Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
It has come to my attention that hardcore Die Hard fans really, really disliked the previous 'Die Hard' film, 'Live Free and Die Hard'.  Gotta admit, I didn't even know there was such a thing as hardcore Die Hard fans… people who cherish a franchise in the same way certain individuals cherish Star wars, The Dark Knight or Lord of the Rings.  But lo and behold, the Die Hard faithful are out there as well.  That movie, which I personally enjoyed, apparently was watered down by a PG-13 rating, a silly sidekick, the inclusion of a daughter, a lame villain and McClane surfing a harrier jet.  Now I'm not here to argue with the Die Hard faithful about their franchise, not the kid, but after watching the fifth… and hopefully final… Die Hard, 'A Good Day to Die Hard', surely this movie had to have raised the appreciation for Die Hard 4.0 just a little bit.  A little bit?

John McClane has a son.  John McClane Jr. (Jai Courtney), or Jack McClane as he is known to family and friends.  These children of John McClane just seem to appear out of nowhere.  Don't be surprised in Die Hard VI if teenage twins popup from somewhere.  Anyway, for some reason Jack walked into a club in Moscow and just blew some guy away, and now he's with the authorities.  McClane has gotten word of his wayward son's indefensible actions and books the first flight to Moscow.  To do what?  I don't know.  Just for disclosures sake, I saw the Harder, Uncut Blu-Ray version which apparently cuts out the scene of his daughter played by Mary Elizabeth Wansted driving her dad to the airport.  Don't know why they would cut that out unless Mary Elizabeth rebuked the director's advances and this is how he paid her back.

As John has landed in Moscow and makes his way to the courtroom, his son is already there in a holding pen next to international Russian criminal Kamarov (Sebastian Koch), allegedly because he's there to testify against him.  Unfortunately, a group of armed
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gunmen blow some stuff up, the plan being to kill Kamarov, I guess, but Jack is quick on the job and rescues Kamarov from certain death.  Turns out Jack is a CIA operative with his job being to secure the package, that being Kamarov, for delivery to his superiors at Langley.  Now as this movie plays out, and once everything is revealed, this whole sequence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  But chances are you will stop caring halfway through this film and it won't matter all that much.

Anyway, John sees his son breaking out of prison with this guy and he needs to know what his son is up to.  John totally screws up his sons op.  Then the longest car chase scene since the end of the Blues Brothers will now commence.  So it looks like I lost Mary Elizabeth during this Harder version but I got more car chase.  Yay.

Once everything is settled down, John gets the information on what his child has been doing these last few years, and I gotta admit that Dad wasn't as relieved as I would think he would be.  In fact he seemed downright pissed.  Like he was more at ease that his son was on trial for murder as opposed to being a spy.  Whatever.  Father and son then exchange some terse words, everything goes straight to hell yet again, father, son and Russian Dude are on the run, until it goes even more to hell, with the father telling his son that they still have a chance to save the mission.   A mission that will take them to radioactive infected Chernobyl.  And all is not what it seems.  And it will all go straight to hell. Again.

The original 'Die Hard' is arguably the greatest action movie ever made, or at the very least in almost every action movie fans top ten list.  'Die Hard' had a lot of things going for it, the location, the everyday joe as its hero, but what truly set it apart was Hans Gruber.  Great Villain.  The leads us to one of the problems with this particular 'Die Hard' movie, which does have some fairly out of this world action sequences to witness, but there's no real villain.  We have a guy who seems to be a villain, but he's not much of one.  Then we learn he's not the villain at all, just a minion.  By this time the movie is pretty much over.  No real villain.  That's a problem in any movie, but truly an issue in a Die Hard movie which is almost always about the nefarious plans of the singularly evil dude.

Since there's no real villain, we're now kind of relying on this slapdash of a narrative to carry us through, a tale which even under the best of circumstances makes absolutely no sense.  But I'm thinking what the filmmakers saw as the 'best of circumstances' was for the action to carry this movie, along with the relationship between John and Jack McClane.  Now I actually liked most of the action.  True enough, it was unrealistic and unfathomable even for a Die Hard movie… surfing Harrier Jets seemed more lucid by comparison… but we're not a stickler for these kinds of things over in these parts.  Less successful, however, was Jai Courtney and Bruce Willis 'relating' to one another.  Since dialog wasn't a strong part of this film, and since young Mr. Courtney isn't a good enough actor as of yet to overcome bad dialog, he was put in a bad spot.  Made worse by the fact that this was more of a Jai Courtney movie than a Bruce Willis movie.  And the catch phrase 'I'm on Vacation!' did have us longing for 'Yippe Kai Yai' a little bit.  And we're not fond of that one either no matter how classic it may be.

I don't think this movie is quite as horrible as it's being painted, as it's just a basic, mediocre action flick with bad dialog and suspect acting.  Like most action movies.  The crime this one commits is that it carries the mantle of one of the best action movies ever made.  And for this, 'A Good Day to Die Hard' is guilty as charged.
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