Latest Die Hard fails to live up to series hype

Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth instalment of the iconic Die Hard series, was released in theatres on Feb. 14. Starring Bruce Willis (The Expendables) and Jai Courtney (Spartacus: Blood and Sand), the film is set in Moscow, Russia, and is directed by John Moore (Max Payne).

In this film, John McClane (Willis), New York Cop and star of the previous four films in the series, travels to Russia to assist his apparently troubled son, Jack (Courtney). However, McClane soon realizes his son is in fact a CIA agent working towards preventing global nuclear warfare, and has become a witness in a trial for the prosecution of Russian prisoner Yuri Kamarov (Sebastian Koch, The Lives of Others). Kamarov is said to be in possession of a file that incriminates the antagonistic Viktor (Sergey Kolesnikov). As the movie progresses, the father-son duo are forced to team up in a wild goose chase through the streets of Moscow.

The writers may have gone overboard with the action on this one.

Aside from the fact that the movie lacks a significant plotline, the writers may have gone overboard with the action on this one. Ten minutes in, a car chase begins that goes on for another 30 minutes in real time – a duration far too long to maintain suspense in the minds of viewers. Also at this point in the film, no story or purpose of any kind has been provided, so all in all, the audience is completely lost. Such extreme and often unreasonable action montages result in an even more unconvinced and dissatisfied audience, often prompting a “What was that?” from the viewers. The main characters often perform high-altitude jumps that should result in several broken bones, if not death. Instead, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off and continue to fire away with reckless abandon, leaving the film in a gray area as far as credibility goes.

Compared to the previous installments of the series, the character of McClane has fewer dialogues and less humor, and altogether seems genuinely disinterested in things going on around him. This movie is basically a long stretch of noise, crashes and debris mixed with flashes of “emotional” dialogue between father and son that lacks the required emotion from the characters involved. The script for the film, written by Skip Woods, frequents the line “I’m on vacation!” which is yelled in anger by McClane whenever a shower of bullets is aimed at him, a habit that becomes rather annoying after the first few instances.

The character of McClane in this film has fewer dialogues and less humor.

However, there are some silver linings to the flurry of cons that this movie brings with it. Jai Courtney does a rather impressive job as the angry, filled-with-regret son who initially has no interest and maybe even some despair in seeing his father in Moscow while he is in the middle of an extremely life-threatening mission. Continuously referring to McClane by his last name rather than a colloquial term for “father,” while using unnecessary swear words directly aimed at McClane, Jack brings out his true character in this movie. Unfortunately, Courtney’s physical features resemble a Russian thug, and this serves as a source of confusion at the beginning of the movie, before any context has been provided. Another saving grace to this movie comes in the form of the last fight scene, which involves a precariously balanced helicopter, plenty of guns, shattering windows and a beautiful heroine, which thankfully reaches the level of entertainment achieved by previous films in the series.

A Good Day to Die Hard was not the best Valentine’s Day release, but for viewers who have action oozing from their pores, this might be a decent watch for a lazy weekend evening. Otherwise, it may be an indicator that it is time for the series to die…hard.