Hey, at least it’s not PG-13.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back and older than ever now. However, he still has a thing or two up his sleeve when it comes to blowing shit up, kicking ass, and saying everybody’s favorite line. You know what it is. Don’t even make me try to utter it. This time around, he’s facing-off against terrorists in Moscow and teaming-up with his estranged son (Jai Courtney) for double the action and double the kills, father-son style.
After I reviewed and posted my thoughts on Live Free or Die Hard, I got a lot of comments from people saying that, “it wasn’t like the original Die Hard“, “it didn’t feel like John McClane was a regular-person”, “Justin Long’s annoying”, and basically, “it wasn’t a Die Hard movie, and instead like another action-movie”. All are valid-points and I can totally see where they were coming from but trust me, when you see this, you’re going to get on all-fours, and kiss the feet of Len Wiseman and co. from that last movie. Seriously: the Die Hard lovers are going to riot over this one.
If you go into this expecting it to be a Die Hard movie, be ready to be disappointed. I can already tell you that without a stutter in my speech, but, if you go into it expecting an action-movie, you won’t come-out hate yourself, Bruce Willis, or director John Moore for that fact. Okay, maybe you’ll still hate John Moore but at least give the guy some credit: he makes the action “fun”, right? Being that this an action movie, you can expect there to be a huge amount of guns, deaths, blood, gore, f-bombs, explosions, bullets, and most importantly, cars that are totally destroyed. That’s the whole fun of an action movie and if there is anything that this movie does better than I expected, it’s that it gives us something fun to pay-attention when all else seems to be failing. If anything, you’ll have plenty of eye-candy to view and gaze at, but once you get down the bottom of it all, you’ll soon start to realize that there’s just nothing else other than exactly that: eye-candy. Everything is pure dullsville.
Okay, here is where the movie screws itself up on: it does not feel like a Die Hard movie. The look, the tone, the screenplay, the characters, and even the action, feel as if they could have come from any other action-movie in the world, but not a Die Hard movie. You know why? Because Die Hard is a special franchise that it’s crowd loves, it’s lovers still praise to this day, and humble critics like yours truly still rate as one of, if not, the best action movie of all-time. It was an action movie that didn’t just give us fun and entertaining set-pieces full of action, but it also gave us a real character that was easy to stand-behind, root for, and love just about everything he did. Here, everything feels like it was trying to re-create that glory once again, but lost all of the lovely charm of the original.
Instead, we just have a bunch of action, mixed together with something that’s supposed to be considered a story, something that’s supposed to be funny when it wants, something that’s supposed to be epic, and something that’s supposed to resemble John McClane. Everything I just mentioned, was supposed to be “something” from the original, but all of that gets lost in the wind. For instance, let’s focus on the screenplay. The story itself makes some sort of sense when it first begins, but after awhile, starts to go through twists, turns, and unexpected paths that don’t make a single-lick of sense, nor should they even be in the movie. The villains in this movie suck (more on that later), but what really has them stand-out like a sore thumb the most is that there’s a whole story-line to whatever the hell they are doing, why they’re doing, and who’s good, and who’s bad on their side. In all honesty: nobody fucking cares! All we care about is John McClane, the action, the quips, and everybody’s favorite line.
Hell, even when they do say the line in this movie, it’s so unepic, so lame, and so random, that only two people in my screening actually clapped-at and heard. Other than those two, nobody knew what the hell he said and even if they did hear it, nobody cared. That’s a real, fuckin’ shame. When you have an iconic franchise such as this, and you try to re-create the magic that was once there and fail at it: everybody’s going to notice. Don’t believe me, just ask George Lucas and Steven Spielberg when they tried to buy another house with that cash-grab Indiana Jones movie. Yup, it’s along the same lines as that, my friends. Be ready to be angry.
However, as much as I rag on all of the dumb things that this movie does, what they get wrong, what they mess-up on, and what type of magic they miss achieving once again, perhaps the biggest-sin this movie commits is making it’s main action-star, John McClane, the most annoying character out of the bunch. That’s right: John McClane is annoying in this movie. Bruce Willis is the type of guy you can trust with your movie because he’s got charm, he’s still got that coolness to him, and he still proves that it doesn’t matter how old you get, you can still light some motherfuckers up like it’s nobody’s business. However, he falls prey to this terrible script and it shows when McClane first appears on the screen, and you automatically want to punch him the face. By the way, everything you are reading is not a lie and some early-April Fool’s joke. You really do want to punch John McClane in the face.
It’s actually not that Willis is annoying as McClane, it’s more that the script makes McClane do dumb stuff that his character in the earlier-movies would have never, ever thought about doing. Ever. For an example, take the first-time McClane meets up with his boy in Russia: he shows up by yelling at him, standing in front of the car when he knows bad shit is going on, stopping his son from possibly being free, and even worse, totally draws attention by just hollering at his son like a complete jackass. To top off that, he’s trying to ask his son what’s he doing and why he’s doing it, all while his son obviously looks like he’s in desperate danger and needs to leave, pronto.
