Also opening on Valentine’s Day is the polar opposite of romance movies, A Good Day to Die Hard. This marks Bruce Willis’ fifth time playing cop John McClane, but this time he’s in Russia! From the film’s official synopsis:
Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane, for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack -- unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes. The film stars Willis, Jai Courtney (of TV’s Spartacus), Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Cole Hauser, Sebastian Koch among others.
I grew up watching Die Hard. I grew up watching Bruce Willis with hair. The sequels aren’t nearly as good as the original, but I can still watch any one of them to this day. When the trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard came out, I can’t say I was excited. Something about it didn’t quite feel right and after seeing the film, I understand why. It comes across a total Jason Bourne rip off and not a Die Hard movie at all. Here’s some reasons:
Remember in the first one McClane was just an ordinary cop that got caught in an extraordinary predicament of terrorists taking over a building? Even the sequels were closer to ordinary cop having to do some crazy stuff, but he still came across as just a man. I think my biggest problem with this movie is that either they made McClane this superhero as a joke and I missed the punch line or they simply saw the money these super spy movies were making and amped it up a bit. Willis does so much over the top stuff it simply becomes more a joke than an action film. Ok yes he jumps off a skyscraper in the original, but does he drive an SVU off a highway onto a tractor trailer down 5 cars, gets kicked, punched, shot at, falls down many stories of a building, hangs from an SVU from a helicopter, jumps through a window, etc., all in a matter of HOURS in any other movie? I don’t think so.
And speaking of the SVU onto a tractor trailer, that car chase scene is clearly taken from a Jason Bourne film. The whole film felt like a poor man’s Paul Greengrass or Doug Liman, but that chase scene through Moscow might as well have been a shot for shot remake of the Matt Damon movies, but blurrier.
You’re probably shaking your head at my complaints of an action movie franchise. Yes you’re right, movies like this should be watched for pure entertainment value, but I found it more terrible than entertaining. I found myself laughing at the movie and not with the movie. Sure there are tongue in cheek jokes and the movie takes shots at itself and the previous films, but it’s so over the top unbelievable that it was laughable. Add in a heavy handed absentee father/son relationship to a badly written script and the actors really don’t have much more to do than punch each other and crash through windows. They get shot at by helicopters so often you start wondering if everyone in Russia owns one. And question in the back, why was the guy towards the end shirtless? The big muscular guy with the tattoos, why was he the only person shirtless and flexing his back muscles? Seriously, I want to know why. And how was McClane "on vacation" like he says multiple times. He wasn't on vacation, he was there because his son was in jail.
After the disappointing box offices for Stallone and Schwarzenegger recently, Bruce Willis must be thanking his lucky stars that Die Hard has a fan base. A Good Day to Die Hard will make money if the fans go see it, but without those fans, this movie could have easily gone the way of Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand. They introduced a new character in Jack (which I honestly don’t remember John having a son, but I could be mistaken), but I really hope this is the last in the franchise. This film pretty much did zero for me and I sat there wondering if this is what Jason Bourne will look like in 20 years.