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Review: Latest ‘Die Hard’ installment is dead on arrival

JON SCOTT
Staff Writer

Ever since I was young, one of my favorite film franchises has been the “Die Hard” franchise. I loved watching ordinary cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) trying to fight his way out of a situation that is beyond his control.

Many others, including myself, could fantasize that we would probably do the same thing in his situation. Now, Willis returns as John McClane in the fifth entry to the series, “A Good Day to Die Hard.”


The story finds John McClane in Russia trying to get his son Jack (Jai Courtney), who was framed for an assassination attempt, out of jail. However, it turns out that Jack is a CIA agent who is trying to help a political prisoner (Sebastian Koch) escape and obtain a file that has evidence against the man who was planning to incriminate the prisoner.

Jack has not spoken to his father in years but now it is up to the two McClanes to put aside their differences and do what McClanes do best: kill as many bad guys as they possibly can.

For me, the first “Die Hard” is quite possibly one of the greatest action films ever made and the sequels were pretty entertaining. My favorite sequel is the third one, “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” with “Live Free or Die Hard” and “Die Hard 2” following after.

I was eagerly anticipating this latest installment because I have been waiting since 2007 to see a new “Die Hard” film. I was looking forward to a movie with intense moments, some ridiculous over the top action, and Willis spewing out funny one liners. It is for these reasons why it pains me to type these next few words:

“A Good Day to Die Hard” was an absolutely terrible film and is easily the worst “Die Hard” film in the franchise.

If I can find one positive thing with this whole film, it’s Willis in his character of John McClane. Willis will never give a bad performance with this character and tries desperately to get through the awful dialogue and terrible direction that he is given throughout the story.

He still manages to get a few funny one liners out of this awful script so for that I am grateful.

That’s where the positives stop, though, because there is a whole lot more that is wrong with this movie. For starters, there’s the character of John McClane. The writer completely gets the character wrong. He is supposed to be relatable to the everyday guy – an average Joe who is thrust into situations beyond his control.

Yes, he manages to survive these situations but he still gets beat up and he gets hurt, which is one of the things that make him so relatable.

In this movie, however, the screenwriter thought it would be a good idea to make John McClane a superhero. He survives car explosions, helicopter crashes and jumping out windows without a single scratch on him.

Real people cannot relate to that.

Another thing that bothered me about this film was the character of Jack McClane, played by Jai Courtney. Courtney’s character is annoying in this movie as he spends most of the time whining about how his dad was never there for him. He also does not have a lot of charisma like Willis and there is no chemistry between the two.

This is not a “Die Hard” movie in the sense that we all know.

“Die Hard” movies follow a very basic plot: Terrorists take over someplace big (like Nakatomi Plaza in the first one or an airport in one of the sequels) because they are after money and John McClane has to stop them.

This is a fairly simple plot and somehow Skip Woods, who wrote the ‘brilliant’ “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” manages to get this one all wrong. The plot is needlessly complicated and is easily forgettable. The dialogue is terrible and more than a few of the one liners that John McClane delivers are not even that funny.

Another thing that is poorly depicted is the villains in this movie.

Their intentions are senseless and they are boring compared to villains from other “Die Hard” films like Hans Gruber from the first film or Timothy Olyphant’s character, Thomas Gabriel, from the fourth one.

Finally, the directing in this movie is easily some of the worst directing I have ever seen in an action film.

The director of this movie is John Moore, who has made some of the worst movies I have ever seen, including 2008’s “Max Payne” and 2006’s “The Omen” remake. He shows no improvement with his directing skills here.

Moore decided to utilize two camera techniques in this film: the use of the “shaky cam” technique and the use of slow motion that then speeds up. Both of these result in terrible effects and are more irritating rather than innovative.

Also, there’s one car chase scene he directs that goes on for 25 minutes. The first ten minutes is done not great, but all right. But, after that, boredom sets in quickly.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that’s where most of the film’s budget went: in that one unnecessarily long car chase.

I hope whoever thought hiring Moore was a good idea got fired. Moore was seemingly the worst choice to direct this movie.

So overall, “A Good Day to Die Hard” is a terrible film. It is easily one of the worst movies I have seen all year and the worst “Die Hard” yet.

The only good thing I can say is that Willis tries in this movie and I give him credit for at least that. He is the only reason the film does not levitate towards a full blown F.

I think it is finally time though, sadly, for the “Die Hard” franchise to finally die…hard.

Grade: D-

Category: Entertainment

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