Our 16-year-old film blogger Jack Bool reviews A Good Day to Die Hard
09:28 18 February 2013
A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth instalment in a series I really love. In fact I would go as far as saying the Die Hard series is one of my favourite franchises, so when I heard about this movie I became incredibly excited, and although its probably the worst Die Hard film, is it really deserving of its current panning?
Personally I think not. I really do think your overall enjoyment of this movie comes down to a few things, but most importantly it really depends on how you view it. If you go into this movie expecting your typical Die Hard outing full of f-bombs and blood, you’re obviously not going to get that, due to the ‘cut’ version which we have received here in the UK and in all honesty it really doesn’t feel like a Die Hard movie, but as an entertaining action flick? It definitely pulls that off rather well.
The fifth Die Hard instalment follows John McClane travelling to Russia, to help out his wayward son, Jack (Jai Courtney), only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
Now as I stated previously I really do love the Die Hard films. When I heard a fifth film was in production I was as I said very excited and in the last week that excitement has been somewhat crushed, due to the overwhelmingly negative reviews as well as the fact that here, in the UK we have received a watered down 12A version, rather than the American R rated release, so if your excited to hear the classic catchphrase I’m sorry to inform you that it’s not going to happen, unless you plan on flying over to America to see the film or you wait for the ‘extended harder cut’ as they like to call them nowadays, to arrive on DVD. In terms of being well cut, there’s a bit of strong language, but nothing directly aimed towards anyone, so yes we continue to move forward in the direction of the toned down Die Hard films, although I did really enjoy 4.0 or Live Free depending on whatever you want to call it. In certain instances it’s blatantly obvious where it’s been cut and one thing that really annoyed me about the film was that it didn’t feature certain scenes that appeared in the trailer. For example it doesn’t have Willis say yippee-ki yay upon arriving at the airport, nor does it show the scene on the plane where McClane is stuck between two bickering women, (personally that’s one scene I was really looking forward to) and finally the “Are you a cop?” dialogue is not present either.
Now director John Moore has made some bad films, but it’s safe to say this is superior in comparison to some of his other works. For example the set-pieces are highly enjoyable, and the opening car chase was expertly done. For me it’s just good old fashioned fun, and if you go into this not expecting too much, who knows it may surprise you, as it did for me anyway. But on the other hand the camera work is pretty appalling. Throughout the majority of the films duration, the camera continuously shakes and the editing, by God is it choppy. It occasionally skips, however I imagine this was probably due to the way in which the film was edited for release in the UK.
Really, as a Die Hard film it really does fail to deliver but thankfully Bruce Willis does a good job. In terms of playing John McClane he’s still great, and although he’s restrained (or forced) from using his colourful vocabulary he does put in a solid shift. The sense of humours there and the laughs were probably what helped the film along for me, even though at times it felt unintentionally hilarious. The reason I say this is because there are times when it feels absolutely ridiculous, for example the main villain starts dancing! If you ask me it’s the perfect occurrence for some good old YouTube parodies, but I have to say the villain in this film is weak. When you think of Die Hard, villains are one of the first things that spring to mind and this film we barely know which bad guy is the main adversary, but I will single out the dancer, Radivoje Bukvic, and although his performance is fine, you don’t really have any real reason to hate him as just like Bruce Willis we (the audience) are dropped into the middle of this dilemma revolving around McClane’s son, Jack.
I have heard numerous complaints about how poor Willis and Courtney are on screen as father and son and I am going to have to disagree as I thought they had a rather impressive chemistry on screen, and I really enjoyed watching them kick some butt.
If you spend too much time over analysing this film then you will be thinking what the hell for the most part, as some of the things that happen are absolutely ridiculous. The car chase scene in reality would of killed hundreds of people, as let’s be honest having Bruce Willis drive a 4X4 over the top of your car would probably crush you to death and also when McClane and McClane Jr. visit Chernobyl they don’t wear radiation suits? I know what you’re thinking but here me out. If you want to watch a fun movie I can definitely confirm this is fun.
Overall A Good Day to Die Hard is not the best way to celebrate the series 25th anniversary. Sure it has tons of problems and it’s definitely the worst of the series so far, but it is fun, explosive entertainment. So if you want to have a laugh and most importantly have fun, I recommend this film as I did enjoy it, because I thought it was great seeing McClane back on the big screen blowing things up again, even if it isn’t the most well put together film.