Then, it gets worse as McClane gets involved with some of the action, by driving in a car-chase that goes all throughout Moscow. John McClane knows a thing or two about driving a car through busy streets, never losing sight of where he has to go, catching all of the short-cuts, and at the end of the high-speed chase, still being able to get his man that he’s tailing so yeah, it can’t be that bad, can it? Well, lets take into account that as he goes on-and-on with this whole car-chase, and either kills or injures over 1,000 innocents. I’m not kidding, either. The car-chase that I’m talking about does some damage to Moscow, and that’s not certain buildings that were closed to renovations, or a headquarters for all of the bad-guys located in Moscow. No. These were actually innocent, harmless people that just so happened to be at the wrong place, the wrong time, and in the way of John McClane’s road rage. Now, let me ask you this: would the original John McClane from the first 3 movies, would he really go so far as to lose his shit and start killing a bunch of innocents? Yeah, you could probably say that he was just doing his job to kill the baddies, but think about it: his job is an NYC cop. I would automatically think that the guy not only knows a thing or two about getting his man, but being able to do so without killing a bunch of people that didn’t deserve it. Didn’t seem like the original John McClane I knew and loved, and if this is the new, and older John McClane; then he’s a total fuckin’ prick.
Okay, well, so far, the movie has not only fucked-up McClane’s intro, but his action-prowess as well. What’s left? Well, don’t forget that this movie does include his son and his daughter, which means there’s going to be plenty of bonding between the family members, right? WRONG!! When John McClane sees his son, not only does he totally fuck-up his plan to get out alive and well, but he constantly continues to get up his ass about doing something bad. Yes, any kid of yours that does something bad should be reprimanded, but to do it while the kid’s driving away from a bunch of angry Ruskies that are out to kill him and wear his skin as shoes? Ehh, I may have to take a rain-check on that one, pops. But don’t worry, it gets worse. Once McClane and his son actually do have some down-time to talk about what they’ve been up to, why they love each other, and why they should be a father-and-son once again, McClane is still yelling and still up his son’s ass, even though he’s supposed to be reaching-out to him. Listen here, whatever your daddy issues are, it doesn’t matter. If my daddy came-up to me after not seeing me for about 10 years, showed up in all of my shit, and started just bothering the fuck out of me by calling me names and telling me everything that I do is wrong, then I’m either going to kick his ass or just send him straight back to the nuthouse. Either way, I’m not going to put up with it because I’ll be a lot older and I don’t need him fucking my shit up. That’s exactly what John does to his son here, and even though I could suspect that from some other dads, in other movies, I could never, not for a second expect that from a guy who apparently knows what he’s doing when it comes to kicking-ass, and also wants to have the love of his son back. It’s stupid, makes no sense, and gets annoying by about the fourth or fifth time that John tells his son that he’s doing something. Okay, I bet you know what this all means by now:
STRIKE THREE!! GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE!!
Okay, well, now that we know John McClane is annoying-as-fuck, what about the rest of the cast of characters? Well, they’re not better than him nor are they worse. They’re just there and do what they can with a shit-script such as this. It was a pretty neat idea to add Jai Courtney in as John’s son (even though I never really remembering hearing anything about him existing until now, but okay, whatevs) and the guy does a solid-enough job to where he isn’t annoying, he isn’t a weak-link, and he doesn’t seem unlikable. He’s got a bit of a personality, he’s got the looks, he’s got some of the quips, and he’s got some of the ass-kicking skills as well. He’s not a bad character to have in a movie like this, and Courtney isn’t such a bad actor to portray him neither. Also, anybody expecting to see some more of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy; don’t get your hopes up too much. She rarely shows up here and even when she does, she just provides more hassle and annoyance for John McClane.
I’m still shocked that I didn’t like John McClane. Oh well, at least the villains are good, right?
HELL TO THE FUCKIN’ NO!! You would think since this is a Die Hard movie, since this does have John McClane on the good-side, and since this does have him facing-off against Russians, that this wouldn’t be one hell of a toe-to-toe battle between the two sides, but that’s where the thoughts are wrong. These villains blow and are as lame as you could expect. All of that back-story shit I alluded to earlier aside, these guys got nothing for them in terms of intimidation, smarts, or toughness. They seem like a bunch of clowns that decided to do something bad, and just so happened to stumble-upon John McClane “on his vacation”. If you don’t believe me, there’s actually a scene where one of the main villains dance in front of John and his son, only to show how intimidating and cool he can be. That’s right: HE DANCES! If Hans Gruber could come back alive and have a thing or change about these rusty Ruskies, he’d fucking shoot ’em down, one-by-one, and help John back to safety. Or, being a true villain in his finest-form, he’d probably off those Ruskies, torture John’s son right in front of him, kill the son, and then kill John before he was half-way tortured to death. That’s just the sick bastard that Hans Gruber was and watching a bunch of bums like these in this movie; I missed the guy a shit-load.
I’m still in shock that I didn’t like John McClane.
Consensus: People going into A Good Day to Die Hard and expecting another fan-favorite of the franchise, are going to be more than disappointed: they’re going to be outright pissed-off. And to be honest, I don’t blame them. Everything that you would want from a Die Hard movie is barely here, except for a couple of quick-quips that are funny and action set-pieces that catch your eye, but that’s just about it. Be ready to be upset, people.
As a regular, action movie to see on a boring night or day: 5 / 10 = Rental!!
As a Die Hard movie: 0. 5 / 10 = Crapola!!