A Good Day to Die Hard (Die Hard 5) is another instalment of the Die Hard franchise that no one wants, yet everyone will see and thereafter complain that it isn’t as good as the original. I think this is the Circle of Life that Elton John once sang about.
Thanks to an anti-Valentine’s Day advertising campaign which I enjoyed and a convincing trailer I cared not that the word of mouth was poor.
PLOT: After learning that his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) has been arrested in Russia John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads off on a very much emphasised vacation to save the day. John discovers that Jack is working undercover for the CIA and the newly formed father/son team set out to stop a terrorist from stealing weapons grade uranium which has been left lying around in a Chernobyl safe since the disaster. END PLOT
A Good Day to Die Hard adheres religiously to a strict protect the McGuffin formula. This isn’t a complaint and is probably one of the easiest things to forgive in an action film provided it makes up for generic storytelling in other areas.
The action isn’t clever but is also bizarrely careless. John McClane almost single handily causes chaos on the streets of Russia. It would (almost) be interesting to go back and assess the damage and death toll caused by his road rage. At this stage of the film it is important to note that John was unaware that Jack was working for the CIA and partook in the chase purely because he pissed off that his son was not pleased to see him. The Russian authorities appear to take no issue with the carnage and are absent from the entire film.
Some of the other set pieces included Jack running up a never ending staircase and a helicopter crashing itself into a building. Lots of bullets were fired from the opposing sides but with Storm Trooper levels of accuracy.
Bruce Willis spends the first half of the film trying not to yawn as John McClane constantly reminds us that he is supposed to be on vacation. Luckily Willis gets little bursts of energy each time he apologetically mumbles “fuck”. I counted this to be on four occasions.
Jai Courtney is in such a constant stage of upper-arm-muscle-flex I thought his arms were giving birth to veins. This exertion saps all his acting capabilities. The father/son chemistry needed to be strong in order to elevate the film but even when the banter was at its laziest they couldn’t pull it off.
The villains were copied and pasted from the Big Book of European Bad Guys although in fairness to Sebastian Koch he was at the stronger end of the scale.
It is 2013 and getting anything other than a 12A rating for a mainstream action film is nearly impossible – this is just how it is. The problem is A Good Day to Die Hard isn’t hampered by its rating. The frantic editing, the lazy script and Bruce Willis not giving a fuck, Yipee Ki-Yay or otherwise meant that it managed to be shit all by itself.
A Good Day to Die Hard gets 4/10.