Hollywood should either get John McTiernan, Jeb Stuart, and Steven de Souza back, or leave the Die Hard franchise alone. These men are the masterminds behind the original film, and while no-one is likely to fully recapture its magic, I’m willing to bet that anything they created would be a whole lot better than A Good Day to Die Hard.
The problems lie within the script. Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney had plenty of acting chops, and a decent chemistry. The two characters had some cute father/son moments, but Jack barely had a personality other than “I hate my dad,” and even John was written as more of a serious, jerky character, one who was irrelevant to the film’s larger story. The people behind this film mentioned that there there wasn’t going to be as much humor as the previous films, and A Good Day to Die Hard suffered because of it. Do they know who John McClane is? One of his main qualities is that is that he’s a mega snark-ass. While there were some attempts to keep that McClane sarcasm, it didn’t hit the funny bone at all- joke after joke landed on a stone-faced audience. And just because Yippee-ki-yay is a famous McClane line doesn’t mean it needs to be used over and over again. It was spot on fantastic the first time, and lost potency with every subsequent use. How about you think of something new!
The film’s plot is threadbare and aimless. Neither John nor his son seem to invested in what’s happening, and the audience will constantly question why they should care if the bad guys are stopped, because their goals are just that vague. Also, fans of the series will come in liking John, and his son by proxy, but they don’t do anything to earn your sympathy if you don’t already know them, like John. Jack’s only quality is that he’s a younger version of John. And John himself felt like a third wheel the whole time, since nothing had anything to do with him. He was like a confused tourist who somehow wandered into a dull web of Russian criminal activity, and that did not make for a good film.
Having said all that, the action was grand and mostly enjoyable. The first action scene was a lengthy and elaborate car chase, which, while often was a little confusing, kept things mulit-tiered and fast paced. The end of the film was riddled with big, bright explosions, and between the two bookends were a few scattered firefights. But, again, while the action was large scale, it’s hard to care. We know the McClanes are going to be fine, and since the film’s stakes are so poorly defined it doesn’t engender any concern from the audience.
I would still watch a sixth one if they made it, because that’s just who I am- I am the Action Chick, after all. Plus, I like to see all of the films in a series if I enjoy the first few. A Good Day to Die Hard was decent enough, but definitely the worst Die Hard- for anyone who likes to rip on Live Free or Die Hard, watch this flick first, and then you’ll appreciate how much better part four is by comparison.
Action Rating: 2 1/2 Yipee-Ki-Yays, out of Five
This is the Action Flick Chick, and you’ve just been kicked in the ass!
- Interview with Nobody Gets Out Alive Director Jason Christopher
- The Walking Dead 3-10: Pardon the Interruption