Review: 'A Good Day to Die Hard'

By: Heather Seebach

Despite the controversial title, the weak trailer, and the god-awful reviews, I remained ever-optimistic about this one. After all, I actually liked Live Free or Die Hard. I liked how over-the-top the fourth film was, and I likened John McClane's evolution as a bad-ass to that of Ash in the Evil Dead franchise. It seemed natural that by the fourth film John would be hardened and cocky to it all. But in this fifth installment, Bruce Willis is just...bored. And he gets no help from the terrible script and hack director.

When John McClane learns that his estranged spy son Jack is about to be thrown in a Russian prison for life, he heads to the old USSR to...well, I don't even know what his plan was, since there really was nothing he could do. An assassination attempt results in Jack escaping with a crucial witness and the three men end up on the run from Russian mercenaries. So naturally, CIA agent Jack butts heads with his ex-cop father, but the two must work together to complete the mission. 

A Good Day to Die Hard is a shitty action film and an even worse Die Hard film. It actually feels much closer to a bad James Bond movie, right down to the corny monologuing villains. Even the title screams 007. At least some of the action scenes are amusing in their creativity. There is a highway chase sequence in particular that is full of great "car-nage." This film has one thing going for it - the ability to smash the fuck out of a variety of vehicles. Those stunts were kinda fun to watch, especially one semi-long take of a truck smashing its way through traffic.

Whereas Live Free was enjoyably over-the-top, this one is often painful to endure, thanks to excruciatingly dull and redundant dialogue, and the Tony-Scott-wannabe camerawork. I nearly got motion sickness from the amount of zooming in-and-out in one scene, which, by the way, involved nothing more than CIA agents talking on the phone. 

Meanwhile, John McClane behaves like a whiny tourist the entire movie, constantly shouting, "I'm on vacation!" Firstly, no you're not, and secondly, enough already! Bruce Willis' lines are comprised almost entirely of that and reminders that he is Jack's father. McClane often seems like a guest star in his own goddamn movie! Gone is the badass we know and love, replaced with some cantankerous old man. Willis has gone beyond a complacent, invincible hero into a bland supporting character spouting stale one-liners.

Furthermore, John's relationship with his son feels so forced and excessively mushy. As Jack, Jai Courtney (who looks like a male Scarlett Johansson - is it just me?) ranges from bad to uninteresting, like a sub-par Sam Worthington. In other words, I can't dismiss the actor just yet, but this role does nothing for him. 

I was SO excited when this film ultimately got an R-rating, but it is squandered. F-bombs are clearly forced into the script, and even that famous line is completely misplaced! What too-little-too-late references it does make to the original feel did nothing for me but elicit eye-rolls. 

 I wanted so badly to enjoy this film. I am usually willing to look past bad dialogue or obnoxious directing, but what I cannot abide is ruining John McClane. The one scene of excellent vehicular carslaughter is just not enough to make this a passable movie, let alone a Die Hard film.

Here is a little game for anyone who has seen the film - can you guess the two unintentionally hilarious moments that made me laugh out loud? Here are your hints:

1) ADR

2) Slow-motion

If you have a guess, be sure to comment below with your answers ;)

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