Reviews

A Good Day To Die Hard

2

Yippee-ki-nay...

As he prepares to fly to Moscow to discover why his estranged son Jack has been arrested for murder, John McClane is handed an Idiot’s Travel Guide To Russia by daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

Someone behind the scenes should’ve followed suit and given director John Moore an Idiot’s Guide to Die Hard movies, for this fifth outing for Bruce Willis’s fly-in-the-ointment detective is a Die Hard in nonsensical name only.

The reason why 1988’s Die #1 is so iconic, beloved and imitated is down to its economical, no-nonsense simplicity. (One cop, one building, 13 terrorists. It’s hardly rocket science, is it?)

But with each successive installment, the franchise has travelled further away from its USP, a flaw magnified tenfold here by taking McClane off home turf completely.

Writer Skip Woods makes one concession to the original by squeezing the action into one single, manic day. To do so, unfortunately, he must throw logic under a bus, most egregiously by suggesting that the 400-mile distance between Moscow and Chernobyl can be driven in a couple of hours.

In truth, if A Good Day To Die Hard is homaging anything it’s the Bourne series, a frantic car pursuit through Muscovite traffic entailing more noisy auto-vehicular destruction than Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum. It’s a spectacular set-piece to be sure, rivalled later by a shoot-out in a hotel ballroom and a climactic face-off involving a miraculously deradiated Chernobyl and an exploding chopper fireball.

It’s what Moore inserts between them that drags the story down, the charmless interplay between a semi-comatose Willis and Jai Courtney’s petulant, arrogant Jack - not the fuck-up he initially appears, but a CIA operative on the trail of AWOL weapons-grade uranium - squandering the familial dynamic that should have been the flick’s trump card.

Die Hard 5 is no less wanting in the villain department, Rasha Bukvic’s tap-dancing, carrot-chomping Alik being to Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber what a Lada is to a Mercedes.

Good Day in a nutshell? Father-son bonding with heavy artillery, a lot of big bangs, a triple-figure body count and little else. Listen carefully over the opening credits and you’ll hear a few bars of Beethoven’s ‘Ode To Joy’, the Die Hard series’ unofficial theme tune. But it’s no more than a flickering shadow of former glories, barely there and soon forgotten.

Verdict:

“That was exciting!” says Willis after he and Courtney survive a 20-storey leap through a plate glass window. “Want to go again?” Frankly, Bruce, we’re fine to leave it here.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • BobbyTwoTimes

      Feb 14th 2013, 13:33

      I think it's becoming apparent that the 'idea' of Arnie, Sly and Bruce returning to action films is far more exciting than the reality of it. As loved as they all were, they were terrible actors in the 80's (not Bruce so much) and they're still terrible actors now. Film has moved on massively in the last 10-15yrs - especially Action films - and unfortunately with the rubbish they're churning out now, it just proves they simply don't fit in to the post-Matrix/Bourne/Avengers/Dark Knight world that we now live in. Shame.

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    • SiMan

      Feb 14th 2013, 14:15

      @BobbyTwoTimes, I'm not so sure you should class Willis in that - he does seem to choose different types of action films, even if he does more or less play the same character in most of them. I do think the last two Die Hard fillms have been let down more by poor directing/stories than Willis' acting. If they'd have worked in the fact McClane has aged it good have been better. I think it is time he let McClane retire though. Its becoming almost self-parody now. Am i right in thinking that AGDtDH is going to be given a 12A certificate in the UK as well?

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    • lukeworm100

      Feb 14th 2013, 14:18

      I really agree with BobbyTwoTimes. These actors are not what they used to be. As exciting and amazing as the prospect of Schwarzenegger, Stallone & Willis in the same action movie is. It should stay a concept because they will never return to their former glory.

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    • Seedorf

      Feb 14th 2013, 14:56

      A Good Day to Quit Making Rubbish Films.

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    • 2Dglasses

      Feb 14th 2013, 15:44

      I dont think its necessarily fair to say they were rubbish actors in the 80's....they were appropriate to the 80s. Ludicrously OTT, usually high concept deliberately naff films (John Matrix?! 'Cobra'?!). However now everything has gone Bourne, shaky cam, heroes that cant really be bothered, weak PC villains who only ever want to cover up dull conspiracies that no one would care about in real life. I enjoyed the Expendables, seeing them all back for basically cameos/tributes, but even that premise is wearing thin and to seeBruce in this, Arnie in The Last Stand and Sly in Bullet to the Head is just depressing

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    • Trickycustomer

      Feb 14th 2013, 16:11

      Not surprised this scored two stars. Die hard 4.0 was terrible too. The first 3 movies will always be the best.

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    • wibble

      Feb 14th 2013, 16:51

      Saw it last week. I'd thought it couldn't be worse than number 4, but boy I was wrong. There was plenty of action, but the action sequences were over-long, especially given the fairly short run time of the film (more or less half an hour shorter than the others in the series), leaving little time for any character development or McClane's usual witty banter. What dialogue there was was mostly used up with some cheesy bickering between father and son to illustrate their estrangement. The 'twist', when it came, had been clearly signposted early on, so was no surprise.

