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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > A Good Day To Die Hard

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A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013)

Starring  Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir, Sergei Kolesnikov, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Cole Hauser, Amaury Nolasco, Pavel Lychnikoff and Rasha Bukvic.

Screenplay by Skip Woods.

Directed by John Moore.

Distributed by 20th Century Fox.  110 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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A Good Day To Die Hard

The awkwardly titled A Good Day To Die Hard (what the fuck is that supposed to mean?) the fifth film in the long-running Die Hard action series, is a good primer on the unfortunate change in the state of the art of action films in the 25 years since the classic original.

In this post-Expendables world, a whole series of former 80s action stars are trying to prove they can kick ass and mow down assorted bad guys and innocent bystanders in record, gonzo numbers.  All the biggest names in 80s action are getting their steroids and Botox and trying to reclaim the action mantle from upstarts like Jason Statham, The Rock and Vin Diesel.  In just the past month, comeback vehicles from Sylvester Stallone (A Bullet To the Head) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Last Stand) arrived with great fanfare and were met with audience apathy.

So, right on the heels of getting his best movie role in at least a decade with Looper, it isn't shocking that Bruce Willis would want to again check in on the character that turned him into an action hero, NY cop and reluctant hero John McClane.

However, sadly, this isn't the same John McClane you remember.

The worst part about John McClane in the new millennium is that the dude is completely un-killable. You can tie him to a car with an atomic bomb in the trunk, drop him off a skyscraper falling to the ground through a hail of machine gun fire and he'll pop up barely breathing heavily, with a slight limp, a single trickle of blood on his forehead and a snarky quip.  The dude is titanium.

And if we know he can't be killed, why should we care when people try?

The filmmakers here obviously never saw (or don't remember or understand) the original Die Hard.  In the first film, McClane was far from immortal, he was a desperate and scared man who was just doing all he could to survive and save his wife.  He had certain skills, yes, but he could be (and often was) hurt, he could be scared, he could even potentially be beaten in a fight.

A Good Day To Die Hard is a whole long series of stupidly over-the-top action sequences, all of which are so absurdly unrealistic that they go far past exciting and end up being cartoonishly silly.  There are hundreds of thousands of machine gun rounds shot off, a series of huge fiery explosions and some of the silliest car stunts ever staged.  Particularly amusing for its sheer awful ridiculousness was the scene when McClane rode a Land Rover off the side of an overpass, down a series of strategically placed car trailers, semis, mini-vans and cars. 

They spent the special effects budget on ridiculous clap-trap like that?

And worse yet, the movie is all about Russian thugs.  How 80s is that?

McClane is visiting Moscow to see his estranged son, who he does not realize is a spy.  The reason for the estrangement and for McClane popping in are very fuzzy, though the kid obviously hates his dad so strongly that it seems to just be a plot point to set up an eventual unnecessary reconciliation.  The kid is a bit of a punk, honestly, constantly bitching on and on about every perceived slight in his life.

Then again, this time around McClane is not much more likable.  The whole mission was botched when McClane showed up someplace (a place that he really logically should have no had idea to be at), happened to see his son trying to escape from bad guys with assault weapons and petulantly stands in front of his son's truck, allowing the bad guys to catch up and put them all in peril.

The storyline is ridiculous and the dialogue is not much better.  Let's admit it, even in the great original, "Yippee-Ki-Yay, motherfucker" was a lame catch phrase.  And now, five movies into the series, Willis spits out the inevitable repeat of the line with apathetic disdain for the dialogue, not his enemy.

Then again, Willis' whole performance has the same detached just-here-for-the-paycheck disinterest.

By the time the film reaches its fiery conclusion, most of the audience had long ago stopped caring if this father and son could (or should) be saved.

It's a good day to put the Die Hard series out of its misery and shut down the whole creaky franchise.  Each additional film is just screwing up the original's legacy.

Alex Diamond

Copyright 2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 13, 2013.

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Copyright 2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: February 13, 2013.

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