The latest installment of the Die Hard franchise was released this past weekend amid overall negative critical response. A Good Day To Die Hard is currently rocking a whopping 16% on Rotten Tomatoes. This is actually up from the 6% it had a week prior to release. Despite all of this negativity the film made the most money at the box office this weekend, making nearly $25 million.
A Good Day To Die Hard is not making money based on its quality because it is awful. The film provides only the most precursory setup of the story possible before John McClane (Bruce Willis) whisks off to Russia to find his son because “they haven’t spoken in years”. McClane has to use some of his police connections to track down his son. Considering everything that he has done in the previous movies, I’m baffled that McClane is the most famous person on Earth at this point.
Once in Russia, things start exploding. It turns out that John’s son, Jack McClane (Jai Courtney), is embroiled in some heavy duty undercover work for the CIA, and John has ruined the case that was sure to make his career. The first action sequence of the film turns into a car chase that is the longest commercial for Mercedes-Benz that I have ever seen. These cars smash through cement barriers, other cars, and metal guard rails with ease. Unfortunately, other than John McClane, the audience doesn’t care for the characters involved in the chase.They’ve been on screen for all of about three minutes before it occurs. The result is a tensionless demonstration of a high special effects budget.
The one thing that could have saved this movie from potentially killing the franchise is its humor. Unfortunately even that falls short. The original Die Hard is a great example of high action and quick wit. Thanks to the heroic endeavors of John McClane at Nakatomi Plaza, we all now know what a TV dinner feels like. The John McClane of A Good Day To Die Hard is armed with nothing but “knock, knock”, “guess who”, and “I wasn’t done talking to you.” Just about the only cliched one-liner this film is missing is “I’m getting too old for this s@!#.” It’s a shame that this wasn’t a glorious return to the ways of old.
The film’s R rating saves some of the feeling from the original trilogy with it’s over the top violence and cursing. Do you remember the uproar from fans when the franchise’s trademark “Yippie ki-yay” line was covered by the sound of gunfire in order to preserve a PG-13 rating for Live Free Or Die Hard? Don’t worry. The full catch phrase is back in A Good Day To Die Hard when John McClane says it to…himself. That’s right. The thing that the franchise is most known for is added into the last scene as if everyone forgot about it until the last day of shooting.
For those of you that know me, you know that the original Die Hard films are some of my favorites, which makes this review hard to write. That is why I hope that they never make another one before the sketch from the The Ben Stiller Show about Die Hard 12: Die Hungry, in which terrorists take over a super market where McClane is shopping on his day off, becomes a reality. Unfortunately for that hope, the film is open ended with Jack McClane revealing that his real name is John McClane, Jr. There is the potential that Jai Courtney will take over the lead role of the franchise.