DVD Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney share some father-son bonding time.

Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney share some father-son bonding time.

There’s a special place in hell reserved for movies like A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth and unquestionably worst entry in the Die Hard franchise. Everything about this sequel reeks of laziness, from the nonsensical, practically nonexistent plot to John Moore’s appallingly sloppy direction. It’s all shockingly, relentlessly terrible. The acting’s pretty deplorable too, and even Bruce Willis disappoints, sleepwalking through a script that succeeds in turning his most enduring character into an irritating one-note caricature.

What little story there is in this movie finds John McClane tracking down his erstwhile son (Jai Courtney, agonizingly wooden), who has wound up in a Russian prison. Before you can say “Yipee-kay-yay,” McClane is thrown headfirst into a terrorist plot involving a nuclear power struggle between two corrupt Russian officials. From there on, A Good Day to Die Hard is all but incomprehensible, zipping from set-piece to set-piece in an utterly futile attempt to conceal the fact that there’s absolutely nothing going on behind all the explosions and gunfire.

Perhaps A Good Day to Die Hard would be at least half-way tolerable if it yielded some interesting action sequences or memorable lines. No such luck. In fact, the only thing worth watching on the screen is the occasional fireball. Each scene is less interesting than the last, and good luck trying to follow any of the film’s action. Moore’s inept direction makes searching for any logical flow in the movie’s action sequences a Herculean task that’s just not worth it.

Cars crash into each other without rhyme or reason, explosions inexplicably destroy every part of a room other than where the protagonists are standing, and every character is apparently made of rubber. The real-life mechanics that the rest of the Die Hard movies at least partially observed go completely out the window here, and the result is a movie that feels simultaneously phony, disjointed, and pointless.

As McClane defies basic laws of physics and falls from extraordinary heights merely because the shoddy script calls for it, the movie betrays the everyman-versus-the-bad-guys spirit of its predecessors, sacrificing every inch of credibility (and fun) in the process. Die Hard was once a great franchise, but A Good Day to Die Hard does everything it can to taint its legacy by insulting the audience at every turn. As Willis incessantly growls “I’m on vacation” to himself or anyone who will listen, beating a half-fun line to death then kicking its motionless corpse for a full hour and a half, it’s painfully clear that the real screenwriters were as well. F

Photo Courtesy: Twentieth Century Fox


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