Cinema Scoop  

New 'Die Hard' dies a painful death

After seeing the latest installment in the popular Die Hard franchise, the awfully titled A Good Day to Die Hard, I can safely say that this is a series that should be put out to pasture. Die Hard is now officially dead and buried to me. This shameless cash grab is nothing more than a parody of what this great action series once was, and Bruce Willis is a complete shell of his former self in the role that made him a superstar 25 years ago. He literally sleepwalks through his role as John McClane, making little to no effort at all. Clearly he was just doing this for a paycheck.

This fifth chapter begins with John McClane traveling to Moscow, Russia in order to track down his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney, most recently seen in Jack Reacher), whom he believes is in some sort of trouble with the law. The truth is that Jack is actually a CIA operative working undercover to protect a government scientist named Komarov (Sebastian Koch), and conveniently his dad has just arrived in time to compromise his mission. So naturally, father and son must team up to protect Komarov from being kidnapped by the Russian baddies, all while searching for some hidden file that can bring down and destroy the evildoers.

Of course, chaos always reigns supreme when it comes to John McClane and most of the movie is an obnoxious series of loud explosions, excessive gunfire and ridiculous chase sequences that result in mass amounts of destruction. Normally that would be fine, seeing how this is an action movie and all, but director John Moore (Max Payne, Flight of the Phoenix) does such a poor job of editing it all together to the point where it almost becomes incoherent. There is an extended car chase sequence within the first 20 minutes that is so frantically filmed with shaky cam that it was annoying to sit through, not to mention how over-the-top ridiculous it was having John McClane involved in multiple nasty looking wrecks, only to have him pop up like Wile E Coyote without so much as a scratch or bruise on him. It is just dumb and kind of insulting to fans of the original Die Hard films to make it so cartoonish all of a sudden.

The whole appeal of John McClane originally was that he was a roguishly charming regular guy who happened to be really resourceful and he was a relatable hero that you could root for. Now, he can just jump out of the window of a high-rise building while dodging thousands upon thousands of bullets and crash through glass windows and ceilings as he plummets through floor after floor of scaffolding only to get up, dust himself off and fire off a wry quip. Bruce Willis really does appear like he is just going through the motions here. He barely has any energy or excitement in the role and it is mostly joyless for the duration of the picture. Even his iconic line of "yippee ki-yay" is just phoned in like he was forced to say it. If it clearly looks like the actors aren't having any fun making this film, why the heck should audience members be expected to have fun watching it. Don't get me wrong, I think Willis can be great when given the right role and director to work with - just look at how good Looper and Moonrise Kingdom turned out last year. Here, sadly, he looks lost.

The thinly drawn script is really poor also. It attempts to shoehorn in a father and son reunion storyline where amidst all of this carnage going on around them John and Jack try to bond with one another. It is just so forced and quite frankly pretty silly. Also really stupid is how John repeatedly complains how he is supposed to be on vacation while all of this is happening when in fact the entire purpose of the trip was to retrieve his son. The script writers can't even remember what the point of the film is. So bad.

A Good Day to Die Hard is nothing more than a series of mind-numbing action sequences and a cacophony of noise that made its relatively short running time of 95 minutes seem much longer than it needed to be. I sincerely hope that the studio leaves well enough alone and doesn't bother greenlighting a 6th chapter in this series. Please, just let it die.

This is not the Die Hard I remember so fondly. What a disappointment!

I give A Good Day to Die Hard a 3 out of 10.

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About the Author

Just to give you a little background on my qualifications, I've been a film buff my whole life and I enjoy all different genres.

I especially have a passion for classic cinema.

I spent most of the past 17 years working for Rogers Video, so not only have I seen an immense amount of movies, but I've recommended many films to people over the years.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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