There was a time when John McClane was an everyday cop, stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. The odds were against him, but he persevered and came out beaten and battered, but nevertheless victorious, but gone are those days. Now, John McClane is an everyday superhero, conveniently placed in the wrong place at the wrong time. The odds are not against him, as bullets, explosions, helicopters, 10 story drops down metal scaffolding and anything else that would kill an everyday cop, causes barely a scratch on old John’s head. Live Free or Die Hard slowly introduced us to this SuperMcClane and A Good Day to Die Hard jacks everything up to an incomprehensible level and completely forgets what we loved about the originals.
Short nitty-gritty plot description from IMDb is as follows: John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
Things were off to a good start, with the movie introducing us to what we are led to believe are the bad guys and John’s son, Jack, being roped up in a some dirty dealings in good ‘ol Russia. John hears word that his son has been arrested and being the caring father he is, decides to head on over to Mother Russia and provide some loving support for Jack (i.e. kill a lot bad guys). It isn’t long before John foils an escape plan involving his son and reformed bad guy, Komarov. A thrilling, albeit shaky as all hell, car chase occurs and John comes to the rescue in a ludicrous amount of stunts, that should only be reserved for James Bond.
Looks like John McClane, but doesn’t feel like John McClane.
Jack is forced to team up with his father, in a attempt to find a special file that contains some sort of nonsensical information about Chernobyl. From here we cue several over the top action scenes, involving helicopters blowing up buildings and John screaming that he is on vacation (his new and overused catchphrase), with no one hearing him over the sound of every bullet in Russia being fired.
I’m on vacation, did you know that? Yes, John, yes we knew that.
There are numerous problems with A Good Day to Die Hard. First and foremost is the decision to push John McClane into the background and try to make a new star out of John’s son, Jack, played by Jai Courtney (Spartacus). Jai isn’t bad, not at all, but the chemistry between him and Bruce Willis isn’t quite there and doesn’t completely click. It very well could be the problem of a shoddy story, which brings me to the other problem, the lack of a clear bad guy. The Die Hard films are known for the villains and for the life of me, I can’t point out one baddie in this movie that is memorable, save for the hot Russian chick (Yuliya Snigir), who’s strip tease that you see in the trailer is tragically cut short (BOOOOOOOOO!).
What this movie needed and it was cut! What the hell, son of a…
I can’t say all of the movie is bad, as I did find myself having a good time overall. I enjoyed the music by Marco Beltrami, who’s work gives some life to the scenes. I also really enjoyed how the bad guy (I think he was the bad guy) was dispensed in this one, with a nice little throwback to the old films. Plus, it was nice to get some more F-bombs dropped, although I’m thinking most of it was dubbed in after the fact, but I’m willing to let it slide, given the films other more substantial faults.
At least the beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead shows up for a few seconds.
A Good Day to Die Hard is not a John McClane movie, fair and square. It’s a Bruce Willis movie, who happens to look like a bald McClane and will randomly spout famous lines (don’t worry, Yippee-Ki-Yay is here in full and is used at a pretty neat time). If we do get another Die Hard, we need to go back to the basics, a simpler setting, more back story and setup on the bad guys and for the love of god, stop making John McClane into some sort of Rambo/superhero/James Bond cross-breed. I’m still going to recommend A Good Day to Die Hard, but with extreme trepidation. Go in expecting an action film starring Bruce Willis and nothing else and you might actually come out enjoying yourself, but if you go in thinking it’s Die Hard, you’re best to leave your wife-beater and Yippee-Ki-Yay’s at home, lest you be extremely disappointed.