The Die Hard franchise is one of the most beloved action series. Who doesn’t like seeing an everyman fight bad guys and win? Well, apparently the people behind A Good Day to Die Hard don’t. John McClane has turned into a superhero, which turns this movie into a horrible one.
The plot is more 80′s than the original Die Hard. Some Russians are on the verge of getting nukes, and they are going to use them. On who? It’s never really made certain. The threat doesn’t feel substantial, when the actors are trying their hardest to make it feel that way. The audience is more focused on the McClane boys and their antics. There are a few plot twists that come out of left field, and the audience can’t help but laugh and not care. They don’t feel earned or have any weight to them. A Good Day instead focuses more on John and his son Jack. The father/son hate feels awkward. Jack doesn’t have much of a reason to hate John, other than he worked a lot. In Live Free or Die Hard, his daughter wasn’t the biggest fan of him, but loved him none the less. This would have been a better plot point for Jack.
If there is going to be another movie in this series, whoever writes it needs to watch the original three movies a few times before picking up a pen. John McClane is a badass, but he is not a superhero. The last movie, Live Free or Die Hard, had McClane doing some above and beyond things, but he was mostly grounded. In A Good Day, he is jumping off of ten story buildings and lands barely scratched. It doesn’t feel like the Die Hard of old. The original is a classic because McClane was running around and hiding in air vents, something anyone in the audience would do. McClane was the everyman that we could relate too. The global scale of the threat is also something that should go. It relates back to an everyman scenario. An audience will not believe that a New York City cop could help save the world. He might be able to git rid of terrorists in a building, but he won’t survive Uranium exploding around him.
Skip Woods, of X-Men Origins: Wolverine fame, writes a horribly bland script. It’s filled with too many old jokes, something The Last Stand recently did wrong. We get it, McClane is getting up there in age, and he is on vacation. There is no need to remind the audience every ten seconds. It doesn’t make us believe what is going on more. Jack’s lack of development is the main problem. He just doesn’t feel like a McClane. Where is the wit? Where is the banter? There is plenty of it for John, but that might be due to Bruce Willis’ charm and improv. The villains only speak in 80′s villains cliches. You’d think they were being payed by the cliche, without how many the commit in an hour and a half film. McClane only says his catchphrase once. Yes, he does say the curse at the end, something Live Free or Die Hard didn’t do until the DVD release.
John Moore directs a very erratic film. There is a massive chase scene near the beginning, which would have looked great if Moore could have held the camera still for a second. Everything is blurry, making the fight impossible to understand.
The music is worth noting, as it seems to take samples from other movies. At different points, I heard James Bond, Harry Potter, and what I think was Star Wars. I wasn’t the only person to hear the similarities either. It is surprising that the Die Hard franchise doesn’t have it’s own melody at this point in its history.
Bruce Willis easily slips back into John McClane. While he may be a borderline superhero now, McClane is just as likable. His sharp wit and never ending one liners keeps the audience watching when they desperately want to stop. Jai Courtney is unbearable to watch as Jack. His delivery is stilted to an almost humorous point. Willis and Courtney have little to no chemistry. Even when the two are trading one liners in the middle of a big action scene, they do not seem like father and son. Courtney would have been better as a random CIA agent who McClane just happened to have bumped into on his vacation in Russia. Sebastian Koch, the main Russian, is barely there. He is a plot point, and his acting proves it. Yuliya Snigir plays Koch’s daughter, but the audience can call her bluffs a mile away. And that is not due to the script.
While I have had nothing but bad things to say about this movie, it is worth mentioning that I did not check my phone once. Usually I check to see how much time we have left in the movie, since I probably had a large soda and need to urinate. But my eyes were at the screen the entire time. There is some fun to be had in this movie, only if the audience doesn’t compare it to the previous movies in this franchise.
A Good Day to Die Hard gets 2/5.
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