Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtenay, Sebastian Koch
You may like this if you liked: The other Die Hard films (obviously), The Expendables 2 (Simon West, 2012), Red (Robert Schwentke, 2010) or basically anything with a lot of explosions.
After John McClane’s (Willis, obviously) son Jack (Courtenay) is arrested in Russia for murder he decides to go there himself to, well, who knows? He soon then discovers that his son is in fact an undercover CIA agent working on a secret mission to prevent nuclear weapons falling into the hands some nasty Russian (for a change.) The pair of them are then forced to team up against huge groups of generic Eastern European terrorists. Queue lots of father-son bonding, explosions, gun fights, explosions, Bruce Willis one liners and even more explosions.
Well, after the absolutely abysmal Taken 2, another shameless cash-in sequel to entertain us all. My expectations were extremely low, but with Willis who seems to be in every action film this year and a decent budget, though I was never expecting Shakespeare, I was hoping this could be an entertaining enough romp. Well, where to start, well firstly and most importantly it is NOT as bad as Taken 2.
It is quite obvious that the film makers are not taking this particularly seriously, they have just cut and pasted some bog standard action film ‘plot’ and then attached the title Die Hard to it so it gets back the outrageous budget. As that is the case, to give A Good Day to Die Hard a serious review would be giving it some justice or sick perverted credit it simply does not deserve.
1988’s Die Hard is in my opinion one of the finest examples of its genre, it had genuine character development and a very memorable and witty script; it is a film that I will happily watch repeatedly. A Good Day to Die Hard is unfortunately another example of how soulless and bland action films have become. It is instantly forgettable and conveniently forgets about the concept of reason; the films finale at Chernobyl certainly springs to mind when it comes to abandonment of reason and logic. There is no denying here that the action is big and loud and so therefore at least not boring at the time. So at least, unlike Taken 2 it has good action.
What made Taken 2 so appalling was that it took itself so seriously, which is a big mistake when you consider how silly it actually is. At least with John McClane there should be plenty of zinger one liners and as I have always said, I tolerate a silly film that knows it is silly. Well, when the excellently named Skip Woods was writing the script someone should have mentioned to him that when it comes to comedy, never forget the rule of three. Unfortunately, the only ‘joke’ in the dialogue is that McClane is on vacation, which he seems to mention every five minutes. This does not even work as it completely undermines why he went to Moscow in the first place. Though, director John Moore appears to have not completely forgotten the heritage of the Die Hard franchise. When one of the film’s villains falls from a building the iconic shot of Alan Rickman’s Hans appears to be recreated. I can easily imagine John Moore punching the desk in the editing room saying how ace it is. No John, it is extremely embarrassing, now don’t direct another film again!
When this film is released on DVD, inevitably with a 15 rated ‘harder’ cut this is a fine Saturday Night movie. A few friends over, a few drinks, A Good Day to Die Hard on in the background, it would not disappoint in that context. However, speaking from the point of view of someone who regards films as a very personal passion it is gut wrenchingly depressing to keep on seeing these franchise machines turn out utterly soulless pieces of rubbish and label them as ‘films’. It is an insult to film as an art form, and an insult to the viewers. Christopher Nolan has consistently proved you can combine budget and brains and then make a profit, but the studios just seem to still think it is too risky. Unfortunately I see no end in sight as these ‘films’ continue to make a profit.