By Peter Killip.
A Good Day To Die Hard.
True story: A lad I once knew in my “wonder years” told me how he used to send his recently imprisoned older brother copies of top shelf literature (it rhymed with “dazzle”) with certain parts of female anatomy cut out. This, understandably sent his older brother bat shit mental with frustration. Flash forward to modern day and the same game is being played but with the makers of this film and us, the film going public.
Slapped with a 12A certificate, gone are the traditional tropes that Die Hard fans have come to expect. The violence toned down so presumably the looking more and more like Victor Meldrew with every passing day Bruce Willis doesn’t look quite so fool hardy. Gone is any kind of suspense or characters to root for so we can see the bickering dynamics of the McClane clan go full throttle. The everyman quality that endeared has now been replaced with a “Dr Manhattan” type invulnerability. At one point a character sneers “It’s not 1986 anymore”, you’re telling me pal.
The “Dawson’s Creek on red bull and steds” son doesn’t help the cause either, pouting his way through this bloody photo shoot of a film and whinging about his dad never being there at christmas and the like. HE WAS CRAWLING THROUGH AIR VENTS, BLOWING SHIT UP AND ENTERTAINING US AT THE TIME YOU PETULANT SHIT, GET OVER IT! It ends on a freeze frame too, laughing their bastard heads off like a really ropey sun kissed episode of Murder She Wrote, the family McClane walking back home together, safe in each other’s company, having a laugh. Presumably at our expense. Fucks.
It’s truly a shame that this film will realistically go down in memory of a lot of folk as the Nicole Kidman hands free orgasm and Zac Efron facial shower film, where in fact it’s a whole heap nastier and seedier than that. Imagine if you will, an elseworld where John Waters directed a remake of “Body Heat” with a Jim Thompson screenplay, this is that world. In equal parts, trashy, sexy and (when called for and sometimes when not) violent. Nicole Kidman is scoring 2/2 after her role in Stoker, again unleashing her inner milf as she tries to get her soon to be hubby (John Cusack- creepy as shit on a stick, try watching “Sixteen Candles” and see him in the same light afterwards, I double dare you!) out of prison by enlisting the help of two journalists (MCconaughey and Oyelowo) and their gopher (Disney poster child- Efron), hilarity ensues.
Well…..not so much. McConaughey tops off a splendid hat trick in style after “Killer Joe”, “Magic Mike” and now this, he has turned himself back into a force for good again after his Rom-Com plateau. It’s good to have the bongo playing bastard back again. Far from a perfect film, it overruns by a solid 15 minutes or so and has a clunky narrative slapped on with Macy Gray’s slurring charm but for fans of exploitation cinema with a swamp noir flourish, this will be worth the looks of judgement from the usher’s who’ll think you’re only there for that damned jellyfish scene.
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