Darke Reviews – Terminator Genisys (2015)

31 years. It has been 31 years since the line “Come with me if you want to live” was first uttered on the silver screen. Sadly, I was too young to see the original on the big screen, but have watched it dozens upon dozens of times since. Terminator 2 came while I had one of my best summers ever, living in Virginia, and I had the joy of watching it 5 times in the theatre. Watched dozens of times since then. One of my best friends and I planned a judgement day party for August 29, 1997. I even made labels to put on sunblock labeled SPF 2,000,000 – you know so we didn’t have a bad day. I think you can safely assume I am a fan of the mythology and first two movies. I didn’t even hate Edward Furlong.

Then Judgement Day came and went. The party didn’t happen as we had all moved away. Then 2003 came with a promise to give us the Rise of the Machines and it lied to us. It lied so badly. If I thought Furlong was bad, then Nick Stahl was a walking abomination. Then they tried 6 years after with Terminator Salvation, trying to apologize for how bad 3 was…but I fell asleep from boredom through the apology. I couldn’t tell who was more machine the T-800’s or Sam Worthington and Christian Bale. So

6 years after that, what do we get?

Let’s start with a two writer script, though obvious credits are given to Gale Anne Hurd and James Cameron for the characters themselves. Laeta Kalogridis, who gave us screenplays for NightWatch (Timur Bembekov’s supernatural thriller) and Shutter Island.  Patrick Lussier, he who gave us Dracula 2000 and Drive Angry. Both of these individuals, while having western films under their belt, also lean towards lower budget European films designed for international audiences. I don’t know that I would have picked them to try to reboot and reinvigorate this franchise considering their previous works; which, while I enjoy, are mostly low end popcorn fare or weak on the script but high on atmosphere. Much of these traits can be found here, the script is kinda weak and some of the dialogue is down right painful.

Sarah is fine, the Terminator is fine, John is fine, Kyle is a walking travesty. Part of that goes to the casting director, Ronna Kress who needs a smack upside the head. I have no idea how a person who could cast Mad Max: Fury Road so perfectly could so screw up here. I have to assume studio interference. It is the only logical choice. The other part goes to the studio and director, Alan Taylor (who is best known for his season 2 Game of Thrones episodes).  A better director may have gotten a better performance, but I doubt it; but perhaps he could have argued to have a better Kyle Reese.

There is no reason to cast Jai Courtney. I recently commented that he needs to find the tree he was carved from, no one is buying him as a real boy. He is without any charm or charisma in Divergent, Die Hard, Jack Reacher, and gives me less hope as Captain Boomerang in Suicide Squad. Hollywood STOP TRYING TO FORCE HIM DOWN OUR THROAT. Please. Stop. Aside from being a terrible actor he is horrifically miscast as Kyle. Michael Biehn created the role and despite not being the prettiest belle at the ball had a charm and handsomeness to him that lead us to like him. He was so damn earnest and believable  that I cared that he served in the 132nd under Perry from 21 to 27. When he said, “I came across time for you, Sarah. I love you; I always have…” it is the most romantic thing ever. Courtney and this script can’t pull any of this off. He is positively the worst thing about this film. Every line he uttered comes from a place where I wanted to throat punch him. Aside from being unable to make me care, and in fact look forward to his demise, he just looks bad. He is too damn handsome. Too full. I blame that on the director and casting again. Beihn, and even Anton Yelchin in T4, looked thin, looked worn, and looked like they grew up in a wasteland after Judgement Day. They were lean, he is cut. His physique makes no sense in a world where humans are scrambling to get by like little more than cockroaches in the ruins of the world. He’s just too pretty. You want someone who looks like he could be Kyle? Try this image:

Yes. I am Guy Pearce. You are welcome.

Yes. I am Guy Pearce. You are welcome.

At least we had Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke – no relation. While Jason Clarke doesn’t quite carry the beat to hell, hardened military commander that Michael Edwards did in T2 (his stare is bloody iconic). He does a good job at least making me believe he is Connor, a boy who knows the future to a certain point. I like Clarke as an actor with excellent performances in Zero Dark Thirty,  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and even The Great Gatsby.

John_Connor_T2

My stare can kill a terminator at 1000 yards.

John_Connor_T5

I at least wear the scars better than Christian Bale.

