Apparently it’s ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ (2013).

23 Feb
Note: this quote is not uttered once.

Note: this quote is not uttered once.

Bruce Willis returns as the stalwart bravado John McClane in A Good Day to Die Hard, who this time must travel to Russia to figure out what’s going on with his missing son Jack (Jai Courtney). Shortly after arriving, the two rendez-vous and the tables are turned, while the stakes are simultaneously upped. Can McClane save the day, while at the same time keeping his renegade son in check?

As a massive Die Hard fan, I was more than pumped for this movie. What with the original being perhaps my favourite stereotypical explosion-happy action film, and me liking all of the previous sequels (Die Hard 4.0 is awesome, screw the haters!) this one admittedly had a lot to live up to. Choosing John Moore (Max Payne, that shocking 2006 Omen remake) should have sent red flags flying immediately, but I was not prepared for the sheer horror that I experienced in the cinema that fateful day. A Good Day to Die Hard is the worst of the lot by a considerable margin, and the main reason is simple: it’s not fun. All previous Die Hard films, which vary wildly in terms of technical prowess, script quality and continuity have this overriding sense of unabated entertainment. This time, McClane’s outing is just no fun.

The film stinks of functionality over substance; the fact that so much of the dialogue is in Russian results in it being already heavily subtitled, which means that miniscule translation is required for the foreign markets. Bruce Willis gives the most half-assed performance of his career to date – he clearly could care less about this movie and his involvement in it. McClane is uncharacteristically detestable and impossible to empathise with – and once the circumstances surrounding his son change, his presence isn’t even justified any more. He shoots and  runs countless people over, with no signs of police, for no good reason. He freely admits that he’s “on vacation”; all of the action and violence serves zero purpose, and it’s as if the film expects us as viewers to blindly accept this and just roll with it. Courtney and Mary Elizabeth Winstead (the obligatory out-of-place American female) are both too bland for words.

From a technical standpoint, the film also bombs. The camera angles are so jaunty – the film reverts to a nauseating pseudo-’shakeycam’ during the more uptempo scenes, but even during calm moments the camera wobbles uncontrollably, as if the goon behind the lens was holding it with their feet or something. A Good Day to Die Hard is cloaked in this mysterious turquoise tint: it pervades everything from the boring car chases to the even more dull quiet storytelling bits. A ham-fisted attempt at giving the film a grimy, underground tone, it merely results in making the film appear cheap and under-produced. The music is pure stock action movie shtick (lots and lots of vibrato on the strings) and is so obnoxiously bland that it really requires no further mention. At least the disaster doesn’t last too long – at ninety minutes, you’re in and out before you can get too mortally wounded.

A Die Hard film in name alone, this is by far the weakest entry in the series. Willis’ infuriatingly aloof performance coupled with nonsensical action and a frankly dumb script results in a frankly vile movie that was simply painful to watch. Perhaps the series should die hard if this is the tripe it is destined to spew out from now on. Heinous.

Simon says: a horrendous movie, don’t put yourself through the torture.

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