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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Movie Review - A Good Day To Die Hard

A Good Day To Die Hard  $ 1/2   


97 Minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, and Sebastian Koch.
Director: John Moore.

            Bruce Willis is a tremendous actor. The original Die Hard defined a successful storyline in modern cinema; Under Siege was Die Hard on a boat, Speed was Die Hard on a bus. One might even argue that you can’t be a respectable action film screen-writer without having written a manuscript that pays homage to this iconic storyline. How does Die Hard at a comic convention sound to you? I can call it Geek Hard.
            Fine. Back to the review. Considering the above, this latest installment of the John McClane (Bruce Willis) saga should have been a safe bet for a quip-filled evening of gun battles and explosions. And it was. It just wasn’t entertaining.  

            The movie opens with Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) murdering a Russian mobster in a night club. John immediately flies over to Russia to help his son in this troubling situation. He arrives just in time to witness a group of armed men storm the Russian courthouse. Jack escapes with a fellow prisoner, Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and that marks the beginning of Die Hard in Russia. 
            Most of the plot involves a rehash of previous themes, mainly the estrangement between John and his family because he spends too much time saving large chunks of the population from massively-armed terrorist groups. They may have gone to the well one too many times with this story element if the stale dialogue given to us by the writers is any indication.  

            For those of you who enjoy chase scenes that leave a trail of smashed and broken vehicles in the wake, then you are in for a treat. I’m no expert, but they may have busted up more cars and trucks than any movie I have previously seen. The sheer amount of broken glass, sheared doors, and dented hoods is truly impressive. Not necessary for the story, but a grand display of automotive catastrophe to be sure.
            Bruce Willis did a reasonable job of acting in this film. The problem is that he’s working with some very weak dialogue. In fact, most of the acting was good, but handicapped by the writing.
            As for the plot – I mean, Really? Who thought a New York cop traveling to Russia and shooting up the place was a good idea? Entertainment relies on the suspension of disbelief in order to present incredible tales that we might never have envisioned on our own. Ask the audience to accept too much of the ridiculous and you end up with a story that is silly rather than entertaining.
            There are several story elements that went awry in this movie and I don’t want to spend pages commenting on them all.  Suffice to say, the writing for this film was poor.
            Special effects, sound effects, and all the other aspects of the movie making craft were good. They just aren’t enough to overcome the problems with the story.  

            I considered giving the film just half a movie buck, but Bruce Willis is entertaining enough to warrant adding another full movie buck to the rating. If you tend to ignore flaws in the storyline or the writing, then this will probably be a good movie for you to see.


            Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.

$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.

$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.

$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.

0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.



  1. That's probably why it was released in the weak February market versus late spring or summer. Seems like the type to rent on Redbox in a few months.

    1. Hadn't thought about that, but it makes a lot of sense. My son went with me and from a non-writer's point of view he thought it was horrible.

    2. BTW I saw this last weekend (because I had a couple of hours I needed to kill while out of town) and agree with most of the points you made. Probably worst or second-worst entry in the series. I don't really remember the 2nd one but I remember I didn't really like it.

    3. I'd be interested to hear what points you disagree with. I enjoy getting another view on a story.

  2. I remember when John McClane was just a human and we connected with him, man to man, man to woman and man to child. All of that is lost and given in hopes to a yelling, annoying John McClane that is almost like a superhero nowadays. Nice review Randy.

    1. Thanks. Good comments. The character moves even further away from the hero of the first movie. This one borders on the villainous with a total disregard for law or the safety of others and seems to even enjoy killing people.