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:
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.)
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…”
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).
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.
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.”
Score: 3 out of 5 stars for A Good Day to Die Hard
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer