Directed by: John Moore
Written by: Skip Woods, Roderick Thorp
Cast: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
A producer at FOX sits down with board members to figure out how to make a quick buck for the studio. One says to the other, “How about another Alien vs. Predator movie?” The producer replies, “No, they won’t fall for that one anymore.” Another board member chimes in, “What about another shitty 3D Star Wars conversion?” Producer turns to the board member sitting next to him and commands, “Jim will you give Bob a good slap on the face and remind him to read the newspaper.” Suddenly, a board member bursts with excitement, “I got it, Die Hard 5… Bruce Willis will do anything these days.” Producer rubs chin and nods his head. “But we’ll need a script.” An executive jumps in, ” Well, I have this really awful film submitted to me yesterday about a young governement agent who is in over his head on a job in Russia.” Producer responds with enthusiasm, “Excellent, find someone to write John McClane into the story and call it Die Hard 5, or something catchy that has the words ‘Die Hard’ in it.”
Now, this entire scenario may or may not have took place. However, this is exactly what the experience of A Good Day to Die Hard feels like when watching the film. During the first moments of the film, it appears as if the John McClane character accidentally just got thrown into the wrong movie. He doesn’t know what the hell is going on any more than we do. All he knows is that once again he is at the wrong place at the wrong time… And he’s on vacation.. But not really. Seriously, not even he knows why he is in Russia. Even his son at the start of the film comes off angry about his presence in the movie. It’s like someone was forcing John McClane into this story and the writer held a grudge during the rewrite.
So, here is an attempt to explain the story behind A Good Day to Die Hard. John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Russia to help his son who appears to be in legal trouble. Without explaining the significance of his arrest, the minute John McClane arrives in town shit goes haywire on cue. It’s almost as if everyone knew Bruce Willis arrived, perfect time to blow up a city block for no explainable reason. Then John McClane’s son Jack (Jai Courtney) escapes custody with another prisoner. John McClane begins pursuing his son around the city and destroying EVERYTHING in his way to do so. Even if it means destroying innocent lives or their vehicles. For some odd reason, the country has zero problems with McClane doing this, because he is never once questioned by authorities during his John McClane mayhem.
The acting and dialogue are absolutely terrible. As I mentioned previously, John McClane is in Russia to help his son Jack, but every ten seconds he has the urge to say “I’m on vacation.” Lines such as these were funny in previous films, because the situation matched the one-liner. For example, “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs…” from 1988 Die Hard. Now everything seems forced terribly, as if they’re trying too hard to achieve humor like the original. Oh and for the record, the only thing on vacation in A Good Day to Die Hard, is Bruce Willis’s acting. I’ve never seen Bruce Willis phone-in a performance this badly, which is so disappointing coming from a huge fan of the series.
The film nearly recovers for a matter of ten minutes with a gun fight inside an empty ballroom. The scene has some impressive camera work, plus Bruce and Jai share the only working moment they have together in this film. Jai Courtney’s only downfall is just being in the movie period. If anything, he is the only convincing performer in the entire show. You can tell he could only do so much with what he is given.
Then comes the finale, which is the most CGI filled experience of the entire Die Hard franchise… and it’s hilarious. Watching John McClane get tossed by a helicopter in slow-motion, straight into a big screen-glass window is just insanely ridiculous. It’s one of the most over-the-top finales of the Die Hard films and it will have you chuckling the whole time. This is the single most terrible Die Hard experience of the entire series. Do not waste your time.