Bruce Willis once again throws on a wifebeater and calls himself John McClane, tortured traveller. This time, McClane reconnects with his son, who has apparently gotten himself into some trouble in Moscow. One crappy plane ride and one crappy cab ride later, and John finds himself up to his neck in shit. Car chase, Something, something, something, explosions… Yippie Kai Yay Mr. Falcon.
This is one of two reviews I’ll be writing for A Good Day To Die Hard. I’m doing this, because I am of a completely split mind. On the one hand… this is a terrible movie. Really. Possibly one of the worst I’ve seen in years. On the other hand… I fucking LOVED watching it. The last movie I enjoyed watching this much was The Avengers. If you’ll excuse a reference to The Matrix you can take the Blue Pill, and find out all about how fun this movie was to watch… OR… you can take the Red Pill by continuing to read this article, and find out just how goddamn awful this movie really is…
Does It Sound Like I’m Orderin’ a Fuckin’ Pizza?
Where to begin… oh where to begin…
This movie opens up like a cross between a shitty Bond movie and a shitty heist movie. Bad people are doing bad things to good people. In another language. So there’s SUBTITLES. This is supposed to add an element of realism to the film, I’d wager. Problem there is after this introduction sequence is through, every EVERY Russian can speak English, and will do so… completely arbitrarily in the middle of conversations. Anyway… shitty Bond-Heist amalgam opening scene ends and we see John Fucking McClane shooting the shit out of some paper with the Hispanic Guy With a Heart of Gold From Prison Break. This guy has some magical Russian papers which, I guess, show exactly where the fuck John’s missing son has been. I guess John has some kind of Tomax/Xamot connection with his son because it just so happens the night before he got picked up for murdering a guy in Russia. Obviously, then, John must go to Russia to sort things out. ‘Cause, you know… he’s a Russian lawyer after all.
Anyway, the “plot” involves John Jr. actually being a spy, who’s trying to extradite a Russian Mr. MacGuffin and his MacGuffin list. This will save the world from tyranny and is important.
The story of this movie is held together by the thinnest, barely there strand of a thread. It’s so poorly contstructed that I honestly believe it takes away from the quality of the action for a great number of people who saw this movie. Minds weren’t meant to be as shut off as this movie requires.
Come out the Coast. We’ll Get Together… Have a Few Laughs
While I certainly laughed, and laughed hard at this movie… there was one forced attempt at a joke that, even for me, didn’t work. At all. And they kept on pushing it. John spouts off about his ruined vacation at least 5 times in the movie. I’m honestly not sure if it’s left over from some original draft of the script, or if it was a desperate and failed attempt at a throwback to the early days of Dying Hard, when terror struck on Holidays. Anyway, John, you’re not on vacation. You left with the purpose of helping your son through his murder wrap. In Russia. Even if it hadn’t turned out that you were going to escape a helicopter by dropping into a plastic tube chute thing that drops several floors straight down, you weren’t going on vacation.
Another forced joke that just didn’t work for me was the dancing (if you’ll allow me the use of a video game term, here) mini-boss’ carefree attitude. I think he was supposed to come off as maybe Nicolas Cage style crazy… but he fell kinda flat. Mostly he just ends up shouting about how great or bored he feels. I didn’t care about him, and that made him much less threatening than the McClanes with their invunerability and infinite lives cheat codes on.
Exactly Four Gallons!
This movie is a puzzle that’s just poorly put together. The story is just pure shit. The lack of any real meaty introduction to the characters, and what exactly they’re running for/to/from/about even hurts the action scenes (just a little, if I’m being honest). There were also a lot of rough cuts, product shots, shaky cams and other cost saving measures in the early action which might be a contributor to why that particular feature of the movie has been so poorly received.
When stuff isn’t being blown up, the acting is decent at best. I don’t know if it’s fair to say that Willis phones it in here. I didn’t really think so, but there are moments when he does seem like he just isn’t into it. Jr. doesn’t really have to push himself on an acting level, but he did seem to give his all on the action level. He waves his machine guns around with much more enthusiasm than his onscreen father. The other players in the movie are completely forgettable.
Oh My God! The Quarterback is Toast!
The only thing that works on any level is the action. It’s constantly ramping onwards and upwards throughout the movie. One of the chief failings in both this film, and Live Free or Die Hard, is that John McClane isn’t really relatable any more. He was once an every man, stubborn with guts and balls of steel. He’s become this indestructible cartoon, bronco riding jets and dodging explosions by two and a half foot tall pieces of… I don’t know… was that even concrete? Thinking back, I’m not sure it wasn’t a pile of pallets.
I’ve got mixed emotions about the direction they’ll be taking the series from this point on, as well. I have absolutely no doubt there will be another Die Hard… probably within this decade. This movie’s so bad, and has been so poorly received, and with Bruce getting so old… could there be a reboot/remake in the future? Probably not. But Hollywood loves to Re- things. There’s also a pretty good chance they’ll take John Jr. and run with him. He’s already a super top secret undercover spy with a heart of gold and balls of steel. Fuck… I bet there’s a thousand scripts floating around that could easily have the title character’s name changed and float that shit direct to video. But if I was a betting man, I’d wager they’ll rope Bonnie Bedelia back in for another one, and they’ll dub it the McClane Family Trilogy, and future generations will lament it’s shittyness as though it were a Star Wars prequel.
If I watched as many movies as I used to, I’m not going to lie, I’d probably watch A Good Day to Die Hard again. I enjoyed it enough for that. But I’m not going to sit here and try and tell anyone it’s a good movie. Like I said in the Blue Pill, and in the introduction, I enjoyed the hell out of my experience watching this in theatres… but holy shit what a train wreck.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know. Might as well check out the Blue Pill while you’re at it.