A Good Day to Die Hard


Bruce Willis reprises his famous role of John McClane in the fifth installment of the “Die Hard” franchise. Unfortunately, this is easily the worst “Die Hard” movie ever, and if there were any justice at the megaplex, it would be the nail in the franchise’s coffin.

In “A Good Die to Die Hard”, John McClane travels to Russia for some ill-defined reason, shoots a bunch of nondescript henchmen, and foils a generic “threat to the world” level plot. The action is unmemorable, and the character of John McClane seems worn out.

Even the “Die Hard” die hards will be disappointed by this “Die Hard”.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) tries to reconnect with his estranged son (Jai Courtney), but learns that he’s been imprisoned in Russia. Intent on somehow assisting him, he boards a plane and heads to Moscow. Having learned where his son will be on trial, he heads to the courthouse as soon as he lands.

There, he just happens to wind up in the midst of an insurgent attack on the courthouse, intended to eliminate a high level dissident who’s also on trial, Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch). In the midst of all the explosions and machine gun fire, McClane sees his son escorting Komarov into a truck and escaping the scene. It turns out that his son is actually a CIA agent, embedded at the trial in order to attempt to protect Komarov. McClane takes off after them, and is soon up to his neck in the action.

Disappointingly though, the action here is bland. For an installment in a movie series known for its action sequences, the action scene offerings here are relatively generic. In fact, aside from the opening set piece where McClane and son race through the streets of Moscow, attempting to evade pursuers in an armored transport, none of the scenes are really notable in any way. McClane and son shoot a bunch of disposable henchmen, duck just below an endless hail of machine gun fire, and jump through and/or out of a string of windows. There were actually a couple of scenes I was actively rooting for to be over.

Compounding this basic deficiency is the fact that the overall plot is flat-out lame. There’s barely any setup for McClane to be going to Russia, and once he’s there he’s immediately surrounded by gun fire and things exploding. The central conflict is between two Russians who I could barely be bothered to care about. It was good then I suppose that there was no real need to care about any of it anyways. It all kind of came across as blah, blah, blah, Russian, blah, blah, blah, secret file, blah, blah, blah, Uranium. Not that they were verbose in conveying plot details and I tuned out (quite the opposite, it was minimal). It’s just that the few details they gave were so uninspired that they sounded like “blah” to me.

Worst of all though, the character of John McClane seems tired. Not that he wasn’t always a bit haggard and exhausted anyways, it just seemed as if there was nothing left in the tank, here. Watching his banter with his son was amusing and mildly rewarding as a fan of the character, but outside of that there was literally no snide humor, no gusto… this was Bruce Willis on auto pilot, shooting machine guns and spouting exclamations like “Jesus!” when something extra dangerous happens.

This was a lifeless experience for me, sadly, and it was upsetting to see it happen to the “Die Hard” franchise. I’m sure, the way cheap sequels get made nowadays, that this might not be the last one ever. But I hope it is. Either that, or I hope they come back with a much better movie.


Daniel Fogarty


86 thoughts on “A Good Day to Die Hard

  1. Why can’t we just get the old McClane back where he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and had a HORRIBLE headache all the time. Damnit!

  2. Yeah, this really was quite disappointing. It had its moments, though the further removed from the movie I get, the more I realize just how forgettable those moments were. The rest was just, as you said, generic, and most of the action was just disorienting and oftentimes boring. Blah is right!

  3. Sadly its looks like its gone and died pretty softly, and i have no stomach for this or anymore even without seeing it, its fair to say its been pretty universally panned. A sad day to die hard! Bruno – why??? 😦

    • It is a sad day. I dont think any movie franchise deserves to be strung along like this. This was a movie that was obviously devoid of ideas and/or creativity. It was sad to behold Kevin… I’m sure one day you’ll see for yourself. I know I’d have check it out eventually if I hadnt seen it yet. 😦

    • They might. I’m waiting to see what the weekend tally is. Supposedly it made 7 mil Friday night, and is at 15 mil right now, which might mean an 25-30 mil open over the four day weekend. But thats way lower than the 40 mil a lot of people expected. Still, sequels have been made for less, and Willis is on record that he’d go back and do a 6th.

  4. Good review! As a Die Hard film it is definitely lifeless (the scriptwriters on holiday too not just McClane). However I have to say I quite liked the car chase. 🙂

    • Ooooh. Not really. I guess I wasn’t in the “so bad its good” mindset… I was too wrapped up in watching a great movie character succumb to sequelitis. 😦

      Thanks, though, btw. Made me chuckle, so I left it. 😉

    • Yeah, sad to report it was pretty bad. It hurt to give it the low grade that I did, but a lot of people are hammering it even wors than I am 😦

      Live Free or Die Hard wasn’t bad. I liked it. Its WAY better than this one though, this one was pretty rough 😦

  5. Pingback: A Good Day To Die Hard Review: Not a Great Day for John McClane | Rorschach Reviews

  6. I thought it was better than that. I was satisfied after I left the theater. I enjoyed the film and the adrenaline rush. I felt like it tied off John McClane put the period on the franchise. He is getting old. He needs a break. And he wants to square things up with his kids.

