Justin's Review of A Good Day To Die Hard
A Good Day To Die Hard(2013)
It's become increasingly difficult to acknowledge the genius of Die Hard. It's been 25 years since Bruce Willis meandered onscreen as the everyman hero, John McClane. His man against the world, cut-and-dry, no-holds-barred character made action films relatable in a time when the incredible and impossible were being carved out by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. McClane made it okay to get hurt, both physically and emotionally, and we cheered him on as he beat the odds to save the day.
Fast forward to 2013, and four sequels later John hasn't changed much. He's gotten older, nearing senior citizen status and his two children are grown up and living their own lives. His knack for finding trouble has evolved from finding it with no shoes on to finding it sans hair. In this installment John finds trouble in Russia with his son, Jack (Jai Courtney). Don't worry about the plot, there isn't one. John and Jack simply shoot every bad guy in sight until there's no one left to shoot. Talk about father-son bonding... whatever happened to playing catch?
The problem with Die Hard in the new millennium is that the one thing that made John McClane appealing, his vulnerability, is a distant memory. McClane is now every bit the stubborn cop that everyone remembers, but now he's the antithesis of the very thing that set the original apart from Arnold's and Sly's films. McClane just won't die, and no matter how incredibly stupid, impossible, or outrageous the scenario is, John finds a way to kill the bad guys and still walk away relatively unscathed. And that immortality is hereditary as Jack can't die, either.
A Good Day to Die Hard is a preposterous, condescending film with such unbelievable action that even Seagal and Van Damme would've chuckled. In the first twenty minutes John flips himself over in two different cars but manages to walk away. Later he and Jack jump out the window of a high-rise onto a construction platform at least four flights down, slide down the waste chute, all the while avoiding heavy gunfire from a military-grade helicopter. Jack only gets wounded. These looked like deleted scenes from The Fast and the Furious and Rambo III, yet somehow this film did those features a disservice.
A Good Day to Die Hard is recommended for only the biggest Die Hard fans. But even they will have to raise an eyebrow at such a devolved John McClane. For Willis, this is simply a paycheck film while viewers drawn to the Die Hard name will waste part of their paychecks to see it. JV