In what I believe is a brilliant marketing scheme, we have two very different movies opening up on Valentine's Day. Clearly the movie execs are trying to market to each gender here. I had the chance to see both. Here are my reviews...
My Review: The Die Hard franchise may have outlived it's welcome. I thought the last installment held up pretty well, but this latest edition, "A Good Day To Die Hard," doesn't do John McClane justice.
Don't get me wrong, if you're a single dude that would rather spend Valentine's day in the movie theater instead of on your couch, this will satisfy your need for excessive destruction and explosions. The trouble is, that's all the movie has. The other Die Hard movies have a plot (as ridiculous as they may be) and they keep you engaged. "A Good Day," just kind of starts and ends with no clear goal in mind. Bruce Willis' famous character, "John McClane," seems to be going through the motions without much energy. The addition of Jai Courtney as McClane's estranged son sounds like a cool idea at first, but it falls short of creating any extra drama. However, I do get the feeling they may have been setting Courtney up to take over the franchise.
If you're looking for a lot of action, explosions and death, this movie will be right up your alley. If you're hoping for another classic Die Hard movie, you might be better off breaking out your DVD copies of the previous films.
My Review: It's a movie based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. I could probably end the review there. The phrase, "It's exactly what you would expect it to be," comes to mind. It's so predictable that it's not even that romantic. And that's coming from a guy that loves chick flicks. We all know how the film is going to develop but it seems to take fooooreeevvver to do so. Here's the basic idea of the story: Katie (Hough) leaves Boston after a traumatizing experience. She finds herself in a seaside town in North Carolina where she runs into Alex (Duhamel). The two slowly fall in love before something from Katie's past comes back to haunt her. There is a twist or two that could be viewed as strange or super romantic, depending on your opinion. I won't giveaway the ending, but if you've ever seen (or read) a Nicholas Sparks movie, you already know how it's going to end up.
Josh Duhamel is a very likeable guy. He comes across as the boy next door, and that's exactly what he needs to be in "Safe Haven." Julianne Hough is a very talented and beautiful woman, but there's nothing about her that really pulls me in. I don't think she quite has that leading lady attraction. She does a fine job in this film, but it could have been anyone in that role.
I think "Safe Haven" is more of a movie that you catch on ABC Family when you wake up late on Sunday morning and don't feel like getting out of bed. I mean, not that I do that or anything...unless it's a Bring It On Cheer-A-Thon. All bets are off during one of those.