Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘A Good Die To Die Hard’ Review: Willis Can’t Save Tired Franchise

Moviegoers who walk in to the theatre to see A Good Day to Die Hard will leave the theatre thinking the best thing they got from that movie was its title.

The main problems with A Good Day to Die Hard: the villain is terrible, the actors fall victim to a been-there-done-that screenplay and Willis is visibly tired of saying “Yippee ki-yay m***** f*****!”

The fifth installment of the franchise is easily with weakest of the films, yet not completely horrible at the same time. Willis dominates every scene he is in and has a few funny John McClane moments, but the action superstar can’t make this 97-minute film all enjoyable. That doesn’t mean Die Hard fans shouldn’t see the film, it just means they shouldn’t expect the best action flick of the year.

Police detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to Moscow to bring home his estranged son Jack (Australian-born Jai Courtney), who has gotten into some trouble with the law. When John and Jack run into each other, it’s not a happy reunion, with Jack telling his father, “You shouldn’t be here, John.” As the film progresses and in true Die Hard fashion, John and his son find themselves caught in between Russian bad guys that consist of gun fights, car chases and John screaming a catchphrase used one too many times, “I’m on vacation!”

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When John discovers that his son is a CIA operative working undercover to protect a Russian man named Komarov (Sebastian Koch), he joshes his son claiming he’s the “007 of Plainfield, New Jersey.” The top-secret mission his son has been working on for years, is never really clear, a fault of Skip Woods’s (The A-Team) poor script.

The opening action scene should be intriguing, exciting and fun, but it’s boring, confusing and dull. One of my favorite actresses, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who played his daughter in the fourth installment Live Free or Die Hard, makes a quick appearance at the beginning dropping dad off at the airport, but the film would’ve benefited from seeing more of her and less of other characters.

Jai Courtney certainly has the physicality that should suit the son of McClane, but his performance is one-note, again perhaps a fault of the screenplay and not the actor. If we were to see a sixth installment of the Die Hard franchise, I would highly welcome Courtney back, mainly in order to redeem his bland character portrayal in this one.

Die Hard fans should catch this film earlier in the day, so they can get the $6 ticket price over the $15 one, or should would wait for the rental, as most fans will be disappointed.

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