Strip Mining Yippikiyay: the Film Doctor's one sentence review of A Good Day to Die Hard
'Tis a melancholy thing to brood upon A Good Day to Die Hard's vision of American befuddled balding male machismo, this barren culturally illiterate depiction of Russia, a celebration of American xenophobia in which McClane yells out "You think I understand a word you say?" after knocking a random Muscovite out, this bleak traffic-congested Moscow of numbingly repetitive car crashes and heroes falling through glass over and over, a grim mid-August would-be blockbuster released in February with a high-pitched orchestral score conveying heightened continual excitement, the movie a large, unwieldy tanklike object with saturated marketing conning viewers into witnessing aging action tropes (a plunge into a bullet-ridden bar echoing The Fifth Element (1997)) as it purveys cold war nostalgia, a dream of boomer dads awkwardly reconciling with their progeny mixed in with triumphalist Reagan-era fantasies of an aging empire too stupefied with its CGI explosions to recognize how its sequelitis mirrors its obsolescence, so yeah, sure, gramps has still got it even as Willis cashes in on all of the good will he has generated since appearing in Moonrise Kingdom and Looper when he squints and mutters lines like "You are gonna shoot your father?" and "I believed work was all that mattered" and "I love you, boy" and "Let's go kill some of those bad guys" (the movie would benefit from having no dialogue) as a vacuum cleaner-esque machine neutralizes (!) Chernobyl radiation just before John McClane hangs off the back end of a military Russki helicopter spinning around helplessly, committing copter-harakiri as this poor bludgeoned moviegoer prays that perhaps, somewhere, somehow, some day, a 20th Century Fox studio executive weeps for strip mining the last vestiges of a viewer's affection for the 1988 Die Hard.
Endings: Stanley Kubrick's The Killing
From my piece in the May issue of Sight & Sound, out on stands now, the ending of Stanley Kubrick's the Killing. Nicely edited for space (yes, I went over wo...