 

Emilia has probably the toughest role to play of all the cast. Going from the mother of Dragons to the Mother of the Resistance. She has to fill shoes left by the epic Linda Hamilton who gave us two startlingly amazing performances of a character at two different times in her life. Now, having just watched Terminator (1984), just now while writing this she clearly paid attention to Hamilton and her performance. She hit enunciation, body language, and even lip motions from the first film. While there are moments she over reacts and hits too much emotion for someone who is raised the way she is, overall I buy it. I know other reviewers are having trouble with her, but to be honest I think she did well. She didn’t have an easy job or good script, but did very well with what she did. While the writers clearly didn’t get Kyle, they did get Sarah and some of her reactions were spot on.

I can’t finish talking about the cast without talking about Arnie. The role is like an old glove that he slipped into. He was on the mark 100%. He also could tell this film wasn’t great, but makes sure to let you know HE is enjoying himself. Honestly, this is the Arnie I miss. Even as a bloody cyborg he overshadowed almost everyone on screen with the weight and charisma of his performance.

From a technicals standpoint? It suffers as so many movies do these days. It is too clean. Too polished. Their post-apocalypse is all shiny and chrome, with beautiful body armor and fashion models for soldiers.  Even the current timeline they give us has the same problem. There’s no grit, no weight, and no atmosphere to this. Ultimately a  lot of movies in the past decade suffer from this, where there is no atmospheric heart to help sell the movie and the world. It is just meh and you don’t care. The CG work on the Terminators has not improved since 1991. Thats right 24 years later and not only has it not improved – it got worse. The computer effects are just down right awful. Nothing is redeeming about them. Not a thing. There’s also not enough practical effects in the future scenes to make me buy it. Both Terminator and Terminator 2 had just the right amount of practical to let me believe there was an HK rolling into position to kill Kyle. That a flying HK was moving overhead chasing our heroes was there. The only technical effect that works is the de-aged Arnie for the 1984 T-800. I liked it. I looked for flaws and nothing screamed at me, even as the reproduced the original shot from 1984.

TL;DR?

I want to hate this film. I really want to hate it. I can’t. I almost feel like I owe them an apology for lambasting them so badly before the film. It isn’t great. It doesn’t redeem the franchise in any way shape or form, but it is better than the last two laughable attempts at a movie with the Terminator name attached. I did laugh and enjoy all the callbacks to the original two movies, there’s plenty of lines there that will bring out the nostalgia factor, which did make me look more favorably on it. It felt like they were at least trying – even if they failed. I did care about Sarah at least.

  • If you were curious – go in with low expectations. You will probably be entertained.
  • If you need MST3k bait, it’s there if you need it.
  • If you hate that it’s PG13 – you should. It doesn’t have any real power due to the MPAA.

I will say that the 3D is pointless and even the XD sound system was wasted without the original theme playing at epic levels of volume.

All in all – if you don’t want to see Jurassic World again this weekend and aren’t saving up for Ant-Man – go ahead. You probably will find yourself enjoying the nostalgia factor at least. It is at least fun.


 

The movie schedule for July is looking pretty good with such films as

  • Minions
  • Self/Less
  • Ant-Man
  • Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation

Pixels is also coming out, but I am debating this…will probably boycott to avoid giving Adam Sandler and his problematic productions money.

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Darke Reviews – Insurgent (2015)

I love March. It marks the beginning of the end for the toughest time in the 9-5 and the beginning of movies worth watching in the theatres – at least it usually is. This year is really not off to a good start and I just looked at April and with one major exception (Furious 7) there is next to nothing until Age of Ultron. I also seem to be among the few who did not like Cinderella last week; at least until the Walker brothers discussed it recently. So this week we got the sequel to last years Divergent.

Does Insurgent live up to it’s name and break the trend?

First, let me compare a bit to last years review. My friend at the coffee bar at the theatre told me there was a near full house for earlier showings yet my show was near empty. This time, the house was nearly full in one of the largest rooms they have there; which tells me this one grew despite the mediocre ratings the first one got. I still haven’t read the books, though they do look nice in my library – which means this review is still going to talk about the work from a purely cinematic standpoint. My last review talked about dystopian teen fiction at length for a bit.

Divergent took the tact of giving us a movie about class-ism or elitism and threw it out the window by giving us a main character who isn’t of any caste. It’s a pleasant twist. Insurgent continues the story of Tris Prior, a divergent, picking up days/weeks after the events of the last movie. This time the story is as much internal as it is external dealing with Tris facing her demons within and without. I rather enjoyed the conceit as we have a world where that can actually be a real thing to you.

