A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Badly flawed

Content written by Tony Macklin. Originally published on February 13, 2013 on tonymacklin.net.

A Good Day to Die Hard might be titled Rocky and Bullwinkle Die Hard. Except it's not that subtle. Or that good.

Those going to see the latest John McClane movie (the 5th) expecting another smart and sassy Die Hard, instead get Transformers, Part 12.

A Good Day to Die Hard is action on steroids. It's Mark McGuire over the moon.

Is it wrong for a critic/reviewer/sports fan to hope the game stays unmedicated? Does action today need to have continuous slipshod injections of fake-adrenaline?

A Good Day to Die Hard takes John McClane (Bruce Willis) to Russia to find his contrary offspring John, Jr. (Jai Courtney), who he says was a "juvenile delinquent."

It turns out that now the son is a CIA operative on a mission to rescue an imprisoned Russian and obtain a file that has dangerous material.

The borst hits the fan. The hardcore fans of the series will have to deal with softcore this time out.

The writer is named Skip or Tripe Something. The only memorable scene in the movie seems to be written by another writer, since it is so much better than the rest of the film.

Most of the writing is bland and superficial. McClane has a few quips, but the moments of his bonding with his son are generic and shallow.

The only exception to the listless, mediocre writing occurs in a taxi with McClane and a Russian cabbie (Pasha D. Lynchikoff, who played the Russian astronaut for five episodes in tv's The Big Bang Theory).

The conversation between McClane and the cabbie has style and panache. It's the one sequence in the film that is amusing and has personality. It is engaging. It is hard to believe it was written by Skippy.

The cabbie is a character who should have had an extended role. He doesn't, and it's the film's loss. He's what the film should be, but isn't.

Instead of character, A Good Day to Die Hard has endless digital bombastic action that is thrown helter-skelter on the screen. When a film starts with outrageous action, it has no place to go.

It can't build. It's chaos after chaos after chaos. It's hard to think how A Good Day to Die Hard could be parodied - it's self-parody. One explosion becomes a hundred explosions. One crash becomes a hundred crashes. More cars were killed in this movie than in any movie ever.

It's all on one level: over the top and very redundant.

Bruce Willis and John McClane deserve better. They share a remarkable credibility, but even they can't transcend this level of nonsense.

Sebastian Koch and Yuliva Snigir seem to be playing Boris and Natasha. In one scene, Snigir's "acting" chews up a helicopter.

Director John Moore is like a bull in a CGI shop. Moore keeps the action pounding, careening, and flopping.

Yippee Ki-Yay, Motherfumbler.

You might be interested in reading my most recent reviews, all of my reviews from 2015, or all of my reviews from 2014.

For a change of pace, you might want to listen to interviews that I conducted in the 70s and 80s, some of which were published in my book Voices from the Set: The Film Heritage Interviews (2000).

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