Jam packed slate of movies this week. There’s a little something for everyone. We’ve got a Nicholas Sparks for the sappy. Animated for the kids. Another supernatural romance for the teeny-bopper crowd and John McClane for all the true blue, red-blooded Americans out there.
Just remember, I'm not reviewing these movies, but rather predicting where they'll end up on the Tomatometer. Let's take a look at what This Rotten Week has to offer.
A Good Day to Die Hard
“Just a fly in the ointment, Hans. A monkey in the wrench. A pain the ass.” - John McClane
It’d be easy to say John McClane is a hero’s hero, the little guy who steps up and saves the day for no other reason than an overwhelming need for virtue and justice. On the surface he’s the righter of wrongs, foiling a number of terrorist plots through perseverance, brains, a rather itchy trigger finger and as he claims, being a pain in the ass or a nuisance. But that’s a little too simple. Unlike other heroees who are spurred into action by those in need, McClane is often already firmly embedded in the problem by unrelated circumstance or because he’s been called into the fray intentionally by the “bad guy”. I find this fascinating. He really has no corollary in the cinematic world. Rare is the reoccurring protagonist who consistently wants nothing to do with the problem, but nevertheless feels compelled to become part of the solution (at times to diminishing returns).
Which must make a guy like McClane really question his role in the universe. At what point does he begin wondering whether his mere presence in a location is the actual catalyst for disaster. How many terroristic situations can occur before he sees himself as the constant rather than a “pain in the ass” variable? That’s enough of a conundrum to make a guy act a little crazy, or act like John McClane.
In A Good Day to Die Hard it’s a little more of the same, with McClane traveling to Russia to help his son out of a jam. Lo and behold, an incident breaks out, this time centered on little Jack getting all grown up and channeling that inner-McClane sense of “problem” that usually ends with an obscenely high terrorist body count. But it isn’t really like-father-like-son because Jack’s actions appear aggressive and antagonistic whereas Pops is more reactionary. Maybe that’ll make them a good “team”.
What began in Nakatomi Towers has turned John McClane into something of an American icon, in many ways the modern day cowboy (he’s partial to Roy Rogers). And the franchise continues to succeed because McClane’s hero-by-circumstance persona plays perfectly even as the plots escalate and become more and more ridiculous. He started by saving an office building, then an airport, then a city, then the country and now possibly the world. All because he just happened to “be around” when it happened.
The franchise has, on the whole, resonated well with critics. The four installments, Die Hard (94%), Die Hard 2 (66%), Die Hard 3: With a Vengeance (52%), Live Free or Die Hard (81%) fluctuate between “great” and “pretty good” which is never easy over the long haul. I think the latest scores near the bottom edge of the Die Hard range simply because consistency is tough and, really, can the same things keep happening to the same guy? Yippee-ki-yay mother [email protected]#$er. The Rotten Watch for A Good Day to Die Hard is