Almost everybody loves the original Die Hard. And why shouldn’t they? A well-developed and very-likeable tough guy saves an entire building full of hostages. It is the ultimate action film because all the parts work together beautiful.
From there the Die Hard brand has been an up and down affair. Die Hard 2 was virtually a copy and paste of the first; it was just in an airport instead of a tower. With a Vengeance was brilliant and fun, it had all the charm of the original without copying it. Die Hard 4 was over the top and energetic, but lacked the simplistic story of the earlier entries.
Now we have the fifth entry, A Good Day to Die Hard. This time around we’ve left the States and we are in Russia. McClane is on a mission to find out why his son has been in Russia for 3 years, his Mum fears he is into drugs but she’ll be relieved to know he is just a CIA agent working to get a man out of Russia.
That is pretty much the extent of the almost non-existent plot. Skip Woods adds plot beats now and then to explain what we are seeing on screen, but the story isn’t driving the film, the action is. The film has 3 long action sequences that anchor the film, in between each action sequence you get 5 minutes to breathe as Woods script serves us with bottom of the barrel dialogue, poor one-liners and weak plot explanations.
It is a shame that story is such an afterthought here. Whilst the originals never had intricate plots, they at least had a plot that ran proceedings and action was the passenger. They also developed the supporting characters, which this film skips over all together. No time is given to characters here, even the McClanes are treated like garbage.
A quick look at Skip Woods’s films will show you that dialogue and character development are not his strong suit, but there is no denying Woods can write action. Each action sequence here is huge, lasting at least 20 minutes they are an endurance test for the audience. The car chase that opens proceedings is fantastic, featuring practical stunts instead of heavy CGI. It was a ballsy choice but the end results speak volumes for why practical will always be better. The other 2 sequences aren’t as great, relying more on gun play and CGI, but they are still a fun to sit through.
The acting is hammy, the dialogue is cheesy, the jokes are old, but you are here for action and A Good Day to Die Hard delivers spectacular action is spades. It is the worst Die Hard film, but this is a Die Hard film in name and character only. If you go in with a lowered bar than there is enjoyment to be had, if you go in expecting the same old Die Hard than you’ll be crushingly disappointed.
2.0 out of 5.0