A Good Day to Die Hard – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

gooddayA Good Day to Die Hard – 2/5 – Unwanted sequels; these are the kinds of movies that make you shake your head, questioning why someone would create a film that is unwarranted.  When it comes to film series, some sequels are welcomed, but others aren’t.  One reason that sequels aren’t welcome is because the major story points have been finished, with no legs to carry on.  When it comes to Die Hard, the first one in the series is a classic.  We have gotten a few sequels; with some being comparable to the classic (Die Hard with a Vengeance).  When it comes to this new incarnation of Die Hard, I can honestly say it is the worst of them all.  With sloppy action, conflicting acting and generic story development, A Good Day to Die hard is a film that shouldn’t have been made.

Premise: The cop who take-no-prisoners John McClane (Bruce Willis), finds himself on foreign soil.  John has traveled to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack (Jai Courtney). He is unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.

The obvious and most important character in the film is John McClane.  In the role, we have an older but wiser Bruce Willis.  Even though majority of the movie is terrible, Willis as McClane isn’t.  As the previous four films, Willis brings you a character that is a witty but arrogant cop.  A layer that is introduced in this film is that you have an older John McClane.  As this older individual, he provides some insight into all the hectic and craziness that happens around him and his son.  As always, he provides the typical one-liners and ‘Yippee Kiya …’ line at the end to certify it as a ‘Die Hard’ movie.  Bruce Willis, in general, does a good job in the role.  The only issue that I have with his character in this film is a combination of his presence in the story (later on in the review) and his chemistry with his son, Jack.  Jack is played by Jai Courtney.  He provides the same kind of arrogance, like his father.  In his arrogance and ‘machismo’, he does well in complimenting John in behavior and antics.  Beyond this, his lack of chemistry with Willis is obvious on screen.  This hinders his performance, and provides an unbelievable look at the ‘father-son’ dynamic.  The lack-there-of connection hurts the characters and story developments through most of the film.   Beyond these two characters, the rest of the cast is less than stellar.  You have pretty much just one-dimensional extra characters, which could have been found in a generic TV crime drama (CIA agents, dumb citizens, and even dumber conniving bad guys).  Out of these archetypes, the horrible acting is shown very vividly in the antagonists.  Unlike other Die Hard films, there isn’t a clear cut villain.  You have a trivial story of rival Russians that are causing a stir-up, where the McClanes get involved.  In having too many heads in the basket as a villain, it causes a convoluted complex of villains, which all eventually become throwaway characters.  You don’t feel threaten or their importance to the story.  This is also another hindrance to the film, bringing it further down in its production.

When it comes to the direction and story, it is just a mess of storytelling and execution.  The premise of the film has the generic formula of basic action films:

Item of importance

Some villain want’s item

Operative stands in the way of item

Over the top action sequences

In the first half of the film, these four items become the starting points.  The generic feel you have gets injected under the ‘Die Hard’ banner.  Because of these elements being mixed in, John McClane, as a character, gets lost in the generalities, making him lose his feel and purpose in this specific film.  He gets delegated as a ‘secondary’ person, causing frustration for commonalities as well as cohesion between the him being the real ‘main character’ to the story.  Another big annoyance of the films first half is it’s overdependence to action sequence.  An example is there’s a 15 minute stretch of a car chase in Moscow, which becomes overblown and unimaginable.  These feelings cause a numbing of the mind within 5 minutes of the chase.  This over-the-top mentality degrades the film, and hurts any connection to any characters but the McClanes.  Once the film gets pass a certain point in the film, storytelling elements are slowly implemented, and you start to get the witty dialogue and slick humor that you expect in a Die Hard film.  The connection of the McClanes is very lacking (as explained above) but eventually starts to build, and the lack-there-of feeling slowly fades.  The chemistry still doesn’t hitch up very well, but you accept it for the sake of the film.  As the film continues, you have convenient plot devices, and lucky ‘situations’ that will eventually lead to the climax.  In the last act of the film, there is a quick twist that causes a water down feeling, and additional ‘numbing’ action sequences.  By the end, you get your generic ‘saves the day’ scenario, a Yippee Kiyay and an eventual predictable abrupt end.

The cinematography is decent in the film.  You have a good backdrop of Moscow and ‘Russia’ in general, helping you add some believability to the story and situations happening in the film.  Score is ill relevant to everything in the film.

Overall, this film is mind numbing and a waste of the Die Hard mantra.  Bruce Willis is good in the role as John McClane, but that is the only bright spot.  With terrible action sequences, bad acting and wasted villains, this is a film that shouldn’t have been made.  If you’re a fan of Die Hard, you can go to it as an early day outing, but don’t waste your time if you’re looking for a good action film.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *