I cannot believe Fox is actually releasing A Good Day to Die Hard. I’ve seen horrible action movies and I’ve even seen awful late franchise entries, but I’ve never seen something this astoundingly bad. John Moore‘s A Good Day to Die Hard makes hack Len Wiseman‘s Live Free or Die Hard not the worst thing to come out of the Fox franchise pipeline, despite A Good Day‘s promising R rating and intense action-oriented marketing campaign. The truth of it is that A Good Day to Die Hard is a boring slog that makes little sense and doesn’t even bother pumping us full of bullets or comedy. It’s all flat.
Our favorite hot head police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back front and center, continuing his gig as a caring father, only this time on the hunt for his son Jack (Jai Courtney). His investigation leads him to Russia where he almost instantly finds out that Jack has gotten himself into some secret agent spying stuff that has mixed him up with some shady and very powerful people. Nuclear missiles, Chernobyl and other extreme — possible world-ending things, all tie into a plot that can be summed up as absurdly stupid and not even remotely intriguing.
Here’s where I need to draw the line. Look, I’m a fan of the original Die Hard film and I even liked the first two sequels, but I’ve never cared for the fourth entry, because it took what used to be an everyday character and made him out to be a superhero. John McClane in my eyes represented an American citizen that happened to be caught in the wrong place almost always at the wrong time. Most of the times he got his ass kicked, but he never gave up and he always put up a fight with a dash of wit.
Live Free made him out to be generic action star #55 and A Good Day to Die Hard certainly continues that streak. I went into the film hoping for a mildly entertaining action film and nothing more. I already told myself not to expect another proper Die Hard entry, which meant expectations were set low and yet the film still never even got close to reaching that low bar of standards.
Max Payne director John Moore attempts to shoot things a little grittier and more R-rated, but what he comes up with is a PG-13 film that feels like it was forced to an R. There are maybe one or two deaths that take advantage of the rating and even then they feature heavily edited CGI that almost feels out of place. Our favorite wisecracking hero also drops a few F bombs this time around, but only one of them actually sticks. The rest feel like forced script changes to lure in the die-hard fans back to the series after a watered down entry.
The film’s shining moments lie between Bruce Willis and co-star Jai Courtney, because the two actually play off of each other quite well. Willis is set on old man autopilot, constantly spitting out dinosaur comments, while Courtney sort of plays with the idea of being mad at his father, when he almost instantly accepts him back into his life and starts working with him once the shit starts hitting the fan. It’s actually kind of pathetic watching the two get over their mysterious past differences so fast, but it almost feels natural.
The rest of the movie… oh boy. I never thought that I’d use the word boring to describe a Die Hard film, especially one this late in the series, but that’s exactly what A Good Day to Die Hard is. It’s a boring mess that sprawls around Russia with not the slightest clue of what to do. There’s a bloated highway chase scene that could have been wrapped up in ten minutes, yet Moore decides to stretch it out for a good twenty and then there’s a shootout that ends with a helicopter exploding into the side of a building for some reason.
There are reasons as to why these particular events are taking place, but Moore never bothers to make you actually care. You’ll find yourself forgetting how everything got set up almost minutes into the film. I almost forgot who the bad guy was supposed to be, because the film spends absolutely no time focusing on anything other than Willis and Courtney bickering back and forth.
By the time A Good Day to Die Hard reaches its final scene you’ll be begging for the credits to start rolling so that you can get the hell out of the theater. A Good Day to Die Hard completely drains the life right out of you, providing you with nothing more than an hour and a half window to get a solid nap in. Seriously, this might just be the worst film I’ve seen so far this year, which until now was awarded to the crapfest known as Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters. That film tried to inject humor and cheese, but things never clicked. Die Hard on the other hand doesn’t even attempt to establish a pulse or a reason to exist.
Fox clearly doesn’t care about this once good series and it saddens me. I can only imagine how bad the sixth film will be.
A Good Day to Die Hard – 5/10