John McClane: You got a plan?
Jack McClane: Not really. I kinda thought we would just wing it. You know: running in guns blazing. Make it up as we go...
Evidently that was director John Moore’s plan too for this newest installment of the Die Hard films: Live Free or… no wait, that was the 3rd one. Or maybe the 4th. This one is called Die Hard With a… no, that was the 4th one.
Whatever. Die Hard 5. (The one that doesn’t have any Germans, Samuel L. Jackson or the Apple Guy.)
I saw it tonight at the midnight showing, that was actually at 10:00pm -- how can you have a midnight showing at 10:00?? Anyway, I brought along my midnight-movie-viewing buddy Andy. She had never seen any of the Die Hard films. I'm sad that this one was her first because now she'll probably never watch any of the others.
Yeah, this latest Die Hard is pretty terrible. (Not sure if I should’ve offered a spoiler alert for that statement or not). To be a better film, about 35 minutes of the fluff that permeates the movie needed to be cut. Unfortunately it only has a total run time of 1:38, so I guess fluff was the only option.
It’s really kind of a perfect recipe of badness. You’ve got:
1) A setting in Russia
2) A father/son dynamic
3) A Die Hard franchise.
So take EVERY SINGLE cliché you can think of from each of those ingredients and blend it up. I’ll help you:
Russia: confusing characters (wait, which middle-aged bearded guy is that again?), a singing cab driver who LOVES New York, a bad guy who desperately wants to be fashionable, an obnoxious American who gets mad because the person yelling at him in Russian doesn’t speak English, and… Chernobyl
A father/son dynamic: Moment of clarity for the son: “Wait, my dad is a generally awesome guy? How did I not see that in my 25 years of fighting with him?” (cut to slow motion scene of saving each other’s lives). “Let’s go kill some scumbags, son.”
Die Hard elements: Blow up as much stuff as possible. Have ridiculously long car chase scenes and drive cars off every possible bridge in the entire country. Blow more stuff up. Push bad guy off top of building.
So you mix up all that above goodness and there you have it: A Good Day to Die Hard.
Bottom line: The son (Jai Courtney) is pretty good, and there are a couple of almost-clever nods to the other films in the franchise (including Bruce’s yippee ki-yay), but overall it’s not worth the time or money. Wait for it to come out on video. The explosions won’t be so big and loud, but you’ve already seen them in Die Hard 1-4 anyway.