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    • Hadouken76

      Feb 14th 2013, 18:07

      Poor John Mcteirnan, not only did he lose Hollywood career, but he has to watch his iconic films legacy be butchered and watered down by hacks.

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    • Seedorf

      Feb 14th 2013, 19:09

      Reviews were only out today it seems. A pretty good sign that a film will be c**p if the critics only get to see it the same time as the public. It's a s**t film, and the people who released it, knew it.

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    • Barryburphead

      Feb 14th 2013, 21:21

      When will you learn Hollywood? When will you learn? Do you even know what made the first Die Hard so amazing? I'll give you a clue...it certainly isn't human beings defying the laws of physics.

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    • Jaffa

      Feb 15th 2013, 3:07

      Who would have thought 10 years ago that the Fast and Furious franchise would be making better action flicks than Die Hard? They should cast The Rock in Die Hard 6. Thats the only hope for it.

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    • dookie

      Feb 15th 2013, 9:02

      fdfdfd

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    • YTWhitemanson

      Feb 15th 2013, 15:01

      rotten tomatoes: Die Hard (1988) 94% Die Hard 2 (1990) 67% Die Hard 3: With a Vengeance (1995) 52% Live Free or Die Hard (2007) 81% A Good Day To Die Hard(2013) 15%

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    • paulparson

      Feb 15th 2013, 20:16

      I enjoyed the film, curious as to why they censored his famous catchphrase yet again but kept in a person cut in half by a helicopter blade? oh and did you notice that at the start of the film John mclane and his daughter was calling his son her brother 'Jack' then halfway through John mclane and everyone else was calling him 'john'?

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    • paulparson

      Feb 15th 2013, 20:16

      I enjoyed the film, curious as to why they censored his famous catchphrase yet again but kept in a person cut in half by a helicopter blade? oh and did you notice that at the start of the film John mclane and his daughter was calling his son her brother 'Jack' then halfway through John mclane and everyone else was calling him 'john'?

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    • malcolmwearin

      Feb 15th 2013, 22:42

      You can always tell by the 90 minute length that the movie will be rushed . Nobody is really interested in seeing these sequels. The eighties and nineties were the golden days of action movies. Haven't seen this yet but can imagine it is all explosions and fast paced with a rubbish story.

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    • Seedorf

      Feb 16th 2013, 12:42

      Live Free or Die Hard got 81% on RT?! Critics are a strange bunch of people.

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    • LSJShez

      Feb 16th 2013, 16:39

      Jack is "short" for John. Like a pet name. When Mrs McClane shouts "PHONE CALL JOHN!", it stops em both running to the phone. I think people are being a bit tough on Willis. I didn't expect this to be on a par with the original, but he did recently do Looper; so he can still make em. As for Arnie...

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    • Ali1748

      Feb 17th 2013, 0:12

      1

      Even I struggled to enjoy this and I am a sucker for brainless action movies. Honestly it feels like Bruce doesn't give a f.... anymore and just shows up for paychecks. I hope a sixth movie doesn't happen.

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    • chrysler

      Feb 17th 2013, 22:35

      went to see this today with my expectations set really, really low and yet somehow it still managed to greatly disappoint. I cant remember any specific thing of quality in the film, The action sequences are shoddy and come all too quick not allowing for any form of intake or appreciation. None of the bad guys have any whiff of character or semblance of real menacet, There is absolutely no chemistry between the 2 leads and Willis clearly doesn't give a damn. the director John Moore hasn't made a film in 5 years and that was the abysmal Max Payne. It shows here why that was and judging by this shambles of a film I really expect that he will join the list of Hack action directors that forum users reference to describe how terribly bad a film is (ala Michael Bay; Uwe Boll; Paul WS Anderson; Len Wiseman). Actually Wiseman made the last DH and that was a god in comparison to this c**p, save your money or go see Wreck it Ralph instead ( a far finer film in both story and action-comedy value). This film is so bad its not even good in the "its so bad its good" kind of way. AVOID.

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    • TheShamrock

      Feb 18th 2013, 12:48

      It's a bit harsh giving Willis stick for this. He still makes some good films, Looper, RED. I'm sure he wasn't pushing to carry on the franchise. Even though 4 wasn't good, it still got crowds into the cinema and I'd like to think it got the 'young 'uns' into Die Hard to the point where they seeked out Die Hard 1 and basked in its glory. It should have ended with Vengeance yes, but at least 4 played on the old man in a digital age theme quite well, in the mist of ridiculous stunts etc. This 5th instalment for me has nothing to offer. I'll still go see it though. Bottom line is, when we make the ultimate action film as they did with Die Hard - the only way is down. Happy trails.

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    • vinnym1980

      Feb 19th 2013, 22:09

      1

      c**p storyline, rubbish one liners, the whole thing between him and his son was cringe worthy at times. Didnt even feel like a die hard film it could of been any generic action film. Don't even getting me started on that bad guy who started dancing.. No wonder people download illegal movies, can i have my money back.

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