“A Good Day to Die Hard,” but not a good day for “Die Hard” fans

Daniel Woodhouse

Probably the most interesting thing about the fifth installment in the Die Hard series is that, originally the studio planned to call it Die Hard 24/7; this led to speculation among the press that Bruce Willis, as John McClain, and 24’s Jack Bauer would be doing a crossover film. Though this could have been an awesome duo, it ended up being no more than a rumor.A Good Day to Die Hard takes place in Moscow, where a Russian political prisoner named Yuri is being detained. Yuri has some sort of nasty file of evidence on his former business partner, Russian Defense Minister Viktor Chagarin. At the same time, John McClain is visiting Moscow to see his son, Jack, who is on trial for the murder of a Russian gangster. Both Jack and Yuri are able to escape when the courthouse is attacked by Chagarin’s goons, who attempted to kidnap Yuri in order to force him to turnover the file.What John doesn’t know is that Jack is a CIA agent who was sent to rescue Yuri. When John runs into Jack, he inadvertently delays Yuri’s escape. It’s funny how this is the first time John McClain has messed up the hero’s plan, rather than screwing up the villain’s plan. Jack puts it best when he tells John, “That was a three year op and it took you, what, five minutes to screw it up!”  Now pursued by Chagrain’s henchmen John and Jack must retrieve Yuri’s file and escape Russia.

Courtesy Provided by A Good Day To Die Hard Facebook Page
Provided by A Good Day To Die Hard Facebook Page

A Good Day to Die Hard is a bad movie — so much so, that a times I had to fight to stay awake. It’s not laughably bad or even painfully bad, it’s just boring. The script doesn’t have the corny but witty dialogue, the creative action set-pieces, likeable characters, villains with character depth, or even an interesting premise like the previous installments. The worst part is that, out of all the cheesy one-liners, which have been a trademark of the series, only one of them made me laugh.

But what should we expect from director John Moore besides from garbage like Flight of Phoenix (2004), The Omen (2006) and Max Payne (2008) — all of which were adapted from source material that Moore clearly did not understand.

Writer Skip Woods wrote the scripts for both Hitman (2004), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), which forever stained the franchises of both films. My how Hollywood studios can pick its film teams.

The movie spends half it’s time on mediocre action scenes, and the rest of it on a series of sappy heart-to-heart moments between John and Jack.

The performances weren’t really that great either. Bruce Willis does his best to get back into his old John McClain character, but since he is given such a terrible script he doesn’t have much to work with. Jai Courtney as Jack McClain gives a dull but adequate performance. Sebastian Koch as Yuri gives such a bland performance that you’ll probably forget he was in the movie. The worst performance, though, goes to Radivoje Bukvić. He plays Alik, the primary antagonist of most of the film. He tries so hard to be eccentric and over-the-top that he comes off looking like a villain in a soap opera.

One thing I would like to point out, of which I found particularly irritating, is the number of windows John McClain jumps through. He jumps through upwards of ten different windows and shows up on the other side with only a few cuts and bruises. I’m surprised he wasn’t picking glass out of his eyelids after the first time. I mean, have you seen what happens to someone who breaks glass with their bare skin? It’s not pretty. The instance I have to reference is the time I saw someone punch a car window — his hand looked like it had been through a paper shredder. McClain shouldn’t have had a pint of blood left in his body by the end of the film.

I did not enjoy watching A Good Day to Die Hard and won’t even recommend it to “die hard” fans. If there’s one thing this film probably did accomplish, it was killing the Die Hard franchise.

1 out of 5 stars

Director: John Moore
Writer: Skip Woods