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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

A Good Day to Die Hard

By
Adam Shaw
Source: Catholic News Service


Jai Courtney and Bruce Willis star in a scene from the movie "A Good Day to Die Hard."
The quarter-century-old action franchise that started with 1988's "Die Hard" seems to have reached its own death throes with "A Good Day to Die Hard" (Fox). This fifth installment rests on the premise that killing can be an awful lot of fun.

New York detective and series protagonist John McClane (Bruce Willis) is on the trail of his son Jack (Jai Courtney) who appears to have gotten in with the wrong crowd in Moscow. Things in Mother Russia are not what they seem, however, and an explosives-ridden car chase reveals that the elder McClane has underestimated his offspring.

Mostly reconciled, despite some lingering resentment, Dad and Junior team up to protect a government whistleblower named Komarov (Sebastian Koch) from a variety of villains. In the process, of course, they kick up just the kind of carnage that made the quartet of earlier flicks box-office gold.

In a misguided attempt to keep the proceedings light-hearted, director John Moore presents a jaunty view of bloodletting. And, on occasion, he invites the audience to revel in the mayhem; slow-motion death scenes make an obvious appeal to moviegoers' basest, most visceral instincts.

The rudimentary efforts at character development in Skip Woods' screenplay, meanwhile, are drowned amidst a murky tide of run-and-gun action.

The film contains constant violence, some of it gory, occasional profanity, frequent rough and crude language and two obscene gestures. The Catholic News Service classification is L—limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

*****
Adam Shaw is a guest reviewer for Catholic News Service.





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Philip Neri: Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise. 
<p>At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time—that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate. </p><p>As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip’s appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome. </p><p>At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led “excursions” to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way. </p><p>Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip’s followers, and composed music for the services. </p><p>The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.) </p><p>Philip’s advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.</p> American Catholic Blog We need do no more than we are doing at present; that is, to love divine Providence and abandon ourselves in his arms and heart.<br />—St. Padre Pio

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