19 February 2013


This is just one stupid scene from A Good Day To Die Hard. There are many, many more.
Imagine somebody who has never seen any of the Die Hard movies. Perhaps their lack of knowledge is such that they even think the main character is called Die Hard. Imagine that person being put in charge of making a sequel, in which "Die Hard goes to Russia and makes loads of people die, hard." Now smear shit all over that imagined movie, and it'll almost look as good as A Good Day To Die Hard.

This staggeringly inept fifth entry into the much-loved action franchise finds John McClane heading for Russia, where his son, Jack, has got into trouble with the authorities. He hasn't spoken to his son for a long time, and assumes he's gotten himself mixed up with the wrong crowd. In reality, Jack is working for the CIA, trying to extract a political prisoner, for reasons that, much like everything else in the film, remain unclear. Thus the elder McClane is reduced to following him around and teaming up with him, like a version of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but with our former hero as the funny dad character.

If you watch this movie and enjoy it, you're watching it wrong. Sorry, other opinions are available and whatnot, but it's really tough to see what anyone could enjoy about this. The previous entry, Die Hard 4.0, was derided for having McClane appear near-invulnerable, but it wasn't actually a bad movie. Granted, it was a bad Die Hard movie, but it was hardly a total disaster. In this, McClane is pure, straight invulnerable, and thus there are no stakes whatsoever, and the result is a total disaster. It's disappointing on just about every conceivable level, and incompetent on a few others too.

A little research might help to lower expectations, but even knowing that it's from the geniuses who brought us Max Payne and X-Men Origins: Wolverine isn't quite enough to prepare you. This movie is just plain fucking dull, from an obnoxiously silly car chase through Moscow, in which McClane flippantly kills hundreds of people, to a staggeringly stupid plot twist at Chernobyl. When will movie producers learn that Chernobyl is not a great movie location? This one even out-stupids Chernobyl Diaries and Transformers: Dark of the Moon, with a high-tech device that somehow clears all of the radiation in the place, to enable the climax to take place without the leads being stuffed into haz-mat suits.

Bruce Willis remains the star, around whom everything orbits, so he's as much to blame as the writer and director here. One of the tales that Kevin Smith told, about his experience of working with Bruce Willis on the much-maligned Cop Out, is that the star would wreck whole shooting days by turning up and tearing out pages of the script, dismissing them as "chuffa". That A Good Day To Die Hard is even worse than Cop Out shows that Willis' editorial prowess might not be all it's cracked up to be- this is "Chuffa: The Movie".

Willis knows it too- somewhere between Die Hard 4.0 and this one, he's either forgotten how to play John McClane, or he doesn't really want to any more. He's dead on arrival, and it's a huge disappointment after the back-to-back surprises of Moonrise Kingdom and Looper. Jai Courtney is no more than a beefcake with daddy issues, but nobody could say that's his fault, when the atrocious script doesn't ask him to be anything else. That we're even talking about a Die Hard film where there is no interesting villain to speak of, should tell you how truly misjudged this is.

At least A Good Day To Die Hard is brief, in its franchise-killing stupidity. In the UK, it's been cut down even further, to assure a more audience-friendly 12A certificate. The worst defence of this move that I've heard thus far, is that there are still four F-bombs in the movie- and were you able to quantify the violence and swearing in the previous movies, or were they just part and parcel of the way the central character speaks and acts? This is a truly moronic and cynical exercise, bringing together two of the biggest hacks in Hollywood to have at an iconic character who's now long past his best day.

A Good Day To Die Hard is now showing in cinemas nationwide.

FINAL NOTE: Regardless of the movie itself, there needs to be some kind of award for the people who did the marketing campaign for this one. The use of 'Ode For Joy' in the trailers was inspired, and even after seeing the full movie, it's hypnotising me into thinking it looks good. I don't see it as false advertising as much as a heroic salvage attempt. Bravo!
If you've seen
A Good Day To Die Hard, why not share your comments below? If you haven't seen it, why not watch Die Hard With A Vengeance again? It's clearly the best of the sequels, and it's better than the kick-in-the-dick that this movie encapsulates.
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.


Unknown said...

I am glad to read that Bruce Willis is known for messing with the script because to be perfectly honest, I really think he is going a little bit senile. It came through in that film. Stupid, fuddy duddy old man, trying to be amusing and failing miserably. Die Hard used to be a fun watch!!!

Mark said...

Senile indeed! Did you see him on The One Show? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDaK3Ppm5IE
Cheers for the comment!