“I’m going to count to three. There will not be a four,” mutters Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber in the very first Die Hard movie. If only the filmmakers of this renowned action movie franchise had taken note, as after a triumphant trilogy, we now set foot into what is the fifth instalment in the Die Hard series, as John Moore presents A Good Day to Die Hard.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) learns that his disobedient son Jack (Jai Courtney) has landed himself in trouble in the Russian capital city of Moscow. Flying over to help rescue him, it soon becomes apparent that his wayward offspring is in fact working undercover for the CIA and is desperately seeking a file that belongs to political prisoner Komarov (Sebastian Koch). Despite arriving with the best intentions, instead John merely gets in the way of Jack’s operation, landing the pair in a host of trouble as they get caught up in the middle of the Russian criminal underworld – yet they use this life-threatening situation as an excuse to get some much needed father and son bonding done.
In a similar vein to the relatively recent addition Die Hard 4.0, the biggest issue in regards to this title, is that it simply doesn’t feel like a Die Hard movie, and instead comes across merely as an action film that just happens to have Bruce Willis in it. In many cases this wouldn’t be a problem, and in a sense, it shouldn’t be. In this case, to appease the audience, you’ve simply got to stay faithful to the Die Hard brand as that’s what people want to see. You just can’t help but compare in relation to the previous titles, and when doing so, the results are not great.
As a stand-alone feature there is also very little going for this title, as a film that simply attempts too much. The original Die Hard thrives within its simplicity and this has too much going on, with an intricate story and a host of superfluous characters, as you forgot who is supposed to be helping who. Rather than simply take place in just a building or an airport, for example, instead McClane decides to take on the entire city of Moscow. Meanwhile, the script is lacklustre with a few too many gags and one-liners that rely on the fact John is trying to take a vacation. The father-son subplot is also completely unnecessary, and goes against what Die Hard stands for. We don’t have time for needless sentimentality. It feels too contrived too, as whenever the pair have a moment’s peace together, instantly they start talking about their relationship and how John wasn’t there for his son, and so on.
However that said, in terms of action this title is unrelenting, with non-stop chases, explosions and gun shots. This is a good thing to an extent, but it doesn’t bode too well in regards to the storytelling. There is also a brilliant car chase to begin this title, lasting over a quarter of an hour, ensuring you remain compelled throughout. The effects are also impressive, although sadly not much can be done in regards to Willis looking a little worse for wear. He just looks a bit old. It’s quite sad really.
With little going for A Good Day to Die Hard in any aspect it’s certainly a disappointing addition to the Die Hard franchise, and with the introduction of a younger version of John McClane in the form of Courtney, it does worry us that we could have a few more of these yet. In fact, the