Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back for a fifth round in A Good Day to Die Hard. When he learns that his estranged son (Jai Courtney) has been arrested in Russia, McClane sets out to see if he can help.
Indubitably, the McClane boys get into all kinds of mischief, busting up Moscow and upsetting both the good and bad guys in the process.
We say, “The title is the best thing about this film.”
TAYLOR: This film is an ever-repeating sweaty nightmare of a screaming train wreck. It feels like a film that used to be longer, used to make a little more sense, used to almost have some redeeming qualities, but that film was too long and boring. So they hacked it up and what we’re left with are quasi-explained sequences of frantic action interspersed with shameless nostalgia for films that were better.
HOWE: I’ve asked this before during certain movies, why waste good money making such drivel? Sometimes drivel is fine. Take The Expendables for example. That was a terrible, yet fun movie. This on the other hand, should be like the McClanes at Chernobyl, left well enough alone and not witnessed by the public for at least 1,000 years.
TAYLOR: They could bury the film in one of its own plot holes. A Good Day to Die Hard shoots itself in the foot repeatedly. For example, McClane and his son are sharing a stilted attempt at a reconciliation as they arm themselves from a conveniently armoured car they have stolen from a Chechnyan rebel, who was busy at a nightclub. As they do so, many bad guys are shown walking around the entrance to the building. It’s obvious that the McClanes are going to have to do some killing to get into the building. So when the film cuts to the two of them slinking around inside the building, one can’t help but wonder, “how did they get in there?” This is just one example of many of a film either chopped to bits, or poorly directed.
HOWE: But some people don’t really care about the plot or how it’s edited or directed. They just want to see some action and A Good Day to Die Hard gives you that. There is a whole heap-full of damage and just when you think you’ve had enough they throw more at you. It’s a non-stop barrage of car chases, shoot-’em-up scenes and big explosions.
TAYLOR: That’s true. It’s loud and jumpy. But although people might not be able to express what it is that makes a movie bad, discerning viewers still know something’s wrong. There are going to be people who like this movie. It’s number one, but that’s mostly due to its release date. I hope it loses money.
— Howe gives A Good Day to Die Hard 1 too many edits out of 5.
— Taylor gives it 1 AARP membership out of 5.
The film is currently showing at the Galaxy Cinemas in Vernon.
— Peter Howe and Brian Taylor are film reviewers based in Vernon, B.C. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears in The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.