Where to even begin with this review…. first off, I am and always have been a huge fan of the Die Hard series. So when I heard that they were making a new one, I’ll admit I had high hopes for it. Each of the last Die Hard sequels aren’t masterpieces by any means, but they are pretty darn good in my opinion. They have great action sequences, good stories, and the perfect reluctant hero of course – John McClane. The trailer made it look like another great installment into the series, so I eagerly awaited. So, after seeing it, I hate to say it because I love Bruce Willis and Die Hard so much, but it’s clear that this movie is just plain terrible. It’s just not Die Hard quality at all.
I will say this though: whoever was in charge of creating the trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard deserves a not-yet-created Oscar for ‘Best Movie Trailer from Crap Source Material’. Proof that the folks in Hollywood are experts in creating trailers catered to their audience – especially in this case where we’re talking about a 25 year old movie franchise. I guess if you do polish a turd hard enough, it does become gold. They sure got me hook, line, and sinker.
But the problem with this movie isn’t just one individual thing, it’s chalk full of issues:
- Poor direction – come on John Moore, how many movies do we need to see the director using the shaky camera technique and lens glare? It’s lazy film making – plain and simple,
- The plot is laughable – it’s so thin that it seems too terrible even for a throw away B-Movie – the plot makes no sense at all. I’m all for suspension of disbelief in action movies, but the whole story line completely contradicts itself,
- Phoned-in performances – Willis seems to have forgotten what his John McClane character is all about (either that or he doesn’t care anymore and just wants a paycheck). The whole time I was watching the film I was wondering not only how this script got past Willis’ agent, but how Willis himself must have said, at one point, something along the lines of, “Ok, this looks good – I’ll do it.” His character is supposed to be the reluctant hero, the every man that’s a relatable guy – well that John McClane is gone in this movie. What you’re left with is a bumbling old dude yelling out flat jokes & quips. That’s all fine and good if they are funny and well timed and the movie isn’t taking itself too seriously (see Expendables)… but that’s not the case here. He does nothing the entire movie beyond being a general curmudgeon spewing out cheesy one-liners (Ok McClane, we get it – you’re “on vacation”), even though you’re really there to bail out your son from jail, but whatever.
- No chemistry between Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney. They are supposed to be father and son, but it looks like they didn’t even meet until the 1st day of shooting. You know that when a relative newcomer, Courtney (who was very good in Jack Reacher), is doing a better acting job than the lead role (Willis), you have a problem; which leads me to my next point:
- John McClane doesn’t do anything effective in this movie! He doesn’t have any hand-to-hand fights scenes here, there aren’t any crafty ways he outsmarts the bad guys; when he does get in on the action he just stands there and shoots a gun – all-the-while the muzzle is pointing down towards the ground mind you (see #3 above – I mean is Willis so tired of this character that he doesn’t even bother to lift the gun’s barrel up to point in the general direction of the baddies?!? Talk about phoning it in!)
- No Interesting Villains – the bad guys here, most of them Russian, don’t have anything fresh or interesting to offer – unlike past Die Hard movie villains (see Alan Rickman’s & Jeremy Irons’ characters).
All those things aside, there were some descent action sequences thrown into this movie – but nothing that really stood out that could save the movie or that didn’t suffer from WAY TOO MUCH CGI work. Some folks may say that this movie was exactly what you would expect from a series like this – nothing more. But I disagree completely with that sentiment. Die Hard movies are a higher caliber action movie than your average throw away shoot-em-up flick. And we as fans deserve much better than this.
Whether you are comparing this movie to the other Die Hard sequels or just on its own – it falls flat and falls hard. This movie was extremely disappointing. I’d say only check it out if you are a hardcore Die Hard fan and can’t imagine not seeing it; but even then, you’ll probably be disappointed.