Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

A Good Day to Die Hard


A Good Day to Die Hard works fine as a run-of-the-mill action flick. The story is easy to follow, the action is frequent, and there are a lot of cool smash-em up visuals. Though I must admit I felt bad for the innocent civilian drivers who got decimated during the big car chase scene. The action scenes were filmed with some visual flare, such as the shot where the two McLean’s are falling from level to level with the helicopter. And on a basic, surface level I enjoyed the film. And watching it in Imax with that incredible surround sound didn’t hurt either.

However, when a movie is part of a franchise it also has to be judged on a level of different standards. Does it do the previous films justice? Is it constant is story and tone? And on these levels I hate to admit that Die Hard 5 simply fails.

Why? The biggest reason is that it is far too self-aware. It verges on parody territory. It keeps making obvious references to the first film, like the glass being shot out and “its always about money”, etc. And Willis is just coasting on the reputation of John McClean rather than action sinking into the character again.

Tonally, this film just felt off. It was more of a spy film than a Die Hard film, and the two don’t sync up as well as you may think. Having Willis’ son working for the CIA just seems to lose some footing from the more down-to-earth terrorist stories we have gotten. And yes, I know down-to-earth is a relative term, especially looking at Die Hard 2. But even though Die Hard 2 was ridiculous also, at least it still felt like a Die Hard film.

As a Bruce Willis shoot-em up, this was decent. As a Die Hard film, it was too goofy and too divergent to fit well into the series.

4 Responses to “A Good Day to Die Hard”

  1. It’s a very decent action movie, but a Die Hard movie: it is not. John McClane just bothered the hell out of me here and rarely seemed to be his usual, everyday man self. Good review Ian.

  2. I guess it works ok, if youre giving it the low standards “dumb action film” pass. But I had trouble looking at it that way given the pedigree. This was a real dissapointment to me, I feel like I should have been even harsher with it than I was. 😦

  3. The film would have actually worked much better if they had played up more to the spy vs McClane aspect. His son using gadgets and spy techniques and him being his usual, improvising self. Instead it was just an average action movie, with no real John McClane as all.

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