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. Somewhere there’s a Doors song playing for this film franchise that died hard per FMR (& RTomatoes too). Sad to hear this was so weak. Thanks for your take on pic.

    “This is the end, beautiful friend …”
    Doors, The End

    • Oh, wow, this is WAY worse than that. LOL.

      This was just a cheap, non descript action movie with a hero who’s a shadow of his former self… Die Hard with a Vengeance looks like… well, Die Hard in comparison. LOL

  2. Not a surprise. The poster that proclaimed in big, bold letters: Yippee-Kay-Yay-Mother-Russia–pretty much sealed it’s doom I was upset with Live Free or Die Hard because they took my “real-guy” hero McClane turned him into a garish Bond-wannabe. Sad. Very sad.

    I will probably go see it–because it’s Willis. But, I will NOT like it. I will laugh and make fun of it…but there will be no liking going on. 😀


    • There’s a couple of commenters who have liked it Nedi, you never know. Especially now that your expectations have been flattened. LOL

      There’s really nothing “Real Guy” here though, sadly. In fact, there’s barely any “Real World”. 😦

  3. It’s just a shame that this is where the Die Hard series has gone and hopefully, if they do end it, they end it on a bang. But don’t end with this or else the bad taste in my mouth will forever stay. Good review bud.

  4. Sounds like you should have titled this one “Yippee-BLAH-Yay”.

    At the risk of being permanently banned from the blogosphere, I’m ready to admit that I’ve never been the biggest Die Hard fan. I enjoyed the first one well enough, mind you, but I didn’t go nuts over it and didn’t really understand the need for the sequels. I only saw one of the other films besides the original (although I couldn’t tell you if it was 2, 3 or 4), and remember thinking “haven’t we seen all this before?”.

    But somehow today I feel strangely vindicated. Somehow today I don’t feel like the guy who never got it, and instead I feel like the guy who got it 25 years earlier than everyone else! For me, the entire series has been “explosion. blah blah blah. Russian. Blah blah blah. Terrorist. Blah blah blah. Bigger explosion.” I’m just glad to see that the rest of you are finally catching on. Hahaha! 😉

    • “Yippee-BLAH-Yay” is right, LOL

      In other news, you wont catch me standing up for any of the Die Hard sequels too much. I think they’re all ok, but none of them even come cloe to the first one.

      But the first movie is a classic. Its a future MTESS, with no doubt about it. It was hugely influential (good or bad) in the action genre. Undeniably one of the great movies of the 1980s. So, while there may be some truth to the “explosion. blah blah blah. Russian. Blah blah blah. Terrorist. Blah blah blah. Bigger explosion.” throughout the run of the sequels, that definitely doesn’t apply to the first. John McClane was a great action hero, Hans Gruber a great villain, and that film mixed it all together perfectly to create one of the best action movies ever. STILL to this day, its one of the best.

      So I cant back you up on that aspect of it. Sorry, bro 😦

  5. This was pretty much the response I expected Fogs. I thought this film looked nonsense. I think I’ll be avoiding this. Never got round to seeing the fourth one either.

  6. I still want to see it for myself. I’m curious about these “generic” action scenes I keep hearing about. Are they too stupid? Surely after Live Free they can’t get stupider? Are they edited in a way that creates no tension? Are there no explosions? I get your criticisms about the non-action sequences, and that could really draw away from the action, I suppose.

    I really wasn’t expecting positive reviews on this one. Maybe I’m just being naive, but I feel like I can still like this for what it is, even if it’s not as good as the others. It kinda feels like it might be Texas Chainsaw 3D all over again, in a way. Maybe the old man will feel up for it this week, once this snow lets up.

    • Generic = a bunch of dudes shooting at another bunch of dudes. The good guys ducking behind things that… in reality shouldnt stop machine gun fire, but does in the movie. Leaping out of windows but landing unharmed somehow. Jumping out of the way of explosions. You get the idea.

      You know, if youre really a hardcore fan of the series, and you go in actively wanting to like it? You might have a shot. But if you go in unbiased and just judge it as is, I have a hard time imagining someone coming out and saying it was genuinely good or anything. 😦

      Sorry brother, but thats where its at.

  7. I rather enjoyed “Live Free or Die Hard”, but it had such a… conclusive ending I was a little surprised to see them do another one. Thanks for the review, looks like I’ll wait for TBS to show it in a year or so 🙂

    • LOL. I give it 14 months 😉

      Yeah, “Live Free” wasn’t bad, but I didn’t think it was great or anything. As way of proof, I don’t actually recall the “conclusive ending” you refer to. Lol. Does he give his daughter to Justin Long or something? 😀

      • Yeah somewhat. Obviously he saves the day but since his daughter is safe and he’s kinda patched things up with her. And he needed a lot more “help” and is portrayed as more of a nearly-retired beat cop in Live Free, I kinda thought that would be it.

    • I appreciate the comment, Psykko, but I’ll tell you, I wont be by. I’m trying to get tougher about people dropping off links to their own stuff here unsolicited. Especially if they’re new commenters.

      Sorry, I get a lot of it. Thanks for reading and commenting, and I agree with the sentiment outside of the link.

  8. I dont know if the action was bland, it just probably wont end up being memorable like the other films. But it was enjoyable in the moment, so I think it finds the middle ground of the action specturm.
    But for the most part I agree with you. Especially with the McClane character.

    • Ok. Then. We agree “for the most part” LOL. I think if an action sequence isnt memorable, then its probably becuase it’s “bland”. There really wasn’t anything about thos escenes that felt original or inspired or anything remotely close to above average. 😦

  9. Sad. But not unexpected. I watched Live Free or Die Hard last year, and my thoughts were that it was an OK film, but not a very good Die Hard film. The problem there was that it didn’t feel like the sort of film that Die Hard was, and it didn’t feel like the kind of situation for John McClane to find himself in. This… sounds like it’s even further off the rails. John McClane going to Russia? At what point does John McClane — practically the personification of the right guy in the wrong place at the wrong time — seek out trouble? I know how they justify it in the story, I’m just not sure how they justify it to themselves. It doesn’t fit the character-story dynamic that made the first Die Hard stand out so well.

    • Oh man, you dont know the half of it. Wait til you see it. McClane is a shell of his former self here. 😦 Seriously, it was sad. Gone was the guy at the wrong place at the wrong time, in was an invincible shooting machine, helping the CIA. Gone were the wise cracks. At least all the good ones. Willis seemed tired, the villains sucked, they tried to cover it all up with a senseless string of explosions and machine gun fire, but it was just sad.

      Live Free or Die Hard seems like an incredible Die Hard movie by way of comparison. 😦

      • Ehhhh… I actually should have given a D I think, but when it came time to grade I guess I was thinking there’s always inherent value in a mindless action film.

        I got talked into flushing it on the podcast.

        Its not worthy of an F though, this isnt the type of film that will pain you or anything. It will just disappoint people. Especially Die Hard fans… 😦

  10. Pingback: A Good Day To Die Hard Review | The Filmster

  11. So this film finally cycled around to the top of my list on Netflix. I’m watching it right now, about 41 minutes in, and I’m bored spitless, and pissed off at how bad the set up is. Plus the character of John McClaine is nothing like this jerk off. If I were his son I’d blame him for everything too. The whole stinking mess is his fault. In the other movies he was just the right guy at the wrong time (“Story of my life”) or something like that. In this disaster of a story he’s just flat out in the wrong. GAHHHH

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