A Good Day to Die Hard Directed by John Moore
Written by Skip Woods
Starring: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, Yuliya Snigir 20th Century Fox
Rated R | 97 Minutes
Release Date: February 14th, 2013
“Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Russia.”
Directed by John Moore (Max Payne), A Good Day to Die Hard sees former police detective and all-around bad-ass John McClane (Bruce Willis) travel to Moscow to retrieve his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney), a CIA operative who has been detained after a botched mission.
Jack’s mission is to recover political prisoner and government whistleblower Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) before he’s executed by Chagaran (Sergei Kolesnikov), a corrupt, high-ranking government official. Father and son must put aside their personal and professional differences, and work together to stop the Moscow underworld from obtaining enriched weapons-grade uranium – or something.
A Good Day to Die Hard is the fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise and a sequel to Len Wiseman’s ridiculous 2007 film, Live Free or Die Hard. It’s difficult for me to even consider Die Hard a ‘series’ of movies. As far as I’m concerned, there’s only one Die Hard – John McTiernan’s 1988 film, arguably the greatest action flick of all time. John McClane travels to Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife at a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza when – all of a sudden – Hans Gruber and his gang of terrorists seize control and take hostages.
Die Hard is a standalone story – John McClane isn’t part of some anti-terrorism unit, he’s just a New York cop who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Unlike Indiana Jones or James Bond, John McClane doesn’t go on ‘expeditions’ or ‘missions’ – he’s a regular guy. It’s absurd to think that, every time he walks outside, McClane ends up fighting terrorists and thwarting a plot to destroy the United States. But sure enough, that’s exactly what happens.
John Moore has directed some doozies in his day, his filmography reads like a list of Razzie award winners: Behind Enemy Lines, Flight of the Phoenix, The Omen (2006), and most recently, Max Payne. Here’s a fun bit of trivia for you: John Moore was initially considered to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, but was ultimately passed over in favor of Brett Ratner. That’s right, someone actually preferred Ratner’s work to Moore’s.
It isn’t all Moore’s fault, though. A Good Day to Die Hard writer Skip Woods has made his fair share of failures too, including X-Men Origins: Wolverine, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Hitman, and Swordfish. This script feels like it’s been sitting on a shelf for decades; an ancient Mad Libs sheet where Skip Woods filled in all the blanks with “John McClane” and “Yippee-ki-yay Motherfucker!”
The question for me is “Why?” Why would you hire these two guys to make a movie, unless you had zero concern for what the finished product would be? 20th Century Fox doesn’t give a shit if A Good Day to Die Hard is actually a good movie – they know all they need is Bruce Willis’s mug on a poster and the words “die” and “hard” somewhere in the title and they’ll make money.
And so we go through the motions yet again – old man McClane (born of Krypton, apparently) survives one preposterous action sequence after another, delivering stale one-liners to a gaggle of stereotypical Russian bad guys. John McClane isn’t really in this Die Hard movie – a bald Bruce Willis is – and those are two very different things.
What’s next? The Man Who Died Too Hard? Or perhaps, In Space No One Can Hear You Die Hard? If we’re going to completely ignore who John McClane is as a character, we might as well shoot him into space like Pinhead or Jason Voorhees for the obligatory “in space” entry in the franchise.
A Good Day to Die Hard isn’t fun – it isn’t even “so bad it’s good” – it’s just bad. If you rolled your eyes when Indiana Jones survived an atomic blast by locking himself inside a lead-lined refrigerator, you may have an aneurism when John McClane shoots his way through Chernobyl without a gas mask and survives a thermonuclear explosion by taking cover behind a column.
Hell, even Robert Rodriguez’s Machete is a more plausible action movie, with a fully-realized main character and some memorable bad guys…and that movie is about a machete-wielding Mexican day-laborer who, at one point, uses a man’s intestines as a rope to swing to safety.
I have absolutely no interest in watching these kinds of dumb, pointless movies. Live Free or Die Hard. The Expendables. The Last Stand. Bullet to the Head. These kinds of brainless shoot’em ups just can’t cut it anymore. With well-crafted, action-packed movies like The Dark Knight, Skyfall, The Raid: Redemption, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, I can’t think of one single reason to enjoy a thoughtless cash-grab like A Good Day to Die Hard.
Then again…the more I think about In Space No One Can Hear You Die Hard, the more I like it. 127-year-old John McClane in a blood-splattered space suit with a plasma rifle, blasting away aliens and space pirates.
PS: If you’re still debating on whether you should see this movie, allow me to provide you with a handy SAT-style analogy: Live Free or Die Hard is to Daredevil as A Good Day to Die Hard is to Elektra.