When the original Die Hard starring Bruce Willis came out back in 1988, it broke out from the action movie genre, which has made it one of the most iconic films of the field. Unlike other actors like Sylvester Stallone, Willis seemed like a normal, regular guy since he’s less hulking. His character John McClane also had a personal motive in the story (he had to save his wife from a terrorist). Die Hard created the movie cliché of “the wrong person at the wrong time.” Many movies took the same premise, some successfully (Speed), some not (Speed 2).
But the biggest rip-offs of Die Hard are Die Hard‘s own sequels, which never managed to fully replicate the excitement of the original. Still, the Die Hard movies have worked as good entertainment. But the latest incarnation, A Good Day To Die Hard, doesn’t even provide that function. It’s not only the worst of the series (which it takes easily), but doesn’t even seem to be a part of it. Even 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, which had a PG-13 rating, was more faithful to the franchise than this film.
In this episode, John McClane heads off to Moscow after discovering his long absent son Jack (Jai Courtney) is there. As it turns out, Jack is a member of the CIA sent to protect Russian billionaire Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) in a plot that made absolutely no sense to me, either because it was too confusing or I didn’t care.
From there on out, McClane and his son go out and fight terrorists. Director John Moore uses every cliché possible in the movie. John and Jack have a typical father-son relationship done better in hundreds of other movies. It seems that Jack constantly reminds the audience how old his father is and then John either makes a wisecrack about Jack being too young. The movie has about three twists, all of which are very predictable and really uninteresting.
Still, even with a bad plot, A Good Day To Die Hard can still be dumb fun, but the action sequences are all loud, obnoxious, and boring. Many of the scenes rely on heavy CGI and everything felt fake for me. There was no realism in the movie and at least in four points do the McClanes jump from buildings or helicopters and seem perfectly fine afterward.
What’s even more disappointing is John McClane himself, now pretty much the only connection to the original. McClane is stripped of any dimensionality and really is now of a walking, talking, wisecrack machine. Willis isn’t even trying in the role, making the same smirk each scene and delivers the jokes blandly.
Still, as bad as A Good Day To Die Hard is, there were a few good parts, like a sequence where McClane punches an angry Russian driver. But they don’t make up for the rest of the movie. And if I wanted to see more moments like that, I’d watch the original Die Hard instead. A sixth installment is coming up and hopefully it will redeem this franchise, which now seems to have died hard.