Sunday 24 March 2013

Film Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Back in Action: Bruce Willis as John McClane

There come a point in every movie franchise where it starts to outstay its welcome. For Indiana Jones, that time came with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull; Paranormal Activity did the same with its 3rd or 4th instalment and Transformers with Dark of the Moon

A Good Day to Die Hard is a case in point. So far beyond its sell-buy date that it is starting to smell bad, A Good Day to Die Hard should serve as a warning to all movie executives to quit while you are ahead.

Out to reconcile with his estranged son Jack, John McClane flies out of the familiarity of the US and into uncharted territory; Moscow. Here, he discovers that Jack well out of his depth, as a part of a CIA operation to extract political prisoner Yuri Kamarov. Hot on their tail are all kinds of cardboard cut-out cold war baddies who are out to kill Kamarov and usurp the United States with nuclear weapons.

It must get awfully hot in those motorcycle leathers
By now you may have stumbled upon A Good Day to Die Hard's greatest weakness; that this isn't really John McClane's story anymore. It's all about nuclear bombs, a rivalry between two Russian Cold War officers and the disaster at Chernobyl.

Gone are the days when a Die Hard film focuses on John McClane kicking the crap out of a handful of terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper. Here, John McClane reaches Bronson-Bond levels of ridiculousness in the action stakes, surviving explosions and falls that even Batman, Rambo and Chuck Norris would struggle to survive.

Taking all of this into account, is A Good Day to Die Hard a good Die Hard film? No, it's the worst one by far. But if what your looking for is a massive car chase that tears Moscow a new one, you've got it. If your looking for some seriously kick-ass action sequences that involves numerous tanks, helicopters and a large bodycount, consider yourself lucky. There are some seriously slow-motion 'action porn' shots that are great. In terms of action, you'll get plenty of bang for you buck with this film. It doesn't make it a good story (as the early films were) but it is massive fun if that's what you expect going in.

Just hanging around
Bruce Willis doesn't give as memorable a performance as he has done in previous entry's here. In fact, his performance is pretty lacking in humour, something that we all know and love about the character of John McClane. Also, Jai Courtney's turn as Jack is fairly uninspired; the entirety of his dialogue comprises of moody and sulky lines directed at his dad. Alright, you have daddy issues, we get it.

In addition, the antagonists in A Good Day to Die Hard are both varied and unmemorable. Instead of sticking with one villain, there are several, and this just complicates matters. As I mentioned earlier, they're just cardboard cut-out Russian baddies that don't stick in the memory.

On the whole then, A Good Day to Die Hard is a poor attempt at a Die Hard film but it is a good action film. Go in with this in mind, or you'll leave wholly disappointed.

I give A Good Day to Die Hard: 4/10

See this if you liked: Taken 2, The Expendables 2, The Darkest Hour, Live Free or Die Hard


  1. Good review. The only upside I can say is that it doesn't make me opposed to seeing more someday, but next time around we have to take the time to make a John McClane movie, not just put John McClane in some other movie.

    1. Yeah exactly! That's all I could think afterwards is what it would be like to have an older John McClane forced into a situation like he was in the first film. A really low-key scaled back sixth instalment; that's what I want!



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