A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
When long time police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) learns that his only son Jack (Jai Courtney) is in trouble over in Russia, he decides to go on “vacation” and help his son. Once he gets there, he discovers his son is working for the CIA and in the middle of obtaining evidence to put a really really bad guy in jail for making top grade weapons and explosives. Just as expected, tons of gun fights and explosions ensue as John and Jack knock down everyone who stands in their way.
As most of my friends and family know (and all my dedicated readers who have been to my Top 100+ page) know that the original Die Hard film is my favorite film of all time and the 3rd and 4th films are in my list of 100 as well. Hell, I even have a Die Hard wall in my house with all 4 posters! I’ve seen the first 3 films like a billion times and I worked at a movie theater when Live Free or Die Hard hit theaters in 2007 so you know I saw that plenty… for free! You can say I’m kinda an expect on the Die Hard franchise. Having said that, I’d had some high expectations for this 5th film because, let’s face it, after 12 years from the original 3 movie, Live Free or Die Hard was a pleasant surprise for the series and a great movie (and first I saw on the big screen)! So after seeing A Good Day to Die Hard, it was compared heavily to that 2007 entry over all the others.
Some of the key things a great Die Hard movie needs are as followed: Tons of Action, Clever 1-Liners, The Yippy Ki-Yay phrase, and one hell of a likable bad guy. I will give A Good Day to Die Hard quality achievements in 1/4 of those things. This movie has tons of action and thrilling moments. I mean after the boring opening that is 10 minutes, we proceed to see some explosions and a 20 minute car chase! Sadly, the action is the only thing in this movie that I would call “Die Hard” like even if it does take a while to get going (the first one starts out a tad slow too). The 1-liners are funny at times, but where they once seemed flawless and well inserted, they now seem forced and awkward. The Yippy Ki-Yay phrase is less dramatic as it was in Live Free or Die Hard, and more just another comment out of McClane’s mouth like in the first movie (which was before it was a coined “phrase” so the first gets a pass). I think I just loved the way the dialogue was written in Live Free or Die Hard for that special line and I will always love that ending. Lastly, and this is where A Good Day to Die Hard could have saved itself but fails (as it did the 2nd film), is the likable bad guy. I mean no one will be as great as Alan Rickman in the first, but Jeremy Irons and Timothy Olyphant’s performances in Die Hard with a Vengeance and Live Free or Die Hard were sure up to par for the series. The 2nd movie dropped the ball as far a quality bad guys and now A Good Day to Die Hard gives us no quality counterpart to McClane which lets the air out of the tires. At times, we don’t even know who the true bad guy really is! John McClane needs a witty foe to go up against and here, he is just another guy with a gun, and that isn’t what we want to see. We want to see the chess match like in the first!
When I heard that the guy who destroyed the Max Payne movie was directing this, I was weary, and rightfully so, but when you have to start out the movie by thinking “Where are all the subtitles for the Russian conversations,” I really got worried. With a run time about 30 minutes, shorter than any of the other movies, A Good Day to Die Hard fails with a boring story, not enough clever moments to make us cheer and too many awkward “family” squabbles with horrible acting. As far as an action movie goes, this film entertains (especially compared to a lot of other garbage out there), but as far as a movie branded with the Die Hard name, I couldn’t help but wish for more swagger, more charm and more quality. Co-starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Sebastian Koch, Yulia Snigir, Rasha Bukvic, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco and Roman Luknar.
7/10 Stars – At the end of the day, the “Die Hard” movies are action movies, and this surely is an entertaining action movie, but it comes up short (literally) for the Die Hard brand… and that makes me sad. 🙁 No Die Hard movie should get a 7 from me… and this one did… AVERAGE!
Directed by John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix), A Good Day to Die Hard is a stunning display of cinematic action but a poor display of plot, dialogue and everything that makes a move great. While there are movies that you know are only action and nothing else, i.e. The Expendables, Die Hard is not one of those. Die Hard has always been a franchise that while full of action has had impressive story lines and character development. A Good Day to Die Hard does not live up to its predecessors in this regard. Which for me was a big disappointment. On the plus side the action scenes were awe-inspiring if at times a little too over the top. And Bruce Willis is his fabulous indestructible, smart-ass self. But the writer must have thought Willis was too old to handle the dialogue because I swear he says less than 100 words the whole film. At least the lines he does speak are funny and include few expected sarcastic remarks including Yippee Ki-Yay… Sadly I think that is all the positive aspects for me. Oh and to give you another negative, there is a lot of Russian dialogue and NO subtitles. At first I could how they were doing it for dramatic effect but after and hour of Russian with no translation I was just annoyed. Sadly A Good Day to Die Hard will probably die hard in the box office after word gets out about how below par this film is in comparison to the rest of the franchise.
6/10 Stars – Impressive action and stunts but not an overall impressive movie.
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