Sometimes there are bad movies that are easy to pass off and make fun of for simply being a bad movie; then there are those bad movies that seem like a personal attack on you and your childhood. Die Hard was not the first R-rated movie I saw as a child (Shhh...don't tell my mom) but it was the first R-rated movie that I loved. A few years later I met one of my best friends and his mutual love of the Die Hard movies made us get closer. It even built to one of the best moments of that love when we convinced his dad to take us to see Die Hard with a Vengenace when we were both 14-years-old. That one, by the way, became my favorite. But this, the fifth installment in the series that should have died in 1995, is the worst and the saddest.
I read an article that said Bruce Willis refused to do this film for so long. He said the reason why was because the script didn't feel right at all. Either the script he read was just some children's drawings in crayon of explosions or Willis' willingness to do a movie can be purchased with a big payday because this script is crap. The worst part about this movie is that they set up a way for the Die Hard series to continue without Willis in that he they introduced a grown son who's a CIA agent. I could be wrong, but the last time we saw his son was in the 1988 original and there was zero reference since then of him being a wayward screw up or a CIA agent. But anyway...
That son is played by quickly rising star Jai Courney, who was just the baddie in the Tom Cruise flop Jack Reacher. He got the part, I'm guessing, because his head looks exactly like Bruce Willis' but he's also not a bad actor. It's hard to gauge if his range is worth anything past running away from explosions in slow motion, but if that's all you want from a movie, Courtney might fit the bill perfectly. That's what made the Die Hard series so much fun was that Willis is capable of doing so much more than action films and his comedic timing was perfect for them. The comedy that oozes out occationaly of Good Day to Die Hard is groan inducing and embarrassing.
In fact, the entire film is embarrassing that Willis is even in it. It was directed by John Moore who hasn't had a hit yet. Hollywood has allowed him to make dud after dud like Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix and Max Payne. There isn't a single good movie on his resume and he's just added another one to it. The one thing he does do well is orchestrate an action sequence. There is a car chase in the beginning of the film that lasts about 12 minutes and is totally unbelievable but impressive and fun to watch. Does it have anything to do with the story? Barely. Does it come out of nowhere and essentially kick the whole thing off with a "what the hell?" tone? Sure does. But it does end with a massive truck jumping off an overpass and into a cement tunnel.
Aside from that single 12-minute sequence, nothing else about this is even fun. I know part of the fun of John McClane was that he was always "on vacation" and not in New York City where he worked. But setting this whole film in Russia makes it ridiculous. McClane is not James Bond and he never was. He was suppose to be this regular guy that was at the wrong place at the wrong time but was the only one who could save the day. After five films, he no longer feels like a kickass reluctant hero but instead a serial killer that seeks out hordes of bad guys that he can kill with no consequence. Good Day to Die Hard has destroyed the series and cheapened its stock. It's so bad that it has made me go back and look at some of those older films I hold so dear with a more catious eye and a thought that maybe they were always this bad (but I doubt it).
A Good Day to Die Hard (Rated R)
Gavin Grade: D-