A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) Review

Don't read this review if you liked this movie.

Don’t read this review if you liked this movie.

No, I’m not that smart. I’m just on vacation.

Die Hard is another one of those classic 80’s action movies. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen the first one more times than I’d like to admit, the rest of the sequels however, maybe a couple of times each. The first entry into this franchise still the best in my opinion. When Die Hard 4.0 released, I was optimistic at best, however I enjoyed what it provided even if it didn’t quite feel like a Die Hard movie. Then we receive A Good Day to Die Hard, and after watching it for the first time last night, it’s clear it was money that made Bruce Willis sign on to the movie because it’s a failure, from start to finish.

In A Good Day to Die Hard, we follow beloved action hero John McClane, as he travels to Russia to help out his son, Jack, only to discover that he is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist. This causes the father and son to team up against underworld forces. I can’t tell you how much I want this to be enjoyable, even if it was just another Die Hard 4.0, but alas, the reviews were right, avoid this movie at all costs.

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, and this is by far his worst performance as this character. Relying on jokes that seem to be written by a 12-year-old and the overuse of the vacation line, Bruce Willis never sold me that I was watching a movie with John McClane in it. That vacation line too, how many times do we need to know that he’s on vacation? I don’t think we ever went 15 minutes without him saying that he’s on vacation. Jai Courtney plays his son Jack McClane, and brings nothing new to the table. He simply tries to emulate what Bruce Willis was as John McClane through the 80’s, but without the witty one-liners and an unnecessary serious tone.

As for the villains in the movie, they fail to even compare to past villains of the franchise. Each Die Hard movie up to now has had a villain with personality and decent actors portraying them. Here we get the usual, generic Russian, with an eye on nuclear devices. It makes Die Hard 4.0’s villain look like he could have been an Oscar contender. As for the director, John Moore, he’s done some other movies that haven’t exactly been breakthrough for him like Max Payne, The Omen and Behind Enemy Lines, and he won’t start here either unfortunately.

The action in the movie is heavily assisted by the use of CGI, apart from the car chase in the first half of the movie. Hats off for the car chase, it was nicely done with some great crashes and vehicles flying all over the place. Up to this point you could even say I was enjoying the movie a little. It still didn’t feel like a Die Hard movie though. As for the rest of the action, it all felt random and out-of-place. They simply moved from location to location getting ambushed, or doing the ambushing themselves, it quickly became boring and tiresome.

With story twists you’ll see coming from a mile away too, the story is no better than the poor action that it attempts to give reasoning to. Not once do we see the Russian police intervene with any of the chaos created by our two American heroes. The filmmakers even give hints obvious hints right before the twists just to make sure you understand what is about to happen. A Good Day to Die Hard felt like a movie made for a young audience.

At the end of the movie, they even pass by a pool that is boiling due to radiation, they are in Chernobyl after all, only to end up falling in the pool 15 minutes later. I was shocked to not see either of them emerge for the pool with extra arms or legs. It was total stupidity on their part too for not wearing any protective clothing from radiation. Full of stupid, unbelievable moments like this, moments that Die Hard is not really known for, apart from Die Hard 4.0 perhaps, it was an insult to my intelligence.

Whatever happened to the survival scenario that Die Hard made so famous? Other movies copy it, so they move away from what made the franchise so successful? Whatever the reason, I wish I had never watched this movie. It has tainted the Die Hard name, betrayed long-time fans. A clear cash-in, A Good Day to Die Hard is a movie you will want to avoid if you are a fan of the rest of the movies.

3 Vacations out of 10