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Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

February 15, 2013


A Good Day to Die Hard

  • Starring: Bruce Willis (Die Hard), Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher), Sebastian Koch (Unknown) and more.
  • Directed by: John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines)
  • Synopsis: “Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane, for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack–unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable hero.” (-Collider)
  • Rated: Rated R for language and violence.
  • Must-Watch Trailer:
  • Review:

Back in 1988 an action icon was born when director John McTiernan brought Detective John McClane to New York City. Based on the 1979 book Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard immediately won over audiences with its bombastic style, fun one-liners and classic bad guys with accents (incidentally, Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber is one of the best movie villains of all time.)

not in this movie

not in this movie

That film went on to receive the “copycat” treatment as the list of movies about a good guy locked in a building with tons of bad guys and having to fight his way to the main boss in order to defeat them and/or save plenty of innocents is pretty long (most recently with Dredd, The Raid, and almost any Jason Statham film. Die Hard also went on to receive the “sequel treatment” with A Good Day to Die Hard being the fifth in the series of the cowboy cop without a horse who shouts “Yippie ki yay…” diehardcb11

Most would agree that no other Die Hard film matches up to the original. Some have tried, but none have succeeded. (Let me point out that that isn’t necessarily the goal of the sequels, and nor should it be, but comparisons will inevitably always be made.) A Good Day to Die Hard brings the chuckles, the explosions, the gunfights and the drama, but still lacks the big bada boom to carry it over to being a great action film (see what I did there? “big bada boom” reference to ANOTHER great Bruce Willis movie!).

Interestingly enough, while so many films copy the original Die Hard and find success, A Good Day to Die Hard ditches the formula and copies so many other films that we have seen…making it rather dull and disappointing. Don’t get me wrong. Sure, I enjoyed the action, the gunfights, etc. There were times I said to myself “Oh wow! That’s pretty cool.” and found myself surprised at a couple of the explosive stunts and high flying deaths. But all that occurs amid some rather lazy writing, predictable plots, misplaced moments of drama/touchy-feely-ness, and nigh useless characters (I’m pointing at your character, Mary Elizabeth Winstead whose acting I enjoy in other roles but was unimportant in this film altogether, not much unlike in Live Free or Die Hard).

Why am I in this movie again, Bruce?

Why am I in this movie again, Bruce?

Now, Bruce does what he does and its fun to watch. Some of his antics that, unfortunately make it hard to distinguish between some of his other movie characters, are also the antics that we forgivably and expectedly love to watch. Yes, he has his catch phrases, and, yes, he is a far better 50+ year old action star than good ol’ Sly and Arnie, but how many times can he keep surviving those multi-floor level jumps to the ground and not break a single bone in his body?

The only other actor worth of mention in this shoddy sequel is Jai Courtney who looks the part and plays the role of John McClane II quite well. He and Willis play great off of each other and bring a true sense of estranged father and son forcibly working together. It works and the film loses no points with me over his casting in the part.good-day-to-die-hard-jai-courtney-bruce-willis

So, in conclusion-

A Good Day to Die Hard: a step up from some of the more recent action films and installments of the Die Hard franchise. An unnecessary sequel except to serve as a memory eraser for the sequel before it. A popcorn flick full of exciting explosions, gunfights, and comedic jabs/one-liners that pulls no punches in its lack of consistently good CGI effects, original plot, twists and characters. A disappointment overall, but still a fun one. (I’d say I’m still on track with my predictions of disappointing 2013 movies). Worth a watch but if you want true “Die Hardiness”, then watch the original. I kind of want this franchise to die, but it is proving to be true to its name as Willis announced there will be a 6th.

I only have one thing to say to that: “Yippie ki yay.”

good day

Score: out of 5 stars for A Good Day to Die Hard


Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

T, The Focused Filmographer

30 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2013 9:12 am

    This is, so far, one of the kindest reviews I’ve read for this film. I had actually planned on seeing it tonight, but the change in rating and recent reviews just put me off a little bit! They shouldn’t have, but they did.


    • February 15, 2013 9:15 am

      I wanted to give it a lower score, but running it through my system and thinking back on the moments that DID keep my attention (with also the memory of some of the other sequels) it’s still not GREAT, but it’s not as bad as some of the other reviews I have since read. I noticed the BIG difference in the RT scores between critics and audiences. WOW.

