Special to AMFM Magazine by Jimmy Willden
It’s a good day to die…laughing.
Once upon a time, Die Hard was the action series to emulate. In fact, many action films of today still do so. The premise is basic. One man, sometimes with a sidekick, goes up against impossible odds to defeat the ultimate villain. When the series began, it had not been watered down or poorly copied by other factions, or even by itself. It was fresh, exciting, pure entertainment, but with a story to back it up. And, of course, there was Bruce Willis as the charming yet wise-cracking hero we needed, and he was perfectly willing to deliver. Sadly, though, he still is willing to deliver.
A Good Day to Die Hard is the worst film in the series. There is absolutely no other way to put it. Trying to search for any redeeming quality within all the muck is nearly impossible. Indeed, the only thing that comes to mind is the fact that I had not laughed so hard at a screening for a film in a very long time. Unfortunately, the laughing was for all the wrong reasons. I was laughing at the expense of the movie, not with it. And I wasn’t alone. The entire theater was laughing at the ridiculousness on the screen, save for one man sitting next to me. When I questioned him, he merely said he was embarrassed for the movie, and for those involved in making it. Truthfully, so am I.
The script, written by Skip Woods (X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, THE A-TEAM), is flawed from the beginning. The set up for why John McClane finds himself in Russia is weak, and entirely unbelievable. After finding out that his estranged son is imprisoned there, McClane quickly decides to head to Russia, and basically wreak as much havoc as possible until he gets his son home safely. All of this is at the expense of countless innocent Russian lives, and all before we ever even meet the bad guys. Oh, and lest you forget: He’s on vacation!
The dialogue is nauseating. One bad one-liner after another, after another. After another. And must I again remind you, John McClane is on vacation. Except that he is not. He is in Russia taking hundreds of lives in order to get his son back, and maybe then Jack (played by Jai Courtney) will finally respect him as a father.
The performances are uneven and forgetful. Even Willis is forgetful, since he is merely phoning it in for the paycheck, it seems. Yes Bruce, you really were on vacation (during the making of this movie).
Director John Moore (MAX PAYNE, THE OMEN) is probably the worst thing to happen to Die Hard in the history of Die Hard. He had absolutely no connection to the source material (the original classic). Instead, he took a horrible script, and made it into an even worse movie by infusing it with nonsensical action. Since discovering that Moore is from Ireland, it is safe to say that A Good Day to Die Hard is nothing more than an hour and a half of pure ginger fury. But over-the-top sequences of destruction should not be a reason a film is made. Depressingly though, that’s why this movie was made, and why it will still make money at the box office.
The visuals are worth noting, but they are over-the-top and senseless. Even though Bruce Willis is mostly just doing what he’s done before, he is still doing what he does best. But, in the end, this film will be the forgotten one, until it is resurrected as a cult classic, after some student filmmaking crew decides to make a documentary focusing on how the worst movie in Die Hard history came to be. 3 out of 10.