Film Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

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Bruce Willis, here with Jai Courtney, stars as John McClane for the fifth time, and makes his biggest mess yet in A Good Day to Die Hard. Bruce Willis, here with Jai Courtney, stars as John McClane for the fifth time, and makes his biggest mess yet in A Good Day to Die Hard.

Lowering the bar: A Good Day to Die Hard falls short of the action franchise’s mark

The late comedian Bill Hicks had a three-word movie review rating system. To my knowledge, he used it only once—on Basic Instinct—but the three-word review should be revived, because it applies wholly to A Good Day to Die Hard: Piece of shit.

No other words or phrases quite so succinctly or decisively sum up this massive turd. This movie is so bad it’s unbelievable.
And let’s unpack that statement: A Good Day to Die Hard is so bad I actually cannot believe it. When did the demon dogs of hell stop merely influencing movie stars and studios and begin pulling the strings? To reiterate the inescapable point, A Good Day to Die Hard is a piece of shit.

To wit: In the overpraised-but-still-fun The Blues Brothers, a comedy by director John Landis (who had comedic flair), Carrie Fisher attempts to kill Joliet Jake (John Belushi, a comic actor) and Elwood (Dan Aykroyd, a comic actor) several times. In the most dramatic example, she detonates the hotel in which Jake and Elwood are staying. The building explodes and crumbles. Jake and Elwood simply climb from the bricks, survey the wreckage and amble on. It’s Warner Bros. cartoon-funny.

More than once in the mercifully short A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane (Bruce Willis) and his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), fall through buildings that explode and crumble for a variety of yippy-ki-yay reasons. Father and son simply climb from the bricks, survey the wreckage and amble on, but without the benefit of being John Belushi or Dan Aykroyd in The Blues Brothers. A Good Day to Die Hard is a piece of shit.

The plot, not that it matters, concerns McClane going to Russia to watch Jack go to trial for killing someone blah blah something and it’s all really stupid. This movie was written and produced for one reason: money. One of the characters even says something like “It all comes down to money.”

I’m not the kind of person who longs for the days when movies were good—seriously—and I understand franchises must change in order to survive. Change them too much and Batman becomes Batman & Robin. Or Die Hard becomes A Good Day to Die Hard.
Die Hard had a simple but smart story, smart characters (even the dumb ones) with backstory, tightly staged action scenes, a wonderful villain and a main character who hated himself. And he could get shot and bleed. In Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth film in the series, John McClane became a superhero. Now he’s just a dick. At one point McClane tells Jack to respect his father, a smug line coming from a movie that doesn’t respect its audience.

The action scenes make no sense—not even in magical SuperHeroLand—and there was more character development in the first 10 minutes of Die Hard 2: Die Harder, which previously held the honor of being the worst entry in the Die Hard canon.
Now there’s a new worst: A Good Day to Die Hard. Seriously, it’s a piece of shit.

A Good Day to Die Hard/R, 97 minutes/Regal Stonefield 14 and IMAX

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