One Big Scene: In 'A Good Day to Die Hard,' Everything Explodes
One Big Scene is a weekly column dedicated to spectacular visual sequences we’re recommending you see in the theater. If you have ones you’d like us to write about, let us know in the comments section.
Terrorists have no place left to hide so long as John McClane (Bruce Willis) remains on the beat.
After dispatching villains in Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C. and up and down the Eastern seaboard, Willis’ iconic hero heads to Moscow to prevent yet another attack – this time, a possible nuclear assault – in A Good Day to Die Hard. And much like its immediate predecessor, Len Wiseman’s Live Free or Die Hard, this fifth Die Hard sequel escalates the explosive action and the elongated chase and fight sequences.
One or two of the action sequences in A Good Day to Die Hard are reason enough for fans to catch up with McClane again on the big screen. And while critics have not been kind to John Moore’s sequel, fans might have fun with this new film, for this One Big Scene, specifically.
But first, the reviews:
What critics are saying:
“It's fun, but ultimately inconsequential, and doesn't feel especially like a Die Hard movie.”
Stephen Silver, EntertainmentTell
“Watchable, decently paced action flick, enlivened by strong performances from both Willis and Courtney and some impressive stunt work.”
Matthew Turner, ViewLondon
“Willis and Courtney make a strong match, believable both as fractious family members and also as sarcastic adversaries forced by circumstances to work together.”
Peter Howell, Toronto Star
The biggest action sequences in A Good Day to Die Hard all involve massive vehicles. There’s a three-truck chase through Moscow that smashes hundreds of cars. There’s a helicopter fight that finds McClane (Willis) and his son (Jai Courtney) jumping out of a window to avoid the bullets being shot at them by a hulking, hovering chopper.
But I’m going with the sequence that involves multiple vehicles – a truck, a helicopter AND a crumbling Russian building that’s destined to explode (because everything in A Good Day eventually explodes).
Without giving away too much, because this does take place during the film’s stunning conclusion, McClane needs to change the direction of a helicopter being driven by the vengeful Irina (Yuliya Snigir), who is trying to shoot Jack (Courtney) as he fights a chief villain on a nearby rooftop. As he mutters his trademark catchphrase, McClane drives a massive truck off the back of the helicopter, dragging the tail of the whirly bird down at a 90-degree angle. The helicopter begins spiraling, with McClane now dangling like the ball of a pendulum. Meanwhile, the helicopter continues firing … even as it’s propellers are now taking off chunks of the building holding Jack and his nemesis.
I won’t ruin how McClane survives this sticky predicament. But if you are checking out A Good Day to Die Hard this weekend, this is the sequence that will have your jaw on the floor. Here’s a tease -- the full sequence is much longer. The fifth Die Hard is in theaters as we speak.
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Sean O'ConnellFandango Bloggers
Sean is a film reviewer for The Washington Post and daily contributor to Fandango.
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