Review: “A Good Day to Die Hard”

A Good Day to Die Hard

Director John Moore wants to crush all of my favorite franchises. At least that’s the impression I have after his latest film, “A Good Day to Die Hard.”

The first time Moore killed my hopes and dreams was when he adapted the video game “Max Payne” into a horribly misguided film.

The fifth installment of the Die Hard franchise follows John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he travels to Russia to see his son, the black sheep of the family, who has been charged with murder. It turns out that Jack (Jai Courtney) is actually a deep undercover CIA agent trying to find incriminating evidence of a high-ranking Russian politician. A couple thousand rounds of ammunition later, the McClane men have something new to talk about next Thanksgiving.

Willis’ McClane became an iconic film role due to his sarcastic wit and ability to knock off world-class terrorists. While there is a little of each of those here, the character suffers from having to work with horribly written dialogue and characterizations that are, at best, paper thin. On 4 separate occasions McClane bursts out “I’m on vacation!” which isn’t even true to the film’s premise. There are at least another dozen lines that fail miserably.

When you start off with Skip Woods’ (“X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) shaky script, the rest of the crew can only do so much to give the film a leg to stand on. The best compliment I can pay the film is that there was a really cool car chase that kicked off the film’s action sequences. Unfortunately I can’t even give it THAT much credit because it is poorly shot and edited and has some terrible dialogue mixed into it.

When “Live Free or Die Hard” came out back in 2007, the series took a turn in the wrong direction, but at least it was still a pretty good action movie. “A Good Day to Die Hard” is not a Die Hard movie. It’s not even an okay stand-alone movie. The villain is uninteresting and his (their?) plan is almost non-existent. They’re just evil for the sake of being evil, no innocent lives in the balance. McClane’s catch phrase is awkwardly thrown in at the last second as if someone forgot until the last day of shooting. This film follows few, if any, themes from the previous films and the McClane character seems to have completely changed from who he’s been for 25 years.

In closing this ranting review of “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the writing is hurried, the acting is choppy, the action sequences are poorly shot/choreographed, plot holes are numerous and it isn’t faithful to previous installments.

Thanks, Mr. Moore, for nailing shut the coffin of a great American action franchise.

Grade: D

I’ll be starting my Oscar coverage in my next post. Hopefully things go more smoothly than my most recent trip to the theater. Happy viewing.

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