Romy Shiller

A Good Day to Die Hard: Die Hard 20, I mean 5

In Film, review on April 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm

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ABOUT: A Good Day to Die Hard is a 2013 American action film directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods. Featuring the John McClane character that was based on the protagonist of Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, it is the fifth installment in the Die Hard film series. Bruce Willis reprises the lead role of John McClane, who travels to Russia to help his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), out of prison, but is soon caught in the crossfire of a terrorist plot.

I was going to call this review The Spectrum of Crap but readers might get the wrong [or right] idea. See, there’s good junk food and bad junk food but it’s still junk food. I’d call this film almost medium crap, just passable junk food. On second thought, it’s just plain crap. If you think that I’m biased – girly and over-educated – read this review by Adam [here]

CGI and many, many explosions later, I still didn’t care.

A franchise can make big bucks – good or bad. So far, the film has grossed over twice its budget. I mean, I went – I was curious.

Critic Andrew O’Hehir says, As for Irish-born director John Moore, he of “Max Payne” and “Flight of the Phoenix” and the 2006 remake of “The Omen,” he stages all the scenes in which Willis’ stunt double has to jump through a window with aplomb, and that happens about six times. Someone has to direct this kind of grade-C, bargain-basement, Hungarian-shot sequel, if only to raise enough cash to send Willis back to his third-act career doing mildly self-mocking roles in smaller movies. “A Good Day to Die Hard” ends with the recent, and somewhat non-terrible, Rolling Stones single “Doom & Gloom,” which is a reasonable point of comparison. Like Mick and Keith, Willis plans to keep on delivering his limited shtick until he drops dead or the world comes to an end, and we all know which of those things is likely to come first

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It’s satisfying to see things smashed to bits. There is a comfort factor in knowing the main character. I’m trying to find the positives here. Seeing what John’s son looks like as a grownup is nice. “I was in L.A. boarding a plane home to Australia when my manager called and said I had to get off because they’d like to see me test with Bruce,” recalls the actor, whose other credits include the Starz show Spartacus: Blood and Sand and last year’s Jack Reacher. “I had to literally walk off the flight. I was tempted to say, ‘I’m sorry, Bruce Willis is calling me.’ But they would just have thought I was a crazy person.” 

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Bruce Willis’ acting felt lazy and bored. If I played the same character for like a thousand times I might expect my audience to fill-in-the-blanks too. You know, I couldn’t find a Bruce Willis comment on this film. THAT says more than if he said something…

The family story was a cliché. The daughter calling during a car-chase fell flat. The action plot was terrible. How many times can one be stabbed or fall down several stories and not need a band-aid or stitches or something?

Anyhow, in the hands of a better script and director the elements of a mysterious and damning file, uranium, Chernobyl and the location of Moscow could be fun or Bond-esque. A reunion with an estranged son could have been dramatic. The action sequences could have been thrilling.

I can do leaps of faith but there must be coherence. If the reality of the world we’re watching involves magic, superpowers or transformation it has to be believable on some level, you know? Critic Ian Buckwalter says, This is the Magpie School of action filmmaking: Anytime things start to make so little sense that you might lose the audience, just throw something shiny up on screen to distract.

Anyhow, see it, don’t see it – determine your crap-tolerance level and proceed.

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