    But I also feel like we lost part of the scene at the beginning. It had an incomplete feel to it.

    As to the action, the scenes early in the film had the most energy and they lost steam as the film went on.

    The constant references to being on vacation didn’t really work. It was supposed to tie into part of the cab scene that was in the trailer but wasn’t in the film. This film was not edited well.

    Some of the trademarks were not there. But there was an awful lot of glass. In fact, there was so much glass getting shot out and falling all over the place that it seemed really overdone.

    The parts with Yuri’s daughter were not done well. The character development and her part in everything was just badly done.

    I didn’t get the business about the one guy who could have been a dancer. I feel like there was something more that tied into it which ended up on the cutting room floor.

    I think John was supposed to come off as very tired. It fit.

    I thought the awkwardness between father and son was appropriate.

    The movie ended with John and his kids walking in the light of a setting sun. The imagery was that of the sun setting on the entire franchise. Sort of a this is it sensation.

    The odd little conversation about the son being John McClane Jr seemed like it might be a loop hole, in case they want to do any more Die Hard movies with the son as the main character. But I don’t think it will happen.

    Actually, now that I pull it apart, the film really does have issues. Still, I left the theater feeling glad that I went to it. The gut feeling was satisfying. Its the mental analysis that is a downer.

    • “the scenes early in the film had the most energy and they lost steam as the film went on. ” Usually NOT a good sign. LOL

      I agree about Yuri’s daughter. Unfortunately, I’d throw Yuri into the mix as well. 😦

      I would agree that the final shot of John McClane with his kids was a good end point for him. Lets hope they keep that as the final shot of the series, you know?

      And yeah, I picked up on the lame “pass the torch” loophole they tried to put in there. I dont think that’s gonna ever work. Lets hope not at least.

      Glad you talked some sense into yourself by the end there. LOL. For me, it was never a question. My gut and my head were in complete agreement.

  7. Hi, Fogs and company:

    Great perspective!

    Who willingly goes to Moscow on vacation?!!!

    It looks like the powers what be have gone one time too many to what was one of the better franchises in film. John McClane reduced to caricature.

    I’ll wager that a year from now, this film will one of the flagship offerings on HBO. Though, I am looking forward to seeing ‘RED 2’ later this year. The thought of Dame Helen Mirren behind a heavy weapon and preparing afternoon tea is too much to resist!

    • Oh, yeah, this will be on HBO in seven months. 😀 I bet you dimes to dollars… before 2013 is done, Jack.

      It wasn’t even a vacation, I know the trailers suggested that, but, the movie dropped that like a hot potato. Now he goes to Moscow to get his son out of jail. How? I dont know. They never say. Its ok, they never get a chance to anyways, as soon as he gets there stuff starts blowing up! 😦

      You nailed it man, they went to the well one too many times…

    • Yeah, I’m definitely on the high end of the spectrum, but then again, I usually am. My scale skews high if you havent noticed by now. LOL.

      Its a little better than the movie YOURE proposing, LOL. But not much. 😀

  8. I felt that this had a wafer thin plot just so they could have wall to wall explosions/gunfire. This will be the only Die Hard film not to grace my movie collection. I agree with the action being generic. Luckily, I got the bad taste of this movie by watching an excellent action film-Skyfall. Now THAT is action.

    • Heh heh heh. YEAH. Now we’re talking Al. I havent watched it yet, but I picked that up this week too, and I was thinking the exact same thing. I should wash the bad taste of Die Hard 5 out of my mouth with the awesomeness of Skyfall! 😀

  9. I had fun watching this movie. But it wasn’t anything great. The first three are by far better. I didn’t go into it expecting anything. I mean it’s the 5th Die Hard movie. 5th. Really. You can’t expect it to by anything. So with that in mind, I had fun. It was a great way to spend Valentine’s. Was it awesome or epic or really a great addition to the Die Hard family. Probably not. I really laughed hard when they had to go to Chernobyl. I figured it must have been cause that’s the only place in Russia any of us American’s know anything about besides Moscow. I did enjoy the Father/Son relationship and thought the ending with him and his kids made for a nice ending to the whole story. Hope they let it end there. John McClane’s got his kids back. So. I know it wasn’t amazing, or even good…but I had fun watching it. 🙂 Don’t hate me for saying it! 🙂

    • Oh, no, definitely not. This is what its about, you know? Glad you liked it. I always prefer people have fun with movies than hate on them

      That said, there’s not a lot of ground I can give in the debate though. As a critic, this needs shredding. The characters were poor, the plot was REALLY bad, and the action sequences didnt compensate at all….

      So, I understand if you enjoyed it thats awesome. Especially if it were a Valentines treat or whatever you allude to, but I gotta stand my ground… there’s some significant issues to be had here, you know WBTD? 😦

      • As I read some of the comments, I have to admit that many good cases have been raised. I did enjoy it and yes it was for Valentines. But, it’s not going to hold up to criticism. There is just too many things wrong with it. So….don’t give ground. It was fun for a date night, but not anything unbelievably amazing. Wish it could have been. I hope they let it be the end of Die Hard. Wish some actors and directors would make new stories instead of rehashing old ones. Thanks for reviewing as always!

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