Rather than keep the writers from the last film, three new writers come in. That’s usually not a good thing as my rule of three comes into play. I haven’t mentioned the rule for awhile and have some new readers. If you get to three or more writers for a film there is a degradation in the quality of the film. Too many writers, rewrites, and cooks in the kitchen and it tends to show in the final work. It does here too. Newcomer Brian Duffield was involved, working with Akiva Goldsman (Winter’s Tale, Angels & Demons, I Am Legend), and Mark Bomback (The Wolverine, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes). I can’t tell what Duffield did for this movie as I have nothing to compare against. Goldsman brought his ability to write someone facing their own psychology, while Bomback brought a sense of reasonably well written action. By their powers combined, however, we get a bit of a mess.

The movie, much like the first, meanders a bit too much and has some odd pacing and tonal switches. It wants to address some things and then decides not to. It gives you threats then promptly ignores most of them. Like the first I have an overwhelming sense of meh for what I watched; and yet an interest to see what they do next. I am not sure how that works more than the movie falling to Middle of the Trilogy syndrome where it comes across as mostly filler but provides a set up for a more interesting finale.

I think the writers are not solely to blame for me not caring too much, as the director is the one who brought us one of the most bilious, refuse laden, nausea inducing films I have ever watched R.I.P.D.. I have such contempt for that film and likely find Robert Schwentke to blame for any flaws in films he works on. While, again, I have not read the books, I blame the director for me being deeply annoyed with most of the characters in the film. I blame the director for wasting Shailene Woodley as Tris.

I do not blame Shailene (Fault in our Stars), she actually does a good job. I understand her logic. I understand her fears. She makes sense and every decision – makes sense. That is so rare and most of that comes from the actor being able to pull off the nuance of emotions. Sadly something happened between the last movie and this one (I’ll blame Schwentke) with Woodley and her romantic co star Theo James (Underworld 4) who plays Four. I could be missing something but for the better part of the film I don’t feel chemistry between them, which is sad as much of the film needs that. There are exceptions, but not nearly enough.

Kate Winslet, as Jeanine, is one cat short of being a Bond villain.  Jai Courtney still annoys me and I am reasonably certain they used a cardboard cut out in two scenes with him and they turned in a better performance than the actor. Ansel Elgort (also Fault in our Stars) does well with what he has, but I don’t think he has much. Miles Teller (Footloose, Whiplash, and the upcoming Fantastic Four) is surprisingly enjoyable; even when he’s a jerk. He just makes his character work. The rest of the cast is entirely not worth mentioning – which is unfortunate.

From a technical perspective I’ve already hinted at some pacing issues. There are horrifically bad CGI birds that keep coming. When CinemaSins gets their hands on this, I fully expect at least one Birdemic joke; they are that bad. They are also totally unexplainable from the cinematic narrative. Someone who read the book might be able to explain them but from someone who only has the cinema to go from they make no sense. Most of the green screen is hidden and the action is pretty good. It isn’t perfect from a CG perspective but it does better than most.

TL;DR

Once again I find myself in the category of meh. I don’t think I had high hopes for this one. It proved me right as it is clearly a middle less interesting film that serves no point than to prepare us for something new with Allegiant.

If you liked the first one, or have at least seen the first one. Continue the story. Give it a watch, you won’t feel your time is wasted. There are some genuinely good moments amidst the ok ones.

If you haven’t watched the first, you’ll want to before watching this. If you don’t you may care even less.

There’s nothing major to see here. This isn’t the game changer for 2015 we were looking for. I don’t suppose I believed it would be, but it would have been nice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darke Reviews – Divergent (2014)

Let me open with, no I haven’t read the books. Remember that post on the personal facebook page about having an addiction? That was me dropping nearly $100 ON the Books (and a few others, like a hard cover of Frankenstein, but I digress). Now that I’ve seen the movie I can read them comfortably and know that this review is written from pure objectivity as a film. The girl at the coffee bar told me there was mad crowds for the earlier showings tonight and I find that interesting since my showing (the last of the night) only had about thirty or so in it.

what I truly find interesting is the range of material and world building that occurs within the Young Adult (YA) genre. I am twice the age, or more, of it’s target demographic yet I find the books in many of these series compelling. I suppose it’s ironic that a girl who read The Stand when she was eleven reads Vampire Academy, Hunger Games, and Divergent nearly three decades later. Back to the worlds though, when I was in high school it was the start of an interesting age in YA novels I think. I read Vampire Diaries (and still have my first prints) and the Secret Circle and they were sort of avant garde to my perception at the time. Now such works cover entire rows at the bookstores. They cover the supernatural romance, alternative history, alternative modernism, and dystopian futures.

