Friday, February 15, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)


Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Russia.  John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back with another episode of Die Hard.  Forget the script, the plot, the history, or the legacy of a respected action film franchise; the studio wants another couple hundred million dollars in profit.  Resurrect the familiar character, drop him in a foreign city, and have him go through the motions.  A Good Day to Die Hard is God-awful.

John McClane is the Everyman cop.  He’s just a guy, an average Joe who (with the exception of Die Hard With a Vengeance) has the rotten luck to always find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.  In 1988, the building where his Christmas party was taking place was taken hostage.  In 1990, the airport where he waits for his wife is taken over by terrorists.  In 2007, he prevents a catastrophic Zero Day scenario by running around the New York/Jersey metropolitan area.  Audiences love John McClane.  He is a good guy and he is definitely mortal, but this movie is so bad, it turns John McClane into an a**hole.

A Good Day to Die Hard throws the ‘I just happened to be here’ plot device away and transforms John into a meddling interloper.  John’s ‘connections’ inform him his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), is in a Russian jail about to go on trial for murder.  John dutifully flies to Moscow, which looks suspiciously like Budapest, to check things out.  Bad move John.  Jack is actually a clandestine CIA agent, deep undercover, trying to save the life of a Russian political prisoner.  The prisoner, Komarov (Sebastian Koch), has dirt on Russia’s evil defense minister, Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov).

Acting as a bumbling oaf, John gets in the way of Jack and Komarov mid-escape and torpedoes their ride home.  Now it’s time for the daddy issues.  Jack calls John by his name, not ‘dad’.  Not even automatic rifle firefights and escaping 30mm Gatling gun helicopter fire can stop the father/son accusations and heart-to-hearts.  The only thing that makes it bearable is the dialogue, which is so poorly written and lazy, it gives you the feeling of shocking unbelief which will keep you wide awake.  What the hell happened to Die Hard?  Why throw all the good memories and feelings away for a quick buck? 

Director John Moore, who has left a string of miserable failures behind him with Max Payne, The Omen re-make, and Behind Enemy Lines, and writer Skip Woods, who has such winners as The A-Team and X-Men Origins: Wolverine under his belt, have some money to play around with here.  An armored personnel carrier tears up the streets of Moscow (Budapest) for a good 20 minutes smashing a couple hundred cars, an Mi-24 HIND attack helicopter annihilates the upper floors of a building, and Chernobyl, the infamous nuclear accident no-go area, also gets walloped by a helicopter and a shirtless thug who looks like the poor soul from Raiders of the Lost Ark who ended up in the propeller. 

A Good to Die Hard is chock-full of plot holes too numerous to scribble about here but they took this viewer away from cringing at the dialogue to shaking his head at the impossibilities, the completely absurd, to the how the heck did they just drive all the way into Ukraine from Russia?  There’s a border there and you two definitely do not have passports on your unmistakably broken and bloody bodies.  Every filmmaker and actor in this movie should be ashamed of themselves.  They all have their share of responsibility in destroying what was one of the more well-liked and memorable franchises. 


  1. Ugh, 1/10 huh? I had misgivings about this when I saw it advertised. I can't say I'm surprised that it's this bad, but I'm definitely a little sad over it. I kind of grew up with the Die Hard films and loved them to bits. Might give this one a miss...

  2. Sadness is perfectly understandable. This series was iconic. 'Yippee ki-yay', 'Now I have a machine gun'...If people still quote a 1988 movie, filmmakers should have no right to destroy its legacy.