Dreadful. A Good Day to Die Hard is an incomprehensible plot that accompanies generic action scenes, something I never thought I’d feel during a “Die Hard” movie. There has been so many interminable years since the original, and I wonder if Bruce Willis has misplaced his signature character, John McClane or if the writing and directing was so bad that he was betrayed before filming began. Let’s call up the bad credits: Skip Woods (“The A-Team,” “Swordfish”) is the head screenwriter, John Moore (“Max Payne,” “Behind Enemy Lines”) is the director. The terse one-sentence-at-a-time dialogue is blah and unremarkable. The shooting and editing is haphazard and roughshod. The climax of the movie is one of the worst I’ve seen from a big studio action franchise. Ugly, monotonous, preposterous and ear-splitting are a few adjectives to describe the ending. And, uh wait, wouldn’t everyone there have died 87 times already?
John McClane was already estranged from his daughter the last time, this time it is with his son. He feels obligated to fly to Moscow to bust his son Jack (Jai Courtney, charmless) out of trouble. A thankless task, if you ask me. An unwanted gesture, if you ask Jack who turns out to be undercover CIA. Father and son trade insults, a few explosions go off, and immediately following is a car chase scene that tries to copy the famous one in the second “Bourne” film, but this one is just boring in its ineptitude.
About my grading of films, I do find myself on occasion swinging back and forth on a final decision. I strive for fair. When it came to this one, I fought hard with myself to justify a 1.5 star rating. But in all honesty with myself, I found nothing about “Die Hard 5” that I liked, thus, 1 star. OK, one element. I liked the naughty Russian hottie Irina (Yuliya Snigir) who has convenient zippers on her wardrobe. I only wish more was done with her. But here’s a downgrade: There isn’t a good villain in this franchise entry. It’s more of, uh, a syndicate. I think there is a raised hope by one of them that a Chernobyl-like disaster will be repeated.
But really, it’s a file that the assorted generic bad guys are after. A file in a badly written action pic is nothing more than an interchangeable MacGuffin. The MacGuffin definition is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonist pursues. For “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the MacGuffin is a half-baked plug-in. My ultimate complaint: The executives at 20th Century Fox should have cared enough to not plug-in Skip Woods and John Moore to helm this fifth Die Hard entry. What results is one of the worst sequels to a popular franchise ever.
97 Minutes. Rated R.
ACTION & ADVENTURE / ACTION FANS / FRIDAY NIGHT SUCKFEST
Film Cousins: “Die Hard” (1988); “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” (1990); “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995); “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007).