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Published on February 14th, 2013 | by simeon

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Two Reviews of A Good Day To Die Hard

By Ryan Guerra

To me, the original Die Hard (1988) was the birth of the modern action movie that we now take for granted. We have a seeming normal everyman in Bruce Willis, playing a likable but tough as nails NYPD cop John McClane, who just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Yes, Story if his life.) The street smart hero uses whatever resources he could muster to become a thorn in the side of an intelligent and sophisticated villain, while dropping a few comedy one-liners along the way. This being the 5th installment of the Die Hard series the formula seems to be working, only not as well as past films in the series.

As a fan of the series there are many things this film does well. The soon to be 58 Willis is still as likeable as ever as John McClane. The film does a good job of making fun of his age just enough to make you feel that he is old, but not TOO old. The improbable action is as big as ever which leads to mass destruction in typical John McClane fashion. This action helps the 97min runtime feel fast paced and fun. Also Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher) plays John’s son CIA agent Jack McClane and actually plays strong against Willis. The whole father-son dynamic is interesting and gives some new depth to this familiar character. This dynamic leads up to a redeeming moment for John McClane that makes you wonder if this is Willis’s swan song in the series and if the reins are being passed to Courtney?

As a fan of the series there are many things this film does not do well. Perhaps the most notable are the lack luster one-liner jokes that always seem to stand out in the previous films. They exist, however they are not really that funny. Also the same joke was recycled over and over that by the end I do not recall laughing about anything in the final 40 mins of the film. Perhaps my biggest complaint is that the villain in this film is vanilla. So plain that I do not care to even look up his name. Just know that if you are a fan of the film he is nowhere near the Brilliance of the characters Hans Gruber or even Simon Gruber in previous films. And for this series that is a big problem. We know John McClane is a bad ass, but what is the point of all his destruction if he is not using it to stomp someone who is equally menacing.

In the end I can say that this film is a guilty pleasure that I enjoyed. It is far from a good movie but fans of the series and anyone just looking to watch a run of the mill action flick will be entertained. Leading up to this film I watch the previous four films and I have to say that this film is better than Die Hard 2: Die Harder and Live Free and Die Hard but behind the Die Hard With A Vengeance and far behind the original Die Hard. If you have never seen a Die Hard film, do yourself a favor and use the price of admission to rent the original.

3 out of 5 stars

By Joseph K. Saulnier

When I left the movie theater after having watched A Good Day to Die Hard, I was asked by what I thought. My response was this: For an action movie, it was quite good and entertaining. For a “Die Hard” movie… it was a little disappointing. Twenty-four hours later, I find that I still feel the same way.

The thing that attracted me to Die Hard was that everything that happened in the movie seemed plausible. Highly unlikely… yes, but plausible none the less. As the series progressed things became more and more realistic, but it still felt right up until the third movie that these things could actually happen to our buddy John McClane. And let’s not forget… John McClane is not a super cop. He’s not a highly trained Special Forces operative. He just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But then we enter on Live Free or Die Hard. First off, I loved the movie. But things began to get very unrealistic in this movie and it started feeling less like Die Hard and more like [insert any action movie here]. And it seems that we get more of the same in A Good Day to Die Hard. But, like I said. I enjoyed this movie immensely. There was a lot of good humor, some misplaced references to the original movie, and plenty of action.

This time around, John McClane travels to Russia in the hopes of saving his estranged son, Jack, from a lifetime in prison. Instead, he ends up in the middle of a political and military disaster which, let’s face it, is just another day for our favorite rough and tumble detective. It’s been 25 years since we first saw McClane walking around on glass, spouting one-liners like “yippee-ki-yay, and screaming “Holly” from the floor. The big difference this time is that he’s gone international. The hugeness of this film do make it work though. From a chase scene that destroys nearly 200 cars to the helicopter attack at the end, direct John Moore has definitely given plenty of bang for your buck.

There are many who I have talked with who feel that the plot is non-existent. But I kind of wonder if people have just been desensitized to the most basic of story lines. McClane’s blood is in trouble, and he will go to extraordinary lengths to help. That was the plot of Die Hard; that is the plot of A Good Day to Die Hard. Everyone raved about the movie 25 years ago, but now it just doesn’t seem to make the cut.

Maybe it’s the realism that I mentioned earlier that bothers people. I don’t think that should affect your opinion of the plot, but maybe there’s something to be said for gun and car battles on Russian highways without anyone noticing. Or McClane driving a vehicle over a line of cars filled with passengers and no seems to care that he might have fatally hurt innocent people. The setting for the big finale that so insane that I think some of the world’s bravest dare-devils would look at it and ask, “Are you insane?” However, these quibbles are outshined by great and fun performances by the cast.

Willis continues to play the crime-stopping cop with almost sadistic glee. . He’s definitely older, but Willis still brings the same charm and vocabulary to the role he did all those years ago. And rest assured, his most famous quote is nicely tucked into the folds of all the bangs, pows and explosions. Jai Courtney is a surprisingly welcome addition who picks up a little of the action. Many of you may recognize him as Varo from Spartacus: Blood and Sand. He and Willis have the love-hate father-son relationship down pat.

Willis has said that he envisions this series kind of like James Bond. The series may not always be centered on John McClane, but any one can be in that “Die Hard” role. It will be interesting to see if they continue it after this with Jack McClane, or go whole new route. Did we need another Die Hard? Probably not, but as long as the action is thrilling, intense and fun… keep them coming.

4 stars out of 5.


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