They also show us who we are as a people and who we can be potentially when done properly. The dystopian futures do this best of all. Hunger Games being one of the stronger examples and now Divergent following close by. Where Hunger Games (movies) has actually kind meandered in showing what the best of us can do in adversity and a world that wants to devour of us; Divergent takes a different tact. They introduce a fascinating caste system (classism?) and promptly throw it out the window with the main character. Yes my review is still spoiler free, if you didn’t know she was different, then you haven’t watched a trailer of this yet and its been nearly a year since the first one. Statue of limitations is past. Deal.

Evan Daughtry (Snow White and the Huntsman, Bay’s TMNT) and Vanessa Taylor (three episodes of Game  of Thrones as a writer and 20  episodes of producer credits) have the task of converting twenty five year old Veronica Roths novels to film. As discussed before it is not an easy task. To be honest, I am not 100% sure they were up to it. Let me explain. Vampire Academy is an abomination of adaptation. It fails on more levels than it succeeds in taking the heart, soul and characters and bringing them to screen. It lacks subtlety in any way shape or form and you may feel dumber (or insulted) for watching it. Hunger Games (book 1) is a near perfect adaptation in terms of book to script to screen. There is very little actually cut from the story and the essence of what was trying to be told was brought to the screen.

In Divergent, we have the story of Tris a girl born to at once the lowest caste and the highest. When being tested and eventually choosing her caste for herself, she goes against the grain and adopts a new family forsaking her life and family before. In the course of training to become one with her new caste she truly comes to understand herself and her true nature. It helps to have a mentor along the way and she finds that in Four. While the discovery of self develops, there are machinations of the castes and politics of a different nature occurring that she is caught up in.

At the end of the movie I had an overwhelming sense of…meh. I wanted to care what happened next. I wanted to care and see more, but I didn’t. That is why I think the writers failed. when I read the book, I hope I can say they did what they could with what they had; but I have a feeling this isn’t the strongest adaptation out there. It’s still a  magnitude better than Vampire Academy or the movie that shares a title with the Max Brooks classic. Even not reading the books I know it is a better adaptation than those two repugnant pieces of cinema.

So if the script wasn’t to blame, then perhaps the directing? Neil Burger, best known for Limitless and the Illusionist (the less glitzy version of The Prestige), is the man to blame I think. He got some things right, but his sense of pacing is way off. The movie runs two hours and twenty minutes and it feels it. The best movies can run that long without the audience noticing. I noticed somewhere around the half way point that they were in no way even close to tying up this story. Its true in keeping with the amount of information in a novel it can increase running time, but a clever or skilled director knows how to mask that. Burger isn’t quite up to the task either. The shots are pretty, the direction of the actors is actually very well done, but the overall pacing allowed me to disengage from the story too often. A real problem towards the climax of the film. There are also some editing, continuity and logic fails that left me wondering.

The acting though. well…what to say there?

FINALLY. Finally a movie that isn’t starring Jennifer Lawrence or Chloe Grace Moretz where the younger (not teen) actors are not card board cut outs. actually in some films the cut outs might have more range. Divergent is not that film. All of the actors do their part and make it work. Shailene Woodley (Tris) who is relatively unknown unless you watched The Descendants or Secret Life of the American Teenager is able to carry the film. She brings the right emotions at the right times. Little body language ticks, eye movements, tears brimming, even posture and walk are spot on. She is engaging. She is believable. Her doubts and the fears she does have are played out beautifully as the character transitions due to her acting. She is also one of the strongest female characters I’ve seen of late that isn’t named Katniss. Theo James (Four) who really only has Underworld Awakening (yummy vampire…bad Jess) to his credit also has an amazing range displayed for someone trying to be stoic. While not as refined as Woodley he is just as engaging and worth watching in the time he is on camera. I have to admit, he’s not bad to just watch either. His acting though lets him bring both a certain physicality his role seems to call for and vulnerability in the right moments.

The remainder of the cast left me a little surprised in the opening credits. Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney (Reacher, I Frankenstein),  Ray Stevenson (Thor, the Punisher was almost unrecognizable), Zoe Kravitz (X-Men First Class), Miles Teller (Footloose, That Awkward Moment), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal, Last Samurai, Ghost), Maggie Q (Nikita, Preist) and Kate Winslet (her heart did not go on) cover the majority of the other roles. Most of them are playing their stereotypes well. To say they were anything other than stereotypes would be disingenous. I like and hate the characters accordingly and find that their performances are everything that they SHOULD be, and I really cannot ask for more than that; and I shouldn’t.

