Detective John McClane is terribly unlucky. He happens to be the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time for the 5th time of asking, in the latest of the Die Hard movies to hit cinemas this week.
In “A Good Day To Die Hard”, Bruce Willis (McClane) flies to Russia, where his seemingly wayward son Jack (Jai Courtney) has been arrested for murder. McClane soon discovers his son works for the CIA, on an undercover mission to prevent a nuclear weapons heist in Chernobyl, and they spend the rest of the movie trying to take out every bad guy in Russia to achieve this. Luckily for them, all of the radiation fallout in Chernobyl has disappeared, otherwise this film would have been even shorter than the already short ninety-seven minutes.
If we jump back to 1988, the whole success behind the original Die Hard was that it was believable. It was believable that a low tech, average human being could defeat a criminal mastermind genius and a handful of his henchmen using simple brains and the odd weapon. Jump ahead to Die Hard 5, and this simple concept has been totally forgotten. It’s sadly turned into a typical, standard action film, where our hero uses every gun ever made, to shoot every bad guy in existence, whilst everything around him explodes, and gets little more than a small bullet graze to the arm or leg (delete as appropriate). Without doubt, Russian Terrorists need to urgently review their recruitment policy, to include some form of target practice in the initial stages of the process, as none of the four hundred or so bad guys that get whacked come anywhere near to shooting a McClane.
As an all out action film, there are plenty of high quality chase sequences and gun fights to keep adrenaline junkies happy, including a superbly sequenced gun battle in a giant ballroom. Seventy percent of the film’s budget seems to have been spent on buying cars to smash up, as the initial chase sequence sees about twenty thousand cars destroyed. Mind you, from looking at videos on Youtube, this seems like a normal day on Russia’s highways.
The dialogue is typically cheesy for an all out American action film, and the swearing has been toned down considerably to make this a 12A rated film. In fact, Bruce’s trademark line “Yipee Kay Yay Mother F***er” is so poorly edited, you can barely make it out. If you try to look past the cheesy dialogue, it’s difficult to remember if anything sensible is actually said, apart from the family soap opera dialogue between Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney, as father attempts to heal the wounds between him and his son, whilst various evil Russian terrorists try to make a whole load of new ones.
The idea of evil Russian Terrorists trying to steal weapons grade plutonium seems to have been borrowed from about 1982, so the film feels very dated and clichéd from the outset. It’s almost as if Director John Moore is simply going through the motions, simply to churn out another money-making Die Hard movie. Bruce Willis at times also seems to be going through the motions, and seems tired of playing the all action cop in another movie.
When we saw Bruce Willis surfing on the back of a supersonic fighter jet in Die Hard 4, the film just became laughable and at the same time forgettable. This time round, director John Moore decides that it would be much more believable to have him hanging one-armed out of the back of an armoured vehicle which is dangling from a chain out of the back of a giant helicopter, spinning helplessly out of control. It sadly seems that the director has not learnt anything from his predecessor.
In conclusion, Die Hard 5 is poor. Yes, there are a few good action sequences, but poor dialogue, nondescript bad guys and a thin story make this a forgettable return to the Die Hard series. If you take Bruce Willis out of Die Hard 5 – which to be fair the Russians spent ninety-seven minutes trying to do – the film becomes a run of the mill, CGI laden shoot em up like every other run of the mill, CGI laden shoot-em-up that hits the cinema every week. But add the title ‘Die Hard’ to the film, and it will inevitably draw crowds of loyal fans to the screens. Sadly, Die hard 5 is probably two Die Hards too many. It’s a good day to stop making anymore.
Review by Christian Orr
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Christian Orr. Likes Films. Likes writing. Likes writing about films. Is the kind of guy who runs into burning buildings instead of out of them. Head of Site Security (he has a badge and everything)