A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
By: J.R. McNamara on March 18, 2013 | Comments
The Last Stand Poster
Director: John Moore
Starring:: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir, Cole Hauser
Screnplay: Skip Woods
Country: USA
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I am not quick to criticise sequels, as I was brought up on them. From the original Star Wars saga to the various Friday the 13ths and A Nightmare on Elm Streets, I have always enjoyed seeing further adventures of my favourite characters. Of course in any series, at least one film resembles the sloppy stuff that a dog pushes from its back passage, and that leads us to... A Good Day to Die Hard. Or, as it has already been dubbed by much of the internet: A Good Day to Suck Hard.

This film was written by Skip Woods (more on him and his miserable script later) and directed by John Moore, who definitely knows how to put together an action sequence but can't seem to get a good performance out of his actors. I should also point out he was responsible for the dire Flight of the Phoenix and The Omen remakes, so be warned!

A Good Day to Die Hard starts like a Bond film, with mucho shenanigans in Russia involving a political prisoner Komarov (Sebastian Koch) who has hidden evidence against politician Chargarin (Sergey Kolesnikov). These shenanigans culminate in a nightclub assassination performed by someone who we soon learn is Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) - son of John McClane (Bruce Willis) - who is immediately apprehended. John McClane, back in NYC, hears of this and makes his way to Russia to support his son at a trial where he is to give evidence against Chagarin, putting him in the courthouse with Komarov. Turns out though that Jack is actually a CIA agent in the midst of a three year operation to get Komarov out of Russia so the hidden evidence can be used to bring Chargarin to pay for crimes he committed in the past, and as expected, John soon gets dragged into the plot and we are then subjected to double-crosses, gunfire, helicopter and car destruction porn (you'll see the Mercedes Benz emblem more in the first 30 minutes than you have in your entire life) and a father and son relationship once strained, now repaired.

I'll start with the only positive for this film: the action sequences. These were filmed with a Hell of a lot of skill and were as thrilling as all get out, and on occasion featured moments of unexpected violence. There is nothing really original here though, and in actual fact the first car chase in Moscow felt like an 80s styled pop music megamix of the tank scene from Goldeneye and the vehicle chases from Die Hard 3 and Die Hard 4.0.

Moore also used the George Lucas school of filmmaking, where every scene in a sequel should be like a scene from a previous film. Whether that be for familiarity or because of a lack of ideas I am not so sure, but it annoys me to no end. This film had so many homages to other Die Hard entries that I felt like it was a tribute band version of a Die Hard film: all the hits and none of the misses. It replicated the 'falling' scene (from the first one), the big explosion scene (from the third one) and many others. Honestly, they could have just taken clips from previous films and stitched them together as it really was just a bunch of big scenes linked by a loose script that borrowed from the likes of Die Hard With A Vengeance, XXX and several Bond movies.

The loose script is where the film really falls apart. Skip Woods, who for me was on a winner with Hitman and Swordfish, but taught us what 'SUCK' looks like with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, repeats his Wolverine experience here with barely one-dimensional characters, luke-warm stereotypes and plot twists that were so obvious Bruce Willis may as well have been holding a sign that said 'PLOT TWIST'. Another problem was that after all the double crossing and triple crossing, the motivation for the main bad guy seemed hugely watered down, and his entire plan relied on so much convenience that he could have opened a 7/11 store.

The other problem was the character of John McClane being soooooooo out of his depth in this spy film that at times he felt like nothing more than an amusing sidekick to Jack McClane's heroics. On occasion John would shine though with his New York cop instincts, but ultimately, he was just there to fire guns and crack wise.

After such a great trilogy and a good modern day reboot in Die Hard 4.0, this is a miserable waste of time that exists solely to hand over the reins to a new 'McClane'. Imagine the 'handover' scene at the end of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull running for 98 minutes. Yeah: it's that bad.
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