From an technical standpoint, seeing a post apocalyptic chicago was interesting. They did a good job crafting that and setting the stage for the world without going into too much exposition to explain it. The visuals tell a story all their own and thats what they should do. Wardrobe and make up were solid and I have to admit it was nice to see people in NOT black leather jackets at all times. The zip line scene was quite fun and might even be interesting in 3D. It’s something I would do.

That’s my final point before I get near the end (oh hush, I know this is a long one). Movies are about escapism to a point. While I don’t escape into this world as easily as I do others like City of Bones or Beautiful Creatures; I found myself wondering where I would be in this world. Dead probably. That said, it created enough of a world that while I wouldn’t want to go there, I could imagine it well enough to find myself there for two and a half hours. No mean feat really. I didn’t find myself wanting to beat the main character senseless for bad decisions, also a plus. In these facets the movie actually succeeds. It both comments on the class-ism of modern american society, gives an escape and entertains while it potentially informs. It does what a good movie should do.

TL;DR? (finally right?)

Divergent is a good movie. As I just said above, it does what a good movie should. It has the potential to inform you if you look beyond the cover, it can entertain you and can give you an escape from your own world for just a bit. It’s a nice place to visit, but you sure as hell wouldn’t want to live there. If you do, I am concerned for your well being.

Can I recommend it for everyone? No. It has problems in it’s execution that are enough that I wouldn’t highly recommend it. This isn’t Frozen or Avengers. This isn’t quite Hunger Games either and again thats to its benefit.

If you were already interested, you can breathe a sigh of relief.It is absolutely family friendly, but I saw someone’s face melt (Raiders) when I was five and was ok with it.

If you were curious, I can say give it a shot. You can even pay full price and not feel bad for it.

If you were not interested to begin with, you won’t be still and will likely find more flaws in it than I did.

After 300, Need for Speed (still surprised there) and now Divergent March has turned out to be a really good month. Here’s hoping the trend continues!

Darke Reviews – I Frankenstein (2014)

This one is coming a lot later than it’s release date, but judging from the Box Office none of you have seen it. I suppose that counts for something? Every bit of word of mouth review I have heard for this film said it was god awful. I even heard it hit 0% on Rotten Tomatoes for a bit; though I can’t verify that as I don’t check other reviews before writing my own. I will stand by that til the day I die (not that death is really something I consider a limitation). Honestly due to the word of mouth alone going into this I expected the worst. The trailers didn’t do it much justice, despite the fact this is from the producers of Underworld; a film series which I rather enjoy for all it does bring.

Lets talk about the writer, Kevin Grevioux (Underworld) and the concepts he wanted to bring to screen. I discussed earlier the fact that Robocop also wanted to address the element of What does it mean to be a man? Where Robocop plodded along and refused to get to the point on that concept like some petulant child, I Frankenstein goes the other way. The movie has more exposition than anything I’ve seen recently, what keeps it from being painful is the fact that between the exposition is light tension and some relatively beautiful fight sequences. The entire concept of the film seems to revolve around the concept of the soul and does a man like Frankensteins Monster have one? What is it that makes him what he is? Is he a man, he is certainly not human, nor infernal, nor divine. Each scene of exposition seems to tie back to this basic concept; as do most of the relevant plot points. In this the movie succeeds heads above Robocop. Its also somewhat clumsy at times with it and a nasty habit of too much dialogue when they bother with it and dialogue said without a soul behind it.

Sadly that falls on the director and additional screenplay credit Stuart Beattie. It saddens me how hollow this one is when you compare it to other works he has done, such as “Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl” and a movie few of you have seen but all of you should, “Tomorrow, when the War Began”. TWWB is Red Dawn told better. It is shot beautifully, the characters are endearing and cover the gamut of what youd expect, but it does so much right and has actual heart to it. That is what saddens me about I,F. It has no heart, no soul of its own, which is ironic in a movie about a mans quest for a soul. It comes across too paint by numbers and a slight variation on Underworld; enough so that they could be in the same universe.

How you ask?

This is the story of a centuries old secret war between two diametrically opposed forces. Both sides become curious about a single individual with the intention on capturing and controlling him to give their side the advantage in the war. Be that advantage as a basis for a psuedo science experiment to create an ubermensch or just a weapon that can defeat the enemy. The “choosen one” wants to decide his own destiny and after resisting finally joins the war but on his own terms and his own side.

