A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD: A Review

OK, I love Die Hard, we all love Die Hard and Number 1 is still my all time favourite action film of all time. It is epic and as a reviewer friend of mine explained, it’s success is all about McClane’s vulnerability.

 

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis
A Good Day to Die Hard – Bruce Willis

 

So Number 1 is pure genius – and come on – Professor Snape (Alan Rickman) is a mean badass!! Then number 2 is also brilliant but just a little bit less brilliant than 1, but it has snow, is at an airport and his wife maybe killed. Then you have 3 which leaves the general premise of being tied somewhere or trapped in an environment, this kind of diminishes his vulnerability although this time it is Snape’s brother (Jeremy Irons) playing with him and he is vulnerable because if he does not be a mouse in a trap and perform then innocent people will be killed, it also has extra cred because he buddies up with Samuel L Jackson. Then we have 4.0, similar to three but McClane has had a long sabbatical and is upping the budget and explosions from the previous ones. This time the believability of the film is seriously worth questioning due to stealth plane’s, nuclear weapons, blah blah blah. But he is vulnerable because his daughter, all grown up, is taken hostage. This got uber cred due to the Mac guy (Justin Long) being in it – I love him.  And now we have number 5. It is like 4.0 but removed to Russia and what is missing??? Vulnerability.

 

A Good Day to Die Hard - Bruce Willis
A Good Day to Die Hard – Bruce Willis

 

This time he heads to Russia to try and bail his son out of prison. His son is all grown up and kind of lost his way. As John watches his son enter a courthouse, John glimpses a heavily armored vehicle, no doubt stolen from Bruce Wayne’s stash, and get’s the glint in his eye. Then boom crash opera, the shit hits the fan and action never ceases until the end. BUT, this time he does not have to worry about his son, Jack, played by the very hot Aussie, Jai Courtney (Spartacus). His son is all kitted out and is a CIA operative in deep cover and he has a bag of goodies and seems to pull guns out of thin air. Now it may appear I am being a tad negative. Not so, I loved this film, it was pure brainless action with the best car chase EVERRRRRRRRRR, it blows everything up you look at, there are more guns than at a school yard in the US and the McClane family are hanging out together. BUT – IT IS NOT A DIE HARD FILM!!!

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch

It should never have been made as a Die Hard film. It should have been Bruce Willis’s TAKEN or it should have starred Liam Neeson and his daughter could be 10yrs older and working for the CIA and then shit could get real. But the difference is that Neeson fights like a Segal trained master of fluid death moves and Willis is a bar room brawler, and I think this is part of the reason he is so loved. He is your Mr everyday Joe and people want that guy fighting for them.

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch

 

John Moore directs this and he is awesome at B Grade action films. From his first Behind Enemy Lines, to the dreadful remake of Flight of the Phoenix to Max Payne. He continues to do what he does in this film although this is probably the biggest budget and the one film he got blow up the most stuff and trash the most amount of cars I have seen ruined. If he thought about things a bit better Moore could undoubtedly direct a masterpiece but until then he cruises in B gradeland.

 

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch

 

I was very surprised this was filmed in W/S (1.85) ratio – it is the only Die Hard film to do so but then I found out it is also being released in IMAX so that explains that – all about the money . There is some interesting trivia about the film. Firstly, a HUGE amount of actors were considered for the role of McClane’s son before Courtney got the role. Paul Walker, Paul Dano (WTF?), Liam Hemsworth, Milo Ventimiglia and Steve R McQueen were among them. Coolest trivia is that in the UK, digital copies of the film were delivered to cinemas with the fake title “Simon Says”. And final bit of interest – Murphy, played by Amaury Nolasco refers to McClane as ‘papi’, which is a term that Nolasco’s character of Sucre often used in Prison Break. Thanks to IMDB for the trivia – head to their site for more if you are interested.

 

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch

 

Now the actors. Bruce is Bruce, he is looking old, lacks his usual charm in this one and the one liners are mostly missing. There were a few scenes where they must have filmed without the other present. Mostly noticeable in the van after Jack tells John to get in. The delivery is strained and lacking in a person being delivered to, the whole chemistry of the conversation isn’t present. I also think Willis just wanted to shoot expensive guns, there is a lot of guns fired. This being said, the chemistry between the two of them is great. I really can buy Jack being John’s son and I think Courtney was a successful casting choice. So much so that he steals the show. This isn’t the John McClane film, it’s the Jack and John story and Jack is the main actor in this film. Is Willis just cruising? I don’t know but I was drawn more to the character of Jack.

 

Die Hard, Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch

 

One character is back that I have missed and loved a lot. The music of this film and all of the Die Hards that is twisted through the score – Beethoven’s 9th – I love it and I long for it. But it has never resonated and never will as much as it did inside the Nakatomi Plaza but it is a comforter to hear it in all the films.

I have said a lot of negatives about the film and they are deserved, this is the worst of the Die Hard series and should never have been a Die Hard film but if you take that in mind and ignore the title then it is a damn fine stand alone action film. It is out now at all cinemas. I give it 6 out of 10 Hans Grubers. And stay tuned for Die Hard 6 – he has always wanted Bonnie Bedelia back in the series (she played the wife) – so Die Hard 6 takes place on a “let’s get back together, go for a cruise”, and end up with Speed 2 starring John McClane – I LOVE IT!!