A Good Day to Die Hard

Director: John Moore (2013)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch
Find it: IMDB

Because nothing says "Valentine's Day's over, bitch" like dragging your significant other to see a Die Hard movie. And not only a Die Hard movie, but a bad Die Hard movie too. We had thought it couldn't get much worse than Die Hard 4.0 (which I actually enjoyed) but A Good Day to Die Hard is, indeed, much worse.

It's Die Hard on Holiday, with invincible detective John McClane (Willis) popping on an aeroplane to visit his estranged son Jack (Courtney) in Russia. With him reconciling with daughter Lucy (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) in the previous film, this arc makes sense. Unfortunately, the execution fails to take the story anywhere but the most obvious avenues. The reconciliation with his son doesn't even feel believable - aside from doing the same shit he would have done normally (shoot bad guys, wisecrack, save some lives) McClane does absolutely nothing to engineer goodwill towards him from his son. He gets Jack to forgive him (spoiler) simply by hanging around long enough. Sure he saves his life a couple of times, but that's just what John McClane does. Most of the time he doesn't even like the people he saves. Forgiving someone because their day job just so happens to involve saving your life is like forgiving me because I wrote a positive review of that film you really like, even though I actually hated that film. Although he does go all the way to Russia, which gives him an A for effort.

It doesn't take long for the McClanes to get into trouble once John arrives in Russia. There's a plot about warring gangsters and a missing file, and McClane Jr is a government spy, but none of it makes sense and none of it is Die Hard. It's the second Die Hard film in a row in which Bruce Willis uses a car to destroy a helicopter. Much has been made of this film's use of physical set pieces, but I couldn't see any of them. Even Bruce Willis looks like CGI. The best bit of A Good Day to Die Hard: a singing taxi driver and a bit in which Bruce Willis beats up a man for shouting at him in Russian. While he's in Russia. You half expect him to bump into Liam Neeson so as they can go kill some terrorists together. Although, to this film's credit, it manages to avoid the offensive Russian stereotypes and xenophobia. I forgot that McClane was actually in Russia several times, but that's better than racistly (totally a word) running around murdering anyone with an accent.

Smiling, as they say, all the way to the bank.

By the time A Good Day to Die Hard gets to Chernobyl, I had given up on this entry. It's enjoyable, explosive guff, but not a Die Hard film. With no sense of threat, no reason and no passion, it's immediately forgettable and a real waste of a franchise. And, because I live in England, I can't even hear John McClane say "yippee ki-yay motherfucker." It may have been unfairly cut for the 12 rating, but no amount of swearing or bloodshed could have saved this movie. Today is not a good day to Die Hard.          

The "Yippee ki-yay mother Russia" thing, however, is hilarious. I have a hard time believing that a film with a tagline so ingenious could be so bad. And yet, here we are.