      Let me know what you think when you see it. There’s plenty to poke about, but it’s not bad and gets a “just above average” score for me because of it. but you gotta turn off your brain to watch it.


  2. theipc permalink
    February 15, 2013 9:16 am

    I agree with Jaina – everyone I read has been pounding this movie as stupid and senseless. I have high hopes because I love this franchise.


    • February 18, 2013 11:16 pm

      It’s not the best of the franchise to be sure. But it’s also not the worst. turn off your brain and you will enjoy it more. LOL


  3. February 15, 2013 9:38 am

    Nice review T, still don’t think I’ll be checking it out though, it seems to have fallen too far from glory. Maybe a rental when it’s on DVD I reckon.


    • February 18, 2013 11:17 pm

      Thanks. Yeah, I totally get that. a rental would be fun, with friends. I think that’s appropriate!


  4. February 15, 2013 9:53 am

    So glad to read this review. I’m really worried about this film and need something to lift my spirits before I see it this weekend! 🙂


    • February 19, 2013 7:31 am

      I hope you were able to enjoy it man. It’s getting reamed by plenty of critics. I still had fun.


      • February 19, 2013 7:33 am

        Review went up today. Not exactly what I hoped for.


      • February 19, 2013 8:19 am

        I’ll be by to check it out!


  5. February 15, 2013 10:35 am

    Yeah, wow. I wasn’t that impressed. Im at more like a 2 out of 5 😦

    I thought the plot was boring, and the action scenes all felt as if we’d “Been there done that”.

    Glad you dug it though T


    • February 15, 2013 12:39 pm

      Yeah. I feel ya. As I said, it was a disappointment overall, but it was fun to an extent. A few moments were pretty enjoyable. It’s def more fun for the audiences than for the critics. There was a lot of recycling. Thanks for reading/commenting


      • February 20, 2013 6:57 am

        Of course. My pleasure… 😉


    • February 19, 2013 7:33 am

      The plot was seemingly pulled from the bottom of a bag of recycled plots for sure, but it was still fun. Had it not been for Bruce Willis I don’t think that would’ve stayed true.


  6. Chris permalink
    February 15, 2013 10:36 am

    So it’s a generic, uninspired action movie that does nothing to connect to or realize the die hard brand except that it has Bruce Willis and he says yippie Kay yay? Yeah. That’s about why I thought it would be. Gonna be a pass for me I think.


    • February 19, 2013 7:34 am

      haha. thanks for reading my thoughts. I am def in the minority and I still didn’t give it a RAVING review! 🙂


  7. February 18, 2013 9:20 am

    I feel much the same as you.


    • February 19, 2013 8:13 am

      HOORAY! ianthecool, your name lies not! haha.

      yeah, I still enjoyed this one even with its faults. It’s not the best by far, but better than average on the fun scale! Thanks for commenting


  8. February 18, 2013 8:56 pm

    Hmm. OK, not great, not very Die Hard-esque. Sounds like about what I would have expected, considering the last one.


    • February 19, 2013 8:18 am

      that’s true, Morgan. I can agree that it’s not very “Die Hard-esque” as is the case with most sequels that stray from their original (Fast & Furious, Mission Impossible, etc).

      Still better than the last one for sure. Thanks for commenting


      • February 19, 2013 8:21 am

        Pfft. The first Mission Impossible wasn’t very Mission Impossible-esque. 😛


      • February 19, 2013 8:22 am

        hahaha. well, they got less and less MI-esque as they progressed! and as much as people like 3, I concede it is a good action flick, but far from even the first one!


  9. February 20, 2013 6:30 pm

    There is no way this film is better than Live Free of Die Hard.


    • February 24, 2013 6:39 am

      haha. well, that’s a matter of opinion. LOL but i was more entertained with this one


  10. May 17, 2013 2:18 am

    Wow, quite a high score. Personally I thought it was horrible, there aren’t many moments I could enjoy and McClane constantly shouting that he was on vacation (which he wasn’t since he went there to help his son) got annoying.


    • May 17, 2013 10:46 am

      It had its useless and mundane to be sure. Parts that just annoyed. 3/5 isn’t a GREAT score. it’s a C. but I know exactly what you mean and don’t disagree with anyone that hated it.



  1. A Good Day To Die Hard Review: Not a Great Day for John McClane | Rorschach Reviews
  2. Movie News Monday for February 18, 2013. « The Focused Filmographer
  3. A Good Day To Die Hard Review | The Filmster
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