The fastest way to kill a franchise is to make a half-fast, big bang-blockbuster with no story and a mediocrity of action scenes, much like Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did to the fabulous Indiana Jones-trilogy. Die hard 5 follows the same downward spiral in quality …
A good day to die hard surely isn’t bad, but the other four movies are so bloody good, one cannot stop comparing them. And once you do, everyone is in agreement that the fifth one is the weakest of the entire series.
The story – so simple it’s hardly worth mentioning – is about our beloved tough father figure, John McClane, travelling to Russia after he learns his son has been arrested for murder.
Once there, he actually discovers his son is an undercover CIA-agent, charged with stopping a nuclear weapons heist. One question: ‘Why-oh-why did John McClane have to travel to Russia?’
It’s a typical decision in mainstream Hollywood movies. Once the original ideas run out, change the atmosphere and hope for success.
It’s a nice change of pace to see Bruce Willis run around in Russia. He pretty much does what he’s been doing all these years in America. Set buildings on fire, smash cars to pieces and leave a trail of bullet casings and blood (usually his own) all for the good of the country.
Number 1 & 2 were about saving his wife. Number 4 was about saving his daughter (though she could handle her own quite well at times). Number 5 is about saving his son’s life.
Immediately, you notice two serious problems with the movie
- John McClane has no real reason to be in Russia.
- His son, Jack, is a well-trained military soldier. This means we are to believe he’s better than John McClane in close combat situations.
And there lies the biggest problem of the movie. John McClane isn’t the big hero of A good day to die hard. His son Jack is … why?
We don’t even know the kid, and he ain’t half as interesting as the guy we’ve come to know ánd love in 4 successful action movies. John McClane should never play a secondary part in his own series … never!
Of course, this movie wouldn’t receive three stars if it was all bad. The re-introduction of John McClane’s daughter – if only in two short scenes – is a lovely sight for sore eyes.
There’s an action scene where three cars are in hot pursuit through the streets of Moscow which is quite nice – though not nearly as awesome as anything in the other 4 movies.
The casting of the son of John McClane could have gone much worse. Jai Courtney plays the part pretty well. He looks the part and shows us both sides of the relationship with his father. Estranged at first, rekindled love in the latter part of the movie.
Bruce Willis as John McClane will always spark much interest amongst movie fans, but why-oh-why does he look like an invincible Marvel superhero? Where is the rough New York police cop, covered in blood with cuts and bruises all over his body? The movie doesn’t look very real anymore … and that’s a pity!
Two scenes in the movie are easily the very best.
John McClane in the taxi when he first arrives in Russia. The taxi cab driver is played by Pasha D. Lychnikoff (yup, he’s Russian) who is the nicest Russian guy you’ll ever see in an American movie … he even sings and doesn’t charge any money!
Speaking of which, the cab driver is the only interesting Russian guy running around. The bad guys, all Russian, are so stupid you’d forget about them as soon as the movie’s over!
The other scene – minor spoiler ahead! – is when John McClane reunites his family, bringing his two children back together. It’s a beautiful scene basking in the morning sun with uplifting music, that serves perfectly as the ending to a very good action series.
Goodbye John McClane – or should I say – yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker! 🙂
Did you know?
Justin Timberlake was considered for the role of Jack McClane.
Give it to me short:
It’s true, A good day to die hard has more problems than cool action scenes. It could’ve been – and probably should’ve been – much better! John McClane has become the kind of superhero who won’t die, no matter what he goes through. He can jump off rooftops, fight without ever bleeding or fall hundreds of feet down in a pool of glass – nothing could ever hurt the great John McClane. There’s even a scene where he smashes a Jeep into a long line of cars, sending the car with our hero fly in the air … and still he doesn’t have any broken bones!
On top of everything else, John McClane only plays a secondary part in his own series, with his son Jack taking the lead. Also the movie only lasts a mere 98 minutes, and most of it consists of ridiculous action and pretty standard fighting scenes. There is not one scene worthy of being remembered, when compared to what the previous 4 movies had in stall.
Luckily, when you scrape away all those nasty little deficiencies, you might still find the time to enjoy this final chapter of the Die hard-series. Overall, it’s a pretty good movie as long as you don’t expect too much. A good day to die hard is the sort of empty popcorn-blockbuster Hollywood is famous for.
One up-beat moment? Yes! The final scene of the movie shows a truly beautiful reconciliation between John McClane and his two children …