A Good Day to Die Hard:
The death of a franchise
ONE OUT OF FIVE STARS
This movie is rated R for violence and language
When the Die Hard franchise reappeared in 2007 after a twelve year break, many people were skeptical. The star of the franchise, Bruce Willis, was much older, not the hard edged bad boy action star who had headlined the first three Die Hard films. But somehow, 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard worked, if barely. It didn’t feel much like a Die Hard movie, and Willis didn’t feel much like Detective John McClane, but the movie itself was exciting and interesting.
Anytime something makes money in Hollywood, you can count on it continuing, so nobody was surprised by the release of A Good Day to Die Hard. What is surprising is just how awful this movie is. Everything about this film feels forced and awkward, from the unending and uninspired action sequences to the stunted one liners Willis spouts incessantly. It’s painful from the start, and by the time it ended I was just so happy to be leaving the theater.
Die Hard has long been a pretty easy franchise to follow. Regular guy John McClane finds himself stumbling headlong into huge villainous situations, and he lucks his way through them by the skin of his teeth with wits and a lot of violence. In this latest version, McClane and his estranged son get mixed up in an international incident in Russia in a plot that is among the dumbest you’ll ever see on film.
This time, there’s no wits, no real luck, no skin of his teeth close calls, just a truckload of senseless gunfights and car chases and over the top stunts that make you feel like you’re watching a cartoon. McClane and his son run from abandoned building to abandoned building, spouting off nonsense like “knock knock!” and “guess who!” and “remember me!” and “get outta’ here!” and “is that your best shot!” as if this is still the 80’s the whole way.
I love action movies, and I love the Die Hard franchise, but I loved nothing about this film. Willis looks bored out of his mind the entire time, and in most scenes he can barely be bothered to do more than speak in a monotone voice and stare straight ahead with dead eyes.
Then there’s newcomer Jai Courtney, who plays McClane’s son. Courtney is just a flat out terrible actor, and his overplayed daddy issues will have you rolling your eyes through the entire film as you have to suffer through a poorly portrayed version of one of the oldest storylines Hollywood has to offer.
Are there some amazing action sequences in this movie? Sort of. It’s hard to call anything about it amazing, since by the time you’re treated to the best stunts, you’re already neck deep in the garbage plot and have been beaten over the head by some of the worst acting you’ll ever witness. Now all we can do is hope the franchise finally lives up to its name and dies, because I don’t think I can suffer through another one of these ever again.
This Week at the Theater
There are two new movies releasing this weekend, with neither getting much hype so far. First up is Dark Skies, a supernatural horror film starring Keri Russell. The horror genre has been getting a bit more original lately, with several recent films showing that it might be having a creative resurgence. Of course, it’s impossible to tell if Dark Skies will continue that trend, but expect it to do moderate numbers at the box office.
The other new release is Snitch, a crime film starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. When his son gets arrested for being involved with drugs, The Rock volunteers to go undercover and help bring down the criminals in order to get his son’s sentence reduced. This one could be good, with some strong trailers that might pull in a bit of an audience.
Releasing on home video this week is Argo, Fun Size, and Sinister.
10 movies every child of the 80’s loved
#10 Adventures in Babysitting
#9 Little Monsters
#7 Flight of the Navigator
#6 The Wizard
#5 The Monster Squad
#4 The Last Starfighter
#1 The Goonies