Movie Review: “A Good Day to Die Hard” – Not “Die Hard”

Written by Jesse Gelinas February 14, 2013

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane in "A Good Day to Die Hard"

He has no idea where he is.

“Just wing it. Run in guns blazing. Make it up as we go.”

That about sums up “A Good Day to Die Hard”. John McTiernan and Bruce Willis redefined the action genre in 1988. Alan Rickman was solidified in people’s minds as a badass villain, and “yippee-ki-yay” became a household phrase. Twenty-five years later, it’s a joke. This franchise has become a dark shell of its former self. They got nothing right. They did no homework. They didn’t even bother with the reading. The only thing that made the movie remotely watchable was imagining that John McClane had already gone senile and didn’t know what was happening around him. Trust me; it helps, just not much.

John McClane, now a senior citizen hears his son is on trial for murder in Russia and decides to go on vacation. While there, he speaks gibberish to a singing cabbie, then unintentionally hinders his son’s meticulous escape plan and begins shouting in the street. He then engages in a car chase with a group of terrorists who don’t even know he’s there, and causes about sixty innocent drivers to be flipped, crushed, or incinerated. He then waves at the armed villains and says “guess who”, reminding them (ad nauseum) that he is “on vacation”. The good times roll from there.

“You know what I hate about Americans? Everything. Especially cowboys.”

Bruce Willis has been allowed to just play Bruce Wills for the last fifteen years, so no one is willing to demand that he actually PLAY John McClane. This is strike one. Instead of fighting thieves or well-armed militant drug dealers, he’s in Russia fighting Soviet (yeah) terrorists. Strike two. They didn’t even bother trying to find a son with smidgen of charisma. The running time is less than one hundred minutes. The music is bad. Cole Hauser dies ninety seconds after he’s introduced. This is not “Die Hard”. This isn’t even “Die Hard 2”. That is strike eight, and I think that actually counts as a run against you.

John McClane Sr and Junior in "A Good Day to Die Hard"

This was pretty much the audience’s reaction too.

They could have told Willis to bring back the attitude he had as a younger man. They could have kept him stateside and removed his son from the equation. They could have hired a guy who didn’t write “Live Free or Die Hard”, and they could have actually given a shit about the fans. Also, wasn’t the last “Die Hard” about him realizing he’s getting old? Is that all Bruce Willis is going to do now? Just keep playing the aging hard ass who’s never heard of Skype? I’m pretty sure Stallone has that market cornered. Seriously, this movie could’ve been pitched as “Rambo 5” or “The Expendables 3” and no one would’ve noticed.

“Yippee-ki-yay motherfucker!”

Somewhere between 1995 and 2006, the self-proclaimed “gatekeeper of the Die Hard franchise” just up and stopped caring about “Die Hard”. What’s left, where once was intrigue, ingenuity and good old-fashioned ass-kicking, is left a dull, sloppy, cutesy mess of a sequel. The heart is gone. The fun is gone. John McClane has checked out and Bruce Willis is just wandering around in his clothes. Don’t waste time encouraging the bastards. Let “Die Hard” die peacefully in its sleep, not screaming like its fans’ dreams.

My Rating: 3/10

Theatrical poster for "A Good Day to Die Hard"

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

About Jesse Gelinas

After years attempting to escape the Matrix, Jesse has accepted his fate as a writer and Senior Editor. Now that's he finished with his film degree, it gives him something to do while waiting for the machines to get careless.

Browse Archived Articles by

No Comments

There are currently no comments on Movie Review: “A Good Day to Die Hard” – Not “Die Hard”. Perhaps you would like to add one of your own?

Leave a Comment