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A Good Day to Die Hard

2013-02-18 09:37
 
A bad day to be a Die Hard movie. Die Hard 5 is by far the worst instalment yet.
A Good Day to Die Hard
What it's about:

In this fifth instalment in the Die Hard franchise, John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Russia to save his wayward son, Jack (Jai Courtney), from a murder charge, but Jack turns out to be a CIA operative, in the middle of a crucial rescue mission.

What we thought:

The first Die Hard film, released way back in 1988 (yup, Die Hard is 25 years old this year, how quickly they grow up), is, very simply, the greatest action movie ever made. It has an airtight plot, tense and terse action scenes, plenty of humour and great characters. It's the film that launched Bruce Willis' screen career as an action hero and can lay claim to one of the silver screen's all time great bad guys in Alan Rickman's hilarious, ruthless and expectation-defying Hans Gruber.

Since then, we've had three sequels that, though enjoyable in their own right, never came close to capturing the sparky fun of the original. Sadly, the cumbersomely titled, A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth in the series, doesn't just fail to reverse this trend, it doesn't even manage to capture the admittedly guilty pleasures of its sanitized predecessor, Live Free and Die Hard (or Die Hard 4.0, as it is known in some territories).

Die Hard the fifth isn't simply a disappointing Die Hard film – hell, it's a stretch to even call it a Die Hard film to begin with – but is so thoroughly mediocre that it barely even works as a by-the-numbers action film. It's too professionally produced to be truly bad and is served greatly by having a running time that clocks in at less than 100 minutes, but this leaden, ultimately boring action flick isn't just a far cry from previous Die Hard films, it also pales in comparison to recent genre offerings like Jack Reacher and the excellent James Bond reinvigoration of Skyfall.

It's true, Bruce Willis is undeniably watchable in this, as he always is, but his performance here continues to turn the loveable but flawed everyman that was John McClane in the first Die Hard film into a caricatured, invincible action hero. It's funny but Nicolas Cage's character in Con Air – an undeniable Die Hard rip-off – is closer to the original McClane than the one we get this time around. Still, no matter how much of a disappointment he is here, Willis with his natural charm and undeniable acting chops is still far and away the best thing about A Good Day To Die Hard.

Die Hard With a Vengeance (aka Die Hard 3 – seriously what's wrong with numbering sequels?) is probably the best of the Die Hard sequels, thanks mainly to its terrific supporting cast that includes Samuel L Jackson as McClane's inevitable sidekick and, better still, Jeremy Irons as the franchise's second most memorable bad guy. Die Hard 5 may have a weak plot; unimaginative, over-long (if explosive and frenetic) action scenes and some seriously forced, cheesy one-liners, but what lets it down most is how faceless the rest of the cast are.

Presumably, by introducing Jai Courtney as John McClane Jr, director John Moore and screenwriter Skip Woods hoped to capture some of the great father-son interplay that made Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade such fun, but sadly they ended up with something closer to the latest Indy film's bland Ford/Shia LaBeouf team up. Courtney is fine in the role, but his character is so nondescript that it's hard not to wonder if perhaps teaming Willis up with Mary Elizabeth Winstead - again reprising the role of McClane's daughter – would have created a more enjoyable and interesting dynamic. But then, that might just be the Scott Pilgrim fan in me talking.

Worst of all though, is this instalments terrible excuse for a villain. Or villains – it's a surprise, though I doubt you'll care either way. Forget greats like Irons and Rickman, the entirely personality-free bad guys in A Good Day to Die Hard are sure to have you clamouring for even the underwhelming baddie that the usually rather good Timothy Olyphant played in Die Hard 4.

There has been some controversy regarding the very recent decision to release the film in edited, youngins-friendly 12A-rated form, but, as stupid as self-imposed censorship might be in this case, there's no real reason to be up in arms about it. 12A or 15; R or PG13, 16 or 13 – no matter what form you see it in, A Good Day to Die Hard is by far the worst Die Hard film to date.             

