, they’re so special you start to go numb.

Are there despicable bad guys … and gals? Yes, and the Russian accents add nicely to their despicableness.

Are there surprising twists? Filmmakers give ‘em a shot but thankfully they don’t interfere with the explosion count.

And, perhaps most paramount, do we get to enjoy all of the cheesy McClane one-liners? Of course. As a matter of fact, I lost count how many times our beleaguered hero reminds everybody that he’s “on vacation!”

“A Good Day to Die Hard” is not my favorite in the series by a long shot, but if you’re ready to simply strap yourself into the seat and go along for the ride, you could do worse. Just 2½ admittedly generous stars.

“A Good Day To Die Hard” is rated R for violence and language; running time: 97 minutes.

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