Which film did I describe? You can’t tell and thats a problem. A saving grace of the I,F story is the fact that they don’t deal with the Jesus metaphor in the central character that was ripe for the picking.

The acting is all over the place in the movie, which doesn’t help enhance the story. You have cases for overacting, underacting and people who are just phoning it in. Aaron Eckhardt as the Monster, decides to go for the underacting and apparently wants to show he could have played Batman as well. He is quiet, brooding and barely says a word focusing instead on long glares through his eyebrows. Jai Courtney (the abomination called the 5th Die Hard film) also went to the underacting school; though in his case I don’t know if its underacting or that he may infact be an animate mannequin. Bill Nighy showed up for the paycheck and decided to do what he does best and be the most awesome thing on screen. I really want to see a film with him and Gary Oldman, that would be fun to watch. Miranda Otto (Eowyn from Lord of the Rings) has not aged well the past few years, but tries her best and at least does well when she’s working with Eckhardt and showing the others how it’s done. Then there is Yvonne Starhovski (Chuck for some of you, Miranda from Mass Effect 2/3 for others) as Terra. I swear this girl cannot help taking roles where she’s reanimating the dead. She, like Otto, tries her best to play the role and pulls off a believable scientist. The movie thankfully only teases a bit of romantic or sexual tension between Terra and the Monster, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude. It would have worked, but also would have been entirely unnessecary.

As far as the effects go, the transformation from Gargoyle/Angel to Human is one of the more beautiful effects I have seen and works in every situation. Conversely, the human to demon transition does not work nearly as well. The look of the Gargoyles themselves are mediocre at best. The Weapons and other technical effects are loaded with the traditional Underworld pretty but not practical factor. I also am left with questions on the housing market in Eastern Europe after watching it as nearly every building looks as if it should be condemned.

TL;DR time? I suppose.

I, Frankenstein is actually watchable if you enjoyed the Underworld series. Its light, its fluffy and makes for great background noise if you watch it on DVD or Netflix – which is its most likely venue for most people.

I cant say you need to see this film in good concience. but its certainly not the worst thing this year. It currently is floating on the top of the flotsam and jetsam of rubbish we have been delivered by Hollywood thus far. Wait for Redbox or Netflix folks.

I am hoping, though it is likely in vain, that 300 Rise of an Empire (I’d have preferred Battle of Artemisia its original title) coming in March will be the first film I can recommend with my soul ( stop laughing) intact.

Darke Reviews – A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Have you ever cooked your favorite meal, or ordered it from a restaurant and brought it home only to forget about it and have it go bad on you? That face you make when you open the container and smell how rotten its gotten? That moment of despair when something you truly enjoyed has gone bad? The vain hope that some part of it can be salvaged….?

That’s how I felt watching this movie. I love the original Die Hard, it is a Christmas tradition in my home. Die Hard II, still excellent and often quoted. Die Hard 3, less so, but it has it’s moments. Die Hard IV….well that’s when the meal started to go bad. This….this is Rancid.

Every good Die Hard film has an “every man” that you can relate to in John McClane. He is a man who is placed into situations beyond his control and you root for him to survive. The odds are nigh impossible, yet to a certain Hollywood logic plausible. THe world is “ours” with just the slightest nudge into action fantasy. These situations pushed our every man to his limits and nearly broke his body and his will. We were with him all the way.

That’s where Die Hard 5 begins to fail. He delivers himself into the situation and stops being our every man. He becomes a typical action hero walking away from not one, but two accidents and an explosion with nary a scratch. Thats in the first twenty minutes. To be honest I nearly walked out then…but I had to see the train wreck through to the end.

It didn’t get better. Yes he does get injured, but this was a nightmare of his own making with a contrived plot that suffers under the weight of it’s own BS. The movie does surprise me at least once, but that was it.

The rest of it was an action movie with Bruce Willis. Had it not been called Die Hard anything I might have enjoyed it a bit more. This was actually a better Bourne film than the most recent one.

If you are a completest and have no choice but to see it. I am sorry for you. If you are a Bruce Willis fan and just don’t care that it’s titled Die Hard, you will get a Matinee’s moneys worth.

Otherwise…steer clear of this. Go see Warm Bodies or wait a few weeks for one of the major March releases. Tomorrow evening I plan to see Beautiful Creatures and hopefully am less disappointed in that then I was this …thing they called a Die Hard film.