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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
The other day, I watched A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth entry in the long-running/recently resurrected franchise. My goodness, was it terrible. It fails at being both a Die Hard flick and an action movie in general.
Bruce Willis returns as John McClane. It is clear that he is there only for the paycheck, because he completely sleepwalks through his role. Joining him this time as his sidekick is his estranged son, Jack played by Jai Courtney. Courtney is fine in the role, but unfortunately for him, Jack is such a paper-thin character that he becomes tedious as the movie goes on.
Apparently junior has gotten himself into a jam in Russia, so dad is going to see what is up. Then – gasp! – it turns out junior is a CIA agent causing a ruckus because of…erm…national security or something. They have to get this file from some political prisoner, because it will expose some bad Russian politician. Honestly, the whole story is both extremely thin and overly convoluted at the same time. There are twists after twists after twists that by the time we learn what is really going on, the villain’s plot ultimately makes no sense and could have been accomplished without going through all the trouble the movie put them through.
Not helping matters at all is that there is zero character development and very generic and weak character arcs. One of the things that made all the previous Die Hards work (particularly the first one) was that McClane and those around him were very well-developed to the point that you cared about what was happening. Here, everyone is so one dimensional that the film gets incredibly dull.
The central “emotional theme” was that father and son are at odds and will learn to re-appreciate each other by the end. That is all fine and good, but the way AGTDH executes that is horrible. The narrative beats that this plotline goes through are completely forced and, subsequently, difficult to buy into. I guess the producers figured that the story of McClane reuniting with a child worked for the last one. Might as well repeat it (only terribly).
The direction is also awful. Why do people keep hiring John Moore to direct things? He has no style, no energy, and no creativity. The first main action sequence in the film is an over-long car chase sequence. This should have been exciting and impressive. Instead it is dull and tired. Not the best way to start off an action movie. Also the editing in this was horrid, particularly during the action sequences. There were times it was tough to follow what was happening and how it was happening. There were times I was watching it and I would say to myself, “Oh, he has a gun now. Somehow. Um…ho, ho, ho?”
A Good Day to Die Hard (a terrible, meaningless title, by the way) is a waste of a movie. As I mentioned before, it feels as if the studio had no faith in a fifth Die Hard movie, so they just gave it the Star Trek Nemesis treatment by giving the film to a couple of random nobodies to make so they can simply churn it out. This series has been going downhill since Die Hard 2, but at least the subsequent sequels before this were entertaining on their own terms. This one is a new low. I fear what will happen if Die Hard 6 is made.