A Good Day To Die Hard Reviews
SCOTT: (Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond) Greg, this series is running on fumes. Die Hard should be renamed Die Already. But out of respect for the quality of the predecessors in this series, well review this flic. The hero story is actually not as bad as the movie.
GREG: Well in this installment, Bruce Willis comes back as John McClane and hes in search of his son who is always getting into trouble. This time Jack (the son, played by Jai Courtney) has gotten himself into a Russian prison and John has to get him out. One thing leads to another and they are running from bad guys who want to kidnap a Russian defector.
SCOTT: In any Die Hard movie, we need McClane to rescue loved ones from bad guys with eastern European accents. Here McClane learns that his son Jack is actually a CIA agent who is trying to rescue a Russian billionaire named Komarov from corrupt Russian officials. McClaine inadvertently foils his sons plans and must spend the remainder of the movie trying to atone for his actions while also trying to mend the broken relationship he has with his son. Greg, what your take on the set-up of this story?
GREG: Its a far-fetched plot, but we knew what we were getting in for when we paid for a Die Hard ticket. In other movies, McClane has the excuse that hes a cop. So, he can do things like commandeer a civilians truck. But when he does it in Russia, hes blatantly breaking the law (not to mention that he assaulted the driver when he did it). And there are other huge plot holes. Like the scene where Jack is in jail and the bad guys bomb a courtroom to bust the defector out - and Jack takes custody of the defector as if he knew what the bad guys had planned. Absorbing this takes more than simple suspension of disbelief.
SCOTT: We know that all heroes must move from the safe, familiar world into the dangerous, unfamiliar world. Because Die Hard is a repeating series, McClane now feels right at home in that not-so-unfamiliar world. Thats a problem; heroes shouldnt be so comfortable when confronted with impossible life-threatening jams. His son Jack, however, is clearly out of his element and has to rely on dad. In this way we see McClane evolving from a Hero character into the role of Mentor in this series.
GREG: Scott, I think McClane is cast in the special world of CIA ops. Theres even a point in the movie where Jack chides his father: Youre out of your depth, John. What we observe is that Jack is a sort of screw up as a burnable asset to the CIA. He had a role to play and hes missed the mark - he loses the defector to the bad guys and he gives up. This is where John comes in as the Mentor. John throws his sons defeat in his face and tells him to gather up his dolls and go home. Then John helps Jack push through his defeat and create a plan to retrieve the defector. And this is where the movie goes from sublime to the ridiculous. The bad guys all run to Chernobyl where the father and son have to work together to fight a common foe.
SCOTT: Greg, as weve said many times, the villain has to be as strong a character as the hero. Unfortunately, these villains are all cardboard cut-out, Hollywood stereotypes of mean Russians. To be fair, this is not a villain-centered movie. Its a passing-of-the-torch movie, a sort of family buddy-cop story. Bruce Willis is looking as grizzled and as geezerly as ever, and yet he still manages to fly through plate glass windows and plummet hundreds of feet onto concrete with hardly a scratch. After each scene were left wondering how someone so grandfatherly can avoid breaking a hip. Is Jai Courtney (as Jack) being groomed as the heir-apparent to Willis in this series? Only time will tell.
GREG: I think youve seen through their devious plot! Theres not a lot to this movie. Unlike the first installment, this is mindless explosions and stunt effects. I cant recommend anyone take the time to watch A Good Day To Die Hard. I give it 2 out of 5 Reels and 1 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:
SCOTT: Greg, I agree with you that this movie was devoid of imagination and depth. Although we enjoy seeing Bruce Willis mugging for the camera while he faces (seemingly) imminent death, there is no suspense here at all. He knows that we know that he knows that the good guys will prevail. So like you, the movie earns 2 out of 5 Reels. But Im going to disagree with you about the hero story. There is a semi-interesting changing of the guard story here, with a hero evolving into a mentor and a young naive kid maturing into the hero who will take his dads place. The hero story isnt a failure -- its a solidly mediocre 3 out of 5 Heroes. Movie: Hero:
GREG: Ok, Scott. Have it your way. I still say two bad heroes dont add up to one good one. Id much rather look at The Three Stooges than watch A Good Day to Die Hard again. Yuk Yuk Yuk!
Who does not like Bruce Willis? I mean, he has done some movies I am not a fan of, but John McClane is his best character and this movie mostly shows that. He comes into the situation trying to find his son and figure out what has happened. Turns out, his son is a spy and they both have to work together in order to stop World War 3!! So I mean, he still acts as he has in the 4 other Die Hard movies!! He gives you that feeling of relating to him as a cop and as a father and that is why we love John McClane. Yes, he did become a big time super hero in the last film and this one but he is still the character that we all love. Rating 4/5
Jai Courtney does a great job as John McClane's son. He does not have a good relationship with his father and he does not want his father to help him on his mission. But they do work together because they have no choice, and through the film, his son begins to trust his father again and it shows that he does love his dad, but does not know how to show it. They both show great chemistry on screen together and you could believe that they could kick some butt together!! Rating 4/5
Now lets get into the directing, John Moore has had some bad films. The Omen remake and Flight of the Phoenix were just bad movies period! But I enjoyed the Max Payne movie and I thought Behind Enemy Lines was a good action flick with good sequences so he has done some good work. There is no question that this was his moment to shine and I think he did a good job, not a great job, but it was good. He did miss some mistakes that were made in the film, like when McClane swipes the card for the elevator scene, the card is not slided correctly and it shows. Also, when the main villain calls his daughter, the numbers are showing on the phone as to dial the number, so he could not be talking to her at all. That is not good editing, however, he did a great job with the action sequences and angles. True their was some CGI, but he mostly used practical effects and I am really glad he did. The last movie was too much CGI to me so they went old school and the car sequence was the best car chase I have ever seen!! Definitely worth watching. The feeling was very different then the previous installments, but I like that part of the movie because it was not the same as the others and it stands alone. I might be the only one that liked the shaky cam, but it made it feel real, so good job their Mr. Moore. Overall, could have done a few things better, but John Moore did a good job. Rating 3/5 for Directing
The screenplay was the weakest area of the movie. I mean, a file as a big part of the premise!! You could do much better than that Skip Woods!! The villains were not very impressive. Given away to early in the movie and they should have had just one villain that got help along the way, but 4 main villains is to many and they were not very strong willed. They also lost some of the magic from the previous movies, good chemistry between Bruce and Jai, but McClane and Jack should have been banged up way more than they were so they have to be more realistic in the 6th movie if they make it. Rating for the villain and screenplay 0.5/5
To conclude this long review, I did enjoy this movie!! It did have some bad moments, and the plot was the weakest of all the die hard films!! The villains were also the weakest in the whole series. It is not up to par as the original, the third or fourth movies, but I do believe it beat Die Hard 2. Bruce will always be John McClane and he might be a super hero in this movie, but that character still is here so I do not mind that much if he is a super hero, especially after all he has been through with the past 4 movies. Jai Courtney was pretty good, so props to him. If you like hard core action with great effects and if you are a Die Hard fan, then see this movie because it really is a fun 98 minutes!
A ridiculously contrived plot combined with a ropey script and action that jumps the shark with wild abandon, it's amazing this ever got green lit.
It's not utterly awful but it is kind of heading in that direction.