A Good Day To Die Hard

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Nothing in the film is as amusing as the line on this poster. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Nothing in the film is as amusing as the line on this poster. Draw your own conclusions from that.

Die Hard is probably the greatest action movie ever made. I say probably not because I am not certain of this fact, but because someone will inevitably want to argue with the point and, if you don’t believe that Die Hard is greatest action film of all time you’re a moron and who wants to argue with morons?

A Good Day To Die Hard is not the greatest action movie of all time. It is not the greatest action film of the 21st century. It’s not the greatest action film of 2013 (Zero Dark Thirty so far, even if technically that’s a 2012 release). A Good Day To Die Hard is, in fact, a pretty terrible film. I can’t yet decide whether it is better or worse than The Last Stand, the pretty poor Arnie movie from a couple of weeks ago. At first I thought of course it’s not worse than that, but actually… I think it might just be.

The plot is a waste of time – it doesn’t have much in the way of discernible plot. The action sequences are bland and indistinguishable from any other action movie, the script is terrible, with only one line standing up to the quality of writing in the previous movies. The 4th movie was surprisingly watchable given that it was stretching credulity a little. Justin Long was a good presence for Bruce to bounce off of, Timothy Olyphant made a pretty good villain, the plot just about hung together, and it was only when the fighter jet turned up that the movie started to fall apart. Edit that sequence out and, while not brilliant, it was certainly entertaining. AGDTDH is not brilliant, and nor is it entertaining.

One of the many beauties of all of the previous films was that they obey Newton’s laws (not of physics, but when applied to story-telling) in that every action caused a reaction. When John McClane blew out all the windows on a floor of the Nakatomi Plaza, the people on the ground were covered in glass (though “Glass? Who gives a s*** about glass?”). Here, after a slow start which, I hoped, boded well for the movie over all, there is a ridiculous car chase through the middle of Moscow during which there is no thought for the consequences.

What I am trying to say is that Die Hard lived in the real world. Everyone was a character with their own motivations. A GooD Day To Die Hard is, basically, a video game* in that the central characters will always be able to bounce up basically unharmed from any explosion or gun fight, in which there are any number of bad guys lining up to be cannon fodder and in which the reason for anything happening is non-existent (beyond some notion that it might “look cool”).

John McClane used to be a real guy getting in way over his head by accident and regretting every minute of it. To a certain extent, this even held true with number 4. Any pretence that he is in a dangerous situation is long gone here. He’s now a generic superhero and it’s hard to care what happens. If you like Die Hard films, do yourself a favour, avoid this one and watch any (or all) of those That went before. Do anything you can to pretend this one doesn’t exist.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Making this a 12a even means that Bruce Willis can’t use the Die Hard catch-phrase anymore. There’s no yippee about this film.

Yes, I have decided that this is worse than The Last Stand. 3/10 (4 stars)

The trailer is better than the film. You could watch this a few hundred times instead, perhaps.

You’d be better of watching this though:

*Yes, this is a cheap knock on video games, of which I am a big fan, but, let’s be fair, characterisation doesn’t tend to be a strong suit in the video game world


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