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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 and James: 
		<b>James, Son of Alphaeus:</b> We know nothing of this man except his name, and of course the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Clopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater. 
<p><b>Philip:</b> Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him directly, whereupon he sought out Nathanael and told him of the “one about whom Moses wrote” (John 1:45). </p><p>Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. St. John comments, “[Jesus] said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (John 6:7). </p><p>John’s story is not a put-down of Philip. It was simply necessary for these men who were to be the foundation stones of the Church to see the clear distinction between humanity’s total helplessness apart from God and the human ability to be a bearer of divine power by God’s gift. </p><p>On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way...If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6a, 7). Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Enough! Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9a). </p><p>Possibly because Philip bore a Greek name or because he was thought to be close to Jesus, some Gentile proselytes came to him and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip went to Andrew, and Andrew went to Jesus. Jesus’ reply in John’s Gospel is indirect; Jesus says that now his “hour” has come, that in a short time he will give his life for Jew and Gentile alike.</p> American Catholic Blog Only in human weakness do many of us begin to rely on God and explicitly repudiate our own divine ambitions. Every pain alerts us to the fact that we are not the Almighty.

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