Talk about counter-programming: Bruce Willis returns to theaters this long Valentine's Day weekend as New York cop John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth in the John McClane series. After living free and dying hard back in 2007, Willis took a vacation the way McClane would, that is, he didn't. Since then he's starred in Surrogates, Looper, Moonrise Kingdom, Red and its upcoming sequel. We have a feeling that's the way Bruce likes it.
While McClane is constantly griping about being on vacation (we counted at least three times in A Good Day) he's certainly much more at home with car chases, chasing baddies and making wisecracks, even in Mother Russia. He even gets to Yippee ki-yay someone!
New to the Die Hard franchise? Or has it been years since you watched the first one, which hit theaters in 1988? Here's our handy guide to the series, and what you can expect (spoiler free!) from John McClane's trip to Moscow.
1. It's a 24-Hour Trip: Whether the setting is a skyscraper (the original), an airport (Die Harder), or whole cities (parts 3 and 4) the one constant is that John McClane must defeat the baddies in about a day. Without back up. This time John is out to find his son who is protecting a Soviet with vital intel.
2. Kids Are Ungrateful Everywhere: McClane hops a plane to the former U.S.S.R. when his son is arrested for a terrible crime: murder. Komarov (Sebastian Koch), a Soviet whistleblower will do anything to protect his daughter. Yet both kids are whiny jerks. The Russian one Irina, is naturally a Cold War Hottie (real life chess champ Yuliya Snigir) while John's son Jack (Jai Courtney) is pure U.S.D.A. Hunk. Still, both they need timeouts. Quiet down, grown-ups are talking.
3. No Ordinary Cop: Remember in the original Die Hard when McClane had to cross a floor with smashed glass barefoot? Apparently, everything in a cop's life is about sensible footwear since John and Jack go through at least four ear-shattering levels of windows all over Moscow.
4. All in a Day's Work for the AARP: It ain't the years, it's definitely the mileage. Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Willis: The former Planet Hollywood owners were all action stars in the '80s. Sure, Willis is just about a decade younger than the other two, but he sure has aged better. Way better. Then again, Tom Cruise is 50, so watch out Bruce!
5. Just How Good a Day?: That probably depends how you like your John McClane flicks. First the good, unlike 2007's Live Free PG-13 rating, Good Day is back to its R-rated roots. More blood, more swearing. Still, we wish he appeared less like a superhero. And we were hoping for a few more laughs. But the set pieces are huge and explosive. The original is still the best, but this is on par with the fourth film: Live Free or Die Hard. In case you're wondering, the second and third installments are the weakest.