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A Good Day To Die Hard - DVD Review

A Good Day To Die Hard

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 1 out of 5

YOU expect diminishing returns from movie sequels nowadays but, thus far, the Die Hard franchise has retained a certain quality, even if the principals that made the original such a classic have long since gone.

Unfortunately, with fifth film A Good Day To Die Hard the series has completely lost the plot.

Directed by John Moore from a script (and I use that term advisedly) from Skip Woods, this latest instalment feels like a desperate case of franchise flogging that really ought never to have been made.

When his estranged son (Jai Courtney) finds himself in trouble in Russia, John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to Moscow to see if he can help, prompting bickering father and son to have to team up to prevent terrorists with a nuclear agenda.

There are attempts at twists, plenty of explosive action and a smattering of the usual McClane quips but, sadly, this particular Die Hard endeavour still feels like a lost cause.

The decision to transfer the action to Moscow backfires spectacularly, both in terms of how much it departs from the original claustrophobic feel of John McTiernan’s original and the way in which it uses outdated American might over Russian thuggery.

You could be forgiven for thinking you were watching a sequel to Red Heat more than a Die Hard movie, or a bad James Bond movie or a sub-standard episode of 24 given how much this film borrows from.

Worse still, this entry lacks a convincing villain – one of the biggest assets the franchise has had ever since Alan Rickman provided McClane with such a wily first adversary.

The action, when it comes, is usually so over the top as to be absurd and is way too CGI-reliant during the latter stages, while Moore forgets to inject any sense of tension or peril into proceedings, meaning that the fate of either of its main protagonists is never in doubt.

Admittedly, a lengthy car chase early on does offer some guilty pleasure value and is the closest thing to inventive the film gets – but even then, some of the crash choreography bears the hallmarks of Bourne, while Goldeneye has previously laid waste to Russia.

The film cannot even be saved by Willis’s trademark charisma as Woods’ script gives the leading man so little to work. Instead, it’s content to trot out patronising, movie formula father-son bonding scenes that simply get under your skin.

Courtney, for his part, acquits himself well physically but – again – is given little or no chance to biuld a believable character given the poor quality of that script (he made a far better impression in Jack Reacher).

Hence, speaking as a long-term Die Hard fan who has found plenty to enjoy in all four movies to this point, this fifth entry’s abject failure to tick any of the right boxes was all the more crushing.

For McClane and company, it’s now a good day to hang up the vest on this particular franchise.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 97mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: June 10, 2013