2013-02-16

A Good Day to Die Hard – Time This Franchise Finally Died

by Yo Snyder

A Good Day to Die Hard
is not John McClane’s finest day. In fact, it probably ranks among his worst;
right there with Die Hard 2: Die Harder.
John McClane is always a fun character, but even Bruce Willis seems to be
getting a little tired of this schtick, and if anything this fifth entry just
shows that perhaps the series should have retired a couple of movie ago. Still,
there is some fun to be had here, and some occasional thrills, but five movies
in and the thrill of yippie-kai-yay isn’t quite as enthusiastic as it once was.

This is a very slim movie. Clocking in at just over an hour
and half, it’s feature animation length, and the sad thing is maybe even that
was too long. When I saw the length of the movie and added in the fact that it’s
being released in February, I have to say my expectations were set very low.
Neither are really good signs for any sort of potential blockbuster, and the
fact that this Die Hard was being released the second week of February
apparently had the makers conceding that it just wasn’t up to snuff to compete
with other summer flicks. That’s a strong vote of no confidence; one that was apparently
accurate.

Still, this being a Die Hard movie, it does have its
enjoyable moments. It has a solid car chase to open things up at the beginning,
and a good explosive end which still doesn’t pack as much punch as it should.
It has some witty one-liners and funny moments, but that’s mostly what the feel
like; a bunch of moments and ideas that never really finds a well to gel together
as a solid story. These are the left-overs, the scraps of the Die Hard
franchise that someone decided should at least get some screen time.

A perfect illustration of the problems with this film is the
shirtless Russian. There’s this one bad guy who’s totally ripped, looks very
menacing, and one would think would play a key part of the finale. After all,
every Die Hard has to have that one big, final fist fight where John McClaine
gets severely knocked around but somehow finds a way to win in the end. I was
waiting for the Russian version of this when a randomly placed grenade went
BOOM, and the moment was gone. Wait, this
is
a Die Hard film, right? Doesn’t it know what it’s supposed to do?
Apparently not. That, and the final bad guys die for pretty much no reason. It’s
a cool final sequence, but it still felt like the writers weren’t sure what to
do with the left-over characters, so they tossed them in a helicopter and had
it crash and explode for no compelling reason whatsoever just to wrap things
up. Not satisfying. Not very Die Hard.

One of the few good moments has John McClane reflecting to
himself, “The things we do for our kids,” right before he drives a truck out of
the back of a helicopter (so John McClane). It’s a moment that got me thinking
about how true that is; parents will do all sorts of crazy things for their
kids. Why? Because of love. Love makes us do crazy things, take crazy risks.
Just look at what God, the Heavenly Father, did for all of his kid, you and I.
He was willing to have his one and only son, Jesus, take our place, take our
punishment and die on a cross just for us. He did it because he loved us. To
us, the cross looks like a something really crazy; for God it was the ultimate
symbol of love and exactly what lengths true love would go to for the object of
its love. Parent do some crazy things out of love for their kids, just look at
John McClane, but God did the craziest thing of all, and all because he loves
you so much he wouldn’t let you go without a fight, no matter the cost.

A Good Day to Die Hard
is definitely a Die Hard movie, but it’s not the best one. The best Die Hards
had a great villain (typically the Grubers). This Die Hard can’t decide who
they want the villain to be. There are too many twists and fake-outs for its
own good. It feels like someone decided that if McClane had a happy ending
with his daughter, he should at least have one with his son as well, and so
they threw together this Die Hard movie. Well, that’s all fine. It was kind of
fun to see ol’ John one more time doing what he does best, but it’s probably
best that he retire for now.

Score: 4 of 7 – The movie’s rated R because John swears like sailor, just as he always has. Also a brief flash of some flesh, and some blood.