A pretty good day for one liners

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Bruce Willis is back again as quippy John McClane for yet another Valentine’s Day debut romp. Too bad it falls flat.

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“A Good Day to Die Hard” is proof that the series needs to take its own advice. If you like bad acting, lifeless glitz and Russian bad guys, this might be your new favorite movie.

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, and due to some unforeseen and unmentioned accident offscreen, he can only talk in one liners. Really dumb one liners. At one point, he drives a truck into the back of an armored vehicle and proceeds to say “knock, knock” with a smug little smile plastered all over his old man face.

This time John McClane brings his son Jack McClane (to be referred to as John John from this point on) along for the ride. This is an unfair statement, because John John is actually a C.I.A. agent in charge of doing important things before his dad shows up for a visit.

Jai Courtney is just so unimpressive and boring in his role as John John that one can forget that he is supposed to be on an equal footing with Bruce’s character.

But then again, no character can be on an equal footing with John McClane, the Batman of New Jersey. John is so gifted at destruction that he finds ways to blow up everything. Literally. Can’t get a door open? John can blow it open. Car caught in traffic? John can blow it to work. Top screwed on the pickle jar too tight? John can blow it off.

As is too often the case with action films, “A Good Day to Die Hard” sometimes forgets that it is a movie and not a lesson in demolitions. It also forgets to develop a pulse, instead painting itself up with glitz and glam and taking a stroll down the street to be ogled.

Like a corpse, it is unaware that the oglers are, on some level, revolted by what they are seeing but unable to look away because it isn’t everyday that you see a corpse out for a stroll.

Screenwriters need to stop writing one liners if they can’t make them compelling and clever. I’m so tired of action movie heroes deciding to comment on what is happening by telling me exactly what is happening. It is ridiculous and annoying and, most importantly, dull.

Had John Moore, the film’s director, been more focused on the content of the film and less on the stupid digital effects, this might have been a contender. Probably not, but maybe.