A Good Day To Die Hard Reviews
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.
This time around, McClane finds himself out of his depths in the former USSR while trying to rescue his son, Jack (played by Aussie Jai Courtney), who wound up on the wrong side of the law after gunning down a Moscow crime boss.
John and Jack's relationship has always been strained and the pair hasn't spoken in years. John has long suspected his tearaway son was a drug dealer due to his lack of employment or subsequent need for financial assistance.
However, when the courthouse that is set to host Jack's trial explodes and a gang of machinegun wielding Russian mobsters starts wreaking havoc in the streets, our hero quickly learns that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. His son is a spook, a CIA operative, and neckdeep in a volatile mission that could spell of the end of the world if he fails to complete it.
When John gets in the way, he gets caught in the middle of it and has to join forces with his offspring and ... well, you know the rest.
While it is undoubtedly an enjoyable film, A Good Day to Die Hard lacks the gravitas of its predecessors.
Director John Moore has tried desperately to return the series to "its former glory", making countless references to the original and adopting a visual styling which was almost pure John McTiernan. The problem for me was that he seemed to be trying to fix something that wasn't broken. The universe of the series has expanded far beyond the ill-fated building in LA and subsequently foregone its last tenuous shreds of realism.
It is now perfectly acceptable for our hero to "kill a helicopter with a car" because he's out of bullets or to surf a crumbling freeway as it's blown apart by an F18. Moore seemed content on bringing the series back down a notch from where it was is Die Hard 4.0, focusing more heavily on the storyline and characters rather than the shoot'em up, blow'em up stuff we all went there for.
The action sequences were impeccable - the congested car chase through Moscow one of the best in recent memory - but they were too few and far between. The storyline was good, the way they tied real life disasters in was extremely clever, but it just wasn't terribly exciting. So much of the film revolved around intrigue when the punchline was bleating obvious from the get-go.
I didn't like Courtney as Jack McClane. His performance was rigid, wooden even, and he lacked the essential charisma to carry off the role. He also had zero chemistry with Willis, which made their scenes together seem more like rigmarole than fuel for the narrative's dramatic engine. He certainly wasn't in the same league as McClane's last two off-siders (Justin Long and Samuel L. Jackson).
At the end of the day though, Die Hard is like any other action franchise, be it Lethal Weapon, Rocky, Rambo, Terminator or even Dirty Harry. We know the sequels will never give us the same level of excitement as the original did but the reason we watch them is because we love the heroes and the universe.
The Verdict: If you want to just catch up with Detective John McClane again and watch on while he gleefully shoots bad guys, blows stuff up and causes shenanigans then check it out. Just readjust your expectations from Die hard with a vengeance.
Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 26/04/2013