Myopic fanboys largely just complained that this didn't have enough profanity, but as an exciting look at another bad day for Willis' John McClane, this does the trick. Wiseman's competent handling of action scenes is bolstered by Willis' enthusiastic performance, while the pacing makes it feel leaner than it actually is. Serious foul with the fighter jet/semi-truck battle, though, a scene so stupid and unnecessary that it nearly wrecks the climax.
Kurt Russell always sat on the periphery of the A-list, a charming lead, convincing macho man, and fine actor, a household name yet never the sort of star who put asses in the seats by his name alone. This movie features perhaps his defining performance as Snake Plissken, a gunfighter whose ruthlessness is weighted by a conscience, a dry joker who cares for the decent people who cross his path and yet is content to watch the whole world come crashing down. People are worth saving, humanity isn't, every good anti-hero knows. Expect this role at the top of Russell's obituary, and with good reason.