I wish I could offer an explanation or even a brief recap as to what A Good Day to Die Hard is about, however after sitting through its surprisingly short running time, I confess I have no idea. Of the fifth Die Hard film, I know these facts to be true:
- Bruce Willis is back as John McClane.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead is back as his daughter, albeit for less than five minutes of screen time.
- Jai Courtney proves he could take over the franchise and impressively kick bad guys' butts as John's son, Jack.
- Jack works for the CIA and is undercover in Russia.
- The plot has something to do with a folder of information hidden at Chernobyl (yes, that place).
Other than the five bullet points, you got me; I have no idea what Die Hard 5 is about. Did what was happening on screen make any sense? Not for an instant. Do you go to a Die Hard film for the plot? No. But shouldn't a major theatrical release have some semblance of a story holding it together? Definitely.
This fifth Die Hard - easily the worst of the bunch - seems to have been constructed by a hyperactive kid with too much time on his hands and an unlimited budget to destroy things. It's sandbox playtime taken to the nth level. Bruce knows diehard Die Hard fans want over-the-top action and A Good Day to Die Hard does serve that up. But that's absolutely all this fifth film does, and even that it doesn't do competently.
Forget dialogue, character development, or logic, A Good Day to Die Hard is a bad day at the movies for anyone but the biggest Die Hard fans. Had Willis not been a part of this and the lead character's name not been John McClane, you wouldn't be able to distinguish A Good Day to Die Hard from any straight-to-DVD bargain bin action movies. This isn't so much a Die Hard film as it is a movie that rips-off the title and tacks it onto a generic action film.
Director John Moore (2006's The Omen) only includes humongous action-filled scenes that are so incredibly far-fetched as to be laughable. They also deliver a Die Hard in which the two heroes - John and Jack - can survive spectacular car crashes, run-ins with gun-toting Russian thugs, and jumping through plate glass windows with nary a scratch. And we're talking free falls from hundreds of feet.
Willis doesn't add much life to the film and most of the load falls on the shoulders of Australian actor Jai Courtney. Courtney's good at the stunt work, but suffers from playing a character woefully under-developed. The surrounding supporting players do their jobs, but you'll forget them by the time the credits roll - as you will the film in its entirety.
A Good Day to Die Hard was directed by John Moore and is rated R for violence and language.
Theatrical Release: February 14, 2013