Read more on:    bruce willis  |  movies  |  die hard 5
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(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Jay Haszczyn 2/14/2013 10:39 AM
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Just to be clear, his name is spelt McClane, its not McClain or McCain. I do not think you can judge a film if you dont remember the main characters name in a franchise that dates back 25 years. Review for the Review - 0/5
Bernard 2/14/2013 11:11 AM
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Watched it last night. At best this movie can be called an average action movie. And yes, it's hands down the worst Die Hard. It was clear that a lot of this movie ended up on the cutting floor. Also, the continuity errors must set some kind of a record...
Burnicus 2/14/2013 11:45 AM
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John McCain is an American senator, the one who ran with Sarah Palin. Even if the movie sucks, I still want to see Bruce Willis do his thing.
Dean 2/14/2013 3:06 PM
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The simplicity of action flicks are things of te past. Its all about how much CGI can we use and how far can we push the boundaries. What about a simple cop action movie with beliveable action sequences? That is what made the first few films so good. I will still watch this though.
preshen govender 2/14/2013 4:01 PM
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Die hard 6: With Viagra
Taneia 2/14/2013 4:55 PM
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I cannot take this "critic" seriously as with every one of his reviews I have read there were mistakes. And very silly mistakes which should not be made, such as the character's name. Sometime it seems as if he gets bored of the film halfway through and just makes up the rest of the story as he writes. A particular faulty review was Tim Burton's Frankenweenie (which has since been altered I see). Character names and plot left me thinking did you really watch it...
Ilan Preskovsky 2/14/2013 5:07 PM
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Sorry about the McCain/McClain misspelling. Totally my bad, which is especially shameful since I tend to write these reviews with IMDB open in another tab. I would, however, kill to see a Die Hard film starring former Republican John McCain in the lead role. Or, if nothing else, he certainly would have been a way better villain than the stiffs we have here.
Rob 2/15/2013 5:23 AM
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Saw it tonight. Not as bad as I feared. Funny to see the blouse button continuity error - I have to imagine it's a purposeful homage to the first movie. So many elements from the original copied - fiery crashing helicopter, simultaneous explosion through row of windows, elevator, shoot the glass...
Jackie 2/15/2013 10:31 AM
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I will most likely wait for this to come on MNET.
Marisa 2/15/2013 4:48 PM
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I can never take this reviewer seriously. The number of blatant errors is ridiculous. And to think he probably gets paid for it... that offends me.
Die Hard Fan 2/16/2013 5:34 PM
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Review is right on the money! Spelling mistake complaints, really?? Grammar trolls grow up. The content is great. The first die hard is a classic, the third average, the rest suck b@lls.
Aslam 2/18/2013 6:57 AM
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This critic needs to go ... The movie may not be great, but I am still going to watch it, why cause its Die Hard, yipee-ki-yay..... Has this critic not heard of google, or even IMDb? I rather go with IMDb review than this critic, so far all the movies he rated crap have been better. Think we need a new critic.
SuckMyAss 2/18/2013 9:52 AM
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A MODERN MASTERPIECE!!! Better than Any Batman Movie- so shut up!
Jason 2/19/2013 2:37 PM
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@Ilan Preskovsky beware the grammar NAZIS!!!!
Charlie 2/19/2013 4:08 PM
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Watched it last night. At best this movie can be called an average action movie. And yes, it's hands down the worst Die Hard. It was clear that a lot of this movie ended up on the cutting floor. Also, the continuity errors must set some kind of a record...
Hannes 2/26/2013 8:18 AM
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I actually enjoyed it. It is good that they bring a bit more depth to the Die Hard story ( by bringing in his son ) this shows that John is human and not superficial like iron man, spiderman and so on. Yes, there is a few references to the first die hard movie - so what! Remember, that movie is 25 years old, so a lot of young people might not even have seen it. I actually appreciated the glass scene and the falling off the building scene.
Mandy 2/26/2013 11:47 AM
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Its crap.Half the time you have no idea what is actually going on.What the commotion about etc. This was such a disapointment.
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