Saturday, February 16, 2013

Ballroom Blitz

 
Movie reviews get on my nerves.  Just googled A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth Die Hard movie that debuted last night on every screen in America, and ran across bitchy, pissy little critiques about a movie that truly is just what it is:  silly, sleek, pointlessly violent, with the brain of a dog and the heart of a high school football coach.  We went to see it last night, and I loved it.  Bruce Willis looks fantastic as an elderly gent still rocking the working-class blues, and his son, played by Jai Courtney, is his reluctant prodigal CIA son with a penchant for gritting his teeth all the time.  The plot, the visuals, the situations are all rote, but comfortably so.  It's exactly what is required, and then some.  There's a setpiece inside an old decrepit Russian hotel ballroom with a helicopter hovering outside the glorious windows that simply is too stupid and wonderful for words, crafted by John Moore the director to look like a crappy-chic music video from 1988.

1988 was the year Die Hard came out.  Seeing it back then was a revelation.  I was snobby at first but then when I saw it I got mesmerized.  It had an elegant machine-like veracity laced with blue-collar discontent.  The tall gleaming skyscraper during a Yuppie-pretentious Christmas office party was the perfect setting for Alan Rickman's prissy villain to sashay into.  Willis played John Mcclane with a sort of exhaustion burgeoning on fury.  He was pure white-trash, bare-foot and gun-toting and over it.  He became iconic.

Good Day is not iconic in anyway, but it is not a piece of shit either.  It's just what it is:  a way to revisit McClane, now an old grumpy guy wanting to help his grumpy young son out of an international mess.  By the end of this one, you don't fee let down; you feel just happy and content.  Bombs and guns went off.  McClane and his kid saved the day.  Time to go home.