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Willis back for 5th adventure in action franchise

“A Good Day to Die Hard”

Fair (1 star)

Rated R for profanity and violence

In English and Russian with subtitles

Running time: 98 minutes

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

When his wayward son lands in legal trouble in Russia, John McClane (Bruce Willis) makes his way to Moscow to spring Jack (Jai Courtney) from jail. But because the two have been estranged for a few years, the fretting father has no idea his ne‘er-do-well offspring has cleaned up his act and is now working undercover as a CIA Agent.

In fact, Jack has a very good reason for being in Eastern Europe, namely, to thwart a terrorist cell bent on world domination from getting its mitts on a stash of enriched uranium. And, once the truth comes out, father and son grudgingly join forces to keep the Free World safe for democracy.

That’s about all the plot you need to know to follow A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth installment in the storied franchise starring Bruce Willis. Unfortunately, the movie is basically a brainless indulgence in pyrotechnics, stunts and special f/x, marked by endless explosions, gun fights, car chases and death-defying leaps.

Diehard Die Hard fans will undoubtedly appreciate Willis’ trademark resort to smirking and sarcasm as effective weapons against evil adversaries whenever he’s faced with overwhelming odds. Plus, there’s the comical badinage between John and junior whenever embittered Jack belatedly endeavors to work out his childhood abandonment issues.

Macho John might muster up enough empathy to offer a hug, only to have the Kodak moment undermined by another wave of Soviet assassins armed to the teeth. So, don’t expect sophisticated dialogue and you won’t be disappointed. The best this simplistic script has to offer is professional wrestler-like villains asking: “Do you know what I hate about Americans? Everything!”

An implausible, action adventure featuring a couple of bomb and bulletproof protagonists more resilient than Wile E. Coyote, thanks to the miracle of cartoon physics!

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