A Good Day To Die Hard

a good day to die hardReleased: 2013
Director: John Moore
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney

Not as bad as some reviews would have you believe


I imagine that in any number of Top Tens I could write Die Hard would feature prominently. Top Ten Action Films – check. Christmas Films – yup. Films set in tower blocks, Bruce Willis films, films with leading men wearing vests. I will make up spurious Top Tens just to find new ways to extoll the virtues of Die Hard. I really do love the original film. Die Hard 2 is pretty good and Die Hard with a Vengence is fine if a bit over long. I even quite like the much maligned Die Hard 4.0 but did think that it may be time for Bruce Willis to put his most famous character out to pasture. When I found out the fifth instalment in the series was set in Russia I immediately dubbed it Die Hard 5: Mission to Moscow and had fairly low expectations. The trailers and marketing campaign though were quite exciting and certainly piqued my interest but then reviews came out which were less than favourable. It’s fair to say that I went into to see the film slightly nervous about what was ahead.

A Good Day To Die Hard sees our hero John McClane travel to Russia to rescue his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) from a murder charge in Moscow. Jack has been working undercover as a CIA operative and has been tasked with extracting political prisoner Yuri Komarov from the country in order to stop the rise of a megalomaniac politician. Naturally John’s appearance in the country causes havoc, blows holes in Jack’s plans and leads to more car chases and gun play than is strictly necessary.

The biggest problem with A Good Day To Die Hard is that we go into it with all the expectation of it being part of the Die Hard franchise. The original can justifiably claim to be one of (if not) the greatest action films of all time  – do we as audiences go into its sequels expecting them to live up to its brilliance? If so we’re always going to be disappointed. So does it then stand up as a decent action adventure? Yes, kind of. It’s not brilliant but it’s not bad either.

There are some problems – the script isn’t great. For his first twenty minutes in Russia all Bruce Willis seems to say is “Jesus Christ” ad nauseum. For the same twenty minutes all Jai Courtney says is “Jesus Christ John”. That’s it – not exactly scintillating stuff. There’s some ropey direction, particularly in the main car chase sequence. Once director John Moore discovers shaky-cam he uses it for the entire scene – his over use of the feature is utterly distracting.  Maybe it was his way to try to disguise the fact that we weren’t actually in Moscow but in Budapest, if it was he failed miserably.

Enough though of the negatives, after all I did actually like the film. Bruce Willis is always good value as the world weary McClane and Jai Courtney does very well as Jack. The pair spark off each other nicely and the film’s at its best when they are verbally sparring then taking on the bad guys together – the best scene being a shootout in a glass-ceilinged hotel suite which had me grinning and saying to my husband “schieß dem Fenster” (shoot the glass). There are a couple of great action sequences and some nice lines and throwbacks to earlier entries in the franchise.

A Good Day To Die Hard probably isn’t the best action film you’ll see this year and it’s not the best in the Die Hard series, but don’t listen to the naysayers who tell you it’s a bad film. It’s not – it’s a decent film which will keep you entertained for an hour and a half, it’s just not the classic you want when you hear the name Die Hard.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

Speak Your Mind