Film Review: A Good Day to Die Hard (20th Century Fox; 2013)

BY MATTHEW LAW

…..as opposed to a bad day to die hard? Or, even opposed to a good day to die in general? Maybe dying “hard” is just much more fun than dying regularly, or softly for that matter, whatever that would entail. Anyway, I digress! John McClane returns to the big screen for the fifth time to raise hell and also, presumably, 57 year old Bruce Willis’ own blood pressure, as he battles Hollywood action film’s oldest enemy: those pesky Russians.

A Good Day to Die Hard is The Bourne Supremacy on crack. It has high speed chases, violent shootouts, and constant carnage, but at a level that makes Jason Bourne look as brave as Scooby Doo. The film does what it sets out to do. Like the previous Die Hard films, it blends cheesy lines with ridiculous action sequences to create a film that is pure enjoyment and kickass fun. But, it is nowhere near as good as its predecessors and director John Moore must shoulder most of the blame for this. He has eradicated this film of all the charm, quick wit, and the “coolness” that the other Die Hard films have.  These qualities have been replaced with over the top action, and dialogue and characters that have as much allure as herpes.

Willis, on the other hand, is great. He seems to be the only attempt at quality in this production, and for a man nearly hitting 60, he can still kill terrorists as well as any of his contemporaries. An unusual pro for this film is actually the sound. Yes, I admit that is a very nerdy thing to enjoy, but it is truly fantastic, and makes the explosions and gunfire even more likely to cause you to fist-pump.

The strange thing about this production is that there seems to be no attempt to recreate past glories. Die Hard 4.0 was the best Die Hard since the first, which leaves one to wonder why they did not just end the franchise on a high, as opposed to creating, in A Good Day to Die Hard, a film that makes Taken 2 look like an Academy Award dark horse. Although, if you watch this film without comparing it to the other Die Hard films, as ashamed as I am to say this, it ends up being rather fun. No, it isn’t amazing, it isn’t even close to being good, but it is entertaining, and that is what it is supposed to be. In a world filled with so much sadness and pessimism, we need films like A Good Day to Die Hard to make us laugh, smile, and just stop caring about the serious things in life for a while. It is a 97 minute embodiment of the term “guilty pleasure” that lets you sit back and watch one of Hollywood’s greatest action heroes do what he does best: shoot and destroy.

 For viewing times at Movie House cinemas, click here.

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