Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

John McLane is back. And this time, he’s in Russia. Does a relocation keep this franchise fresh and up-to-date? Or has Die Hard jumped the shark? Halil Borucu finds out.

‘I’m on vacation!’ John McLane desperately insists in John Moore’s A Good Day to Die Hard, and it sort of feels that way. The fifth instalment of the famous Die Hard series, created big hype for Die Hard fans. Moore, who previously directed films such as Max Payne and The Omen, was apparently looking to create a film which finally put him on the good side of critics; so what better way to do this than make a film that already has a huge reputation and contains one of the biggest action heroes of Hollywood.

AGDTDH has some good but many bad points. In name, it is automatically one of the biggest action blockbusters that 2013 is going to produce. Unfortunately, the film itself fails to live up to its reputation. The storyline needed work, as it was far too simple to follow the clever storyline of the previous film, Die Hard 4.0: Live Free or Die Hard.

The fall of the antagonist could have been experimented with a little as it was quite similar to previous DH fare and the ending felt quite abrupt, with a cheesy ‘happily ever after’ feeling, which isn’t really needed after so much hardcore action.

I also felt the two antagonists, Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov) and Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) weren’t anywhere as scary or ruthless as previous DH villians. Maybe it was because they didn’t wreck enough of the city, or just because they weren’t seen much, but either way they felt a little soft for the bad guys.

As a big DH fan, I was expecting a film that would have had me walking out of the cinema with a smile but instead, I felt a little deflated. Bruce Willis’s John McClane is known to be a “badass”, scared of nobody, does whatever he wants type of guy. Here, even though he still is all these, it seems being with his son, John “Jack” McClane Jr. (Jai Courtney), kind of ‘softened’ him up. Maybe because his son is portrayed to be an equivalent or a younger model of McClane?

A major point that annoyed me about the post-production of the film was the trailers. A trailer should show a taste of what you should expect in the film and maybe two or three clever lines to make the viewer want to go and see the movie. All the trailers of AGDTDH, as in many films nowadays, are spoiler infested. The trailers initially promise a big budget, comedic action film, but then you watch the film and feel as if you know where the film is heading.

Even though there were many many bad points in AGDTDH, there were several enjoyable parts. The film provided non-stop action filled with explosions throughout, which is what was expected from a high budget film, keeping the level of tension high until the credits start rolling. Bruce Willis delivered a standard portrayal of John McClane who still has his witty and positive attitude, as well as the ability to wreck every city he steps foot in and somehow, escape the most dangerous situations without being majorly harmed.

Up and coming actor Jai Courtney who previously starred in Christopher McQuarrie’s Jack Reacher, portrayed John “Jack” McClane Jr. well enough to convince as the son of John McClane, but still with much to learn from his experienced father. Willis’s ability to work with a partner in a huge blockbuster was already shown in the previous films, so teaming up with Courtney was a walk in the park and the opportunity to team up with Willis definitely helped Courtney gain some experience.

So if you’re a die-hard Die Hard fan, you’ll love the action and effects this film provides, but if plot is important to you… well, try to avoid the trailers.

YIPPEE-KI-YAY, MOTHER…RUSSIA…*ahem*

★★☆☆☆

Halil Borucu

 A Good Day To Die Hard is out now.

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