A Good Day To Die Hard Review
Whelp, one thing is for sure tonight. I am glad I saw "Red 2" before this, because I felt I would have been too disillusioned to sit through more Bruce Willis after this.
I think that the "Die Hard" franchise is out of steam. It is a series which should be put to bed immediately.
The first film is a classic, no two ways about it. It's clever, its big on its action but it takes time to nurture its characters. The second, third and fourth films never worked on the same level as the first one did. The fourth film particularly felt like something from a different franchise. They aren't necessarily bad films, but they aren't great ones either. I've been hoping and hoping for somebody to come along and breath life back into this franchise, but I feel its time to stop hoping. Give up. Move on. I will always have the first film, that's good enough.
In the movie, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) is a CIA agent keeping tabs on Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) a Russian whistleblower who has a file containing dirty secrets about certain Russian officials. These officials have Komarov arrested, and Jack is arrested for assassinating someone. Jack plans on getting a shorter sentence for testifying against Komarov. John McClane (Bruce Willis) learns of his son's situation, and goes all the way to Russia to help him. Even though he has had no contact with his son for several years. Soon before the trail, bad guys hired by the corrupt Russian officials try to kill Komarov and Jack before they can testify.
Its a pretty simple story, pretty hard to mess up. So what happened? Well first of all, as good as Jai Courtney is as Jack, he's not much of a character. We never learn why Jack hates his father so much, we never learned what led him to the CIA, we never learn why he and his father haven't spoken in years. At in "Live Free or Die Hard," we got to know his daughter Lucy, even if it was just a little bit. Here, Jack McClane isn't a character, he is simply a device to get John McClane over to Russia to kill bad guys. Very disappointing.
Second of all, it seems like sometime between "Live Free or Die Hard" and "A Good Day to Die Hard" John McClane obtained superpowers. I remember throughout the entire series, when McClane fought, he had marks to prove it. He was bruised and blooded throughout the entire series. To a degree, there was a realistic essence to the action of the series. Not anymore. John McClane throws himself out of buildings, get into several car crashes, and throws himself through just about everything. Yet, he has absolutely no scratches on him at all. The realistic tone has always been apart of this series, but I guess not this time.
Third of all, these are some of the most uninteresting and stupid bad guys in the history of the franchise. In all the other films in the "Die Hard" stable, each villain, major or minor, were special. They had their own mannerisms and ticks, they were separated from the rest of the herd. The bad guys here are non-characters like Jack McClane. They are merely characters who were hired to get shot by Bruce Willis. What a waste. I will mention though that the lead bad guy hired to kill Jack, John, and Komarov apparently likes to dance. That's it though. The most clever trait this film could come up with was a Russian assassin who likes to dance.
Fourth of all, the first "Die Hard" was clever, "A Good Day to Die Hard" is just loud.
There is no doubt that Bruce Willis was born to give life to McClane. Willis certainly has several moments where his witty lines made me smile, but its not enough. I feel the film as a whole is a huge mess. Nothing about the movie is interesting and the action beats are laughably bad. Most of the characters, good and bad, are types. There is a twist or two, which I guess director John Moore threw in to keep things provocative. But they fall flat and don't work. This won't end Willis' career but I think he's done with McClane. I hope so at least, I'd like to see make more stuff like "Red 2," "The Expendables" and "Looper." I don't want him to make another needless sequel to a tired franchise. "A Good Day to Die Hard" is a failure on almost every level, and I think the series is done.
FINAL GRADE: D-