I Saw A Film Today… A Good Day to Die Hard
Die Hard is, undoubtedly, one of the best action films of all time. It has a relentless and exciting pace, a relatable common man hero with a smart mouth, and of course, explosions. Is it a little cheesy? Mildly. Has it aged well? Not entirely. But will I watch it every time it comes on tele? You bet! As for the sequels that followed the original, I haven’t really taken the time to watch any of them outside of the second long ago.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back once again with his own brand of destruction, but this time he makes it a family affair. His son, Johnny junior (Jai Courtney) lands in some hot water when he assassinates some stereotypical rich guy in a club. But things are not as they seems as Jr. is actually a government agent trying to sneak a high-profile target out of the motherland.
When the extraction goes wrong though, both Johns are left with the task of escaping with the most wanted man in Russia. Now the two McClanes must improvise an escape if they want to see a day outside East Europe.
One of this years trends seems to be action stars past their prime disregarding their age and trying to go back to the glory days. Schwarzenegger had… what was his called again? The Last Stand, that’s right. And Stallone had… wait, what was his called again? A quick IMDB search says Bullet to the Head. Completely forgot. And now, Bruce Willis has joined this club.
Which is fine to be honest. Willis is one of the few of this bunch of walking wrinkles that has gotten better with age in some aspects. He’s still in shape. Not steroids in shape like the other two. Which brings us to what his distinction is: Willis has an average Joe demeanor. Nothing particularly special about him until the action starts.
But as for A Good Day to Die Hard, this is a poor entry into the Die Hard franchise. It is a dull film with occasional bits of gun fire and death-defying stunts that would kill not only the average person but frankly any person. The plot itself is outdated and rather predictable. Although I didn’t see a visit to Chernobyl in the cards here, but none-the-less it happens. Then again, looking back, maybe I should have.
There are other distracting plot holes as well. Now, I don’t extensively know policing procedures in and around Russia. This much is true. But I’m guessing if a military grade helicopter was blasting round after round into a very high-end hotel, I would guess one or two rozzers would respond to the scene. But alas, they don’t. Really, I only remember one instance of a copper showing up. He’s killed regardless.
But the most disappointing and annoying thing about A Good Day to Die Hard was the cinematography. I don’t normally point out this area of a film. But cinematographer Jonathan Sela is so terrible, it bears mentioning. What Sela attempted to recreate here is the over used Bourne-style of gritty, shaky camera work. But Sela takes it to a level that is only distracting and contributes to the film in no way. But I don’t really expect much out of the man who the director of photography for such classics as Soul Plane and Max Payne.
As stated earlier, one the very few positive aspects of this film was Bruce Willis. He still has the McClane touch, just a little older and slower. Jai Courtney is a meat head who is really good at yelling stuff so by today’s standards, he’s pretty okayish. As for the rest of the cast… well honestly I don’t remember what they look like or their names. No memorable impressions. Except for the talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who plays daughter McClane for a whole two minutes. Great utilization.
Clocking in at just roughly 98 minutes, A Good Day to Die Hard is short, boring, and just a waste of money.
Verdict: Skip it!
* Rated R for Violence and Language. 98 minutes. Directed by John Moore.
** Poster by Daniel Norris