Die Hard movies are based on a formula which consists of these essential things: John McClane (Bruce Willis) kicking butt, a wicked villain (who is a terrorist), great action sequences with a thrilling plot and funny dialogue. McClane besides wearing the white vest and quipping his catchphrase â€œYippee-Ki-Yay Motherf*****â€ must kick ass like a superhero. The action sequences should be unlike anything we've ever seen before. The villain has to be a terrorist, otherwise it would just be any other action film. Live Free or Die Hard (2007) was not the best Die Hard film and was more of an action film but it had it checked off these boxes so it qualifies. It offered good action while being entertaining. A Good Day to Die Hard is neither a Die Hard film nor a good action film. Hell, The Dark Knight Rises (2012) is more of a Die Hard film than this one.
John McClane divorced his wife by the time the third film came along. The fourth one dealt with him reconnecting with his daughter. Obviously, Die Hard 5 should be about him trying to make amends with his son. John McClane Jr is played by Jai Courtney. This isn't a case of bad casting as he shows promise. He is woefully betrayed by the script as his character is as shapeless as the wind. McClane condescendingly laughs when he finds out his son is a spy. This is one of the biggest mistakes of this film. Die Hard is nowhere near the sub-genre of spy films. It shouldn't be or it becomes something else. I wonder who greenlit this film.
The other big mistakes are the laughable plot and substandard action. The film begins with a lesson in how not to shoot and edit an action sequence. I had no idea what was going on and I didn't seem to care either. I would want to care, because well, it's Die Hard! I would try each time another action scene came along but after a point I was bored out of my wits. I think I also tuned out for a brief period. This feat was achieved last by the egregious Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011). John Moore besides picking some tacky zooms and losing all visual talent, decides to mostly blow shit up.
A true fan of the Die Hard series knows the first film is the best. It is one of the best action films ever made. Then the divide of the fans begins as they shout, â€œthe second film is betterâ€ or â€œthe third film is betterâ€. I'm in the second category due to only one reason: Samuel L. Jackson. Fan-talk aside, I've always felt Die Hard sequels are full of potential and feel pertinent now more than ever as each film deals with terrorism. I was looking forward to what Die Hard 4 would do as it was coming off the heels of 9/11. They decided to take a different route and I was fine with it. The fifth one could have gone that way but all it does is go back in time to a fuzzy cold war-ish territory and bores the hell out of us. They could have done so many things. The children could have had lives apart from being John McClane's progenies. They could have brought back Sam Jackson. I wouldn't mind them bringing back Justin Long for that matter, considering how badly this film needs any sort of attempt at salvation.
This film makes the profession of screenwriting look bad. Besides a handicapped plot, the film tries hard to set up a family reunion. There is actually a scene where a political prisoner gives John McClane some familial advice. No kidding. To top this, his son overhears this. Do movies still do this? I thought only TV soaps stoop so low to let their characters eavesdrop on information. The lack of imagination of the writers extends further as they pick the Chernobyl disaster as a backdrop. How about a more recent nuclear disaster, you know, not 1986 but 2011? The Fukushima Daiichi disaster for instance? I don't know if they could conjure up a better plot but at least it's a start.
It's not all darkness here. A few wisecracks are funny. Some parts of the action stunts are awesome. The final shot is cool. Alas, you can count these on your fingers, that too on one hand. Surely, this can't be a good thing. I really wanted to enjoy this film, forget liking it or appreciating it. I just wanted to enjoy it. This film doesn't just forget the basic Die Hard rules altogether but even the few rules of making a good action film. Bruce Willis claims he has one more Die Hard film in him before he hangs the vest. I hope he picks a good director to make a fitting farewell to the series. Till then, I would be erasing this film from my memory. It wouldn't be that hard since there isn't much of a film here.view less