A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) Review

Short Review: No, it isn’t.

Longer Review: It’s come to this in the Die Hard series: Whereas in the first Die Hard (1988), glass was real and dangerous (John McClane having to run over it and being wounded by it was a major plot point), in today’s Die Hard (2013), McClane and his son throw themselves through at least 6 enormous sheets of glass throughout the film without suffering so much as a scratch.

Also, to take this movie at its word, the CIA, one of the most powerful organizations in the world, is staffed by petulant knuckleheads with daddy issues. If you don’t mind that, you won’t mind this feature. It really isn’t as bad as everyone says.

But shame on you, director John Moore. Shame, shame, shame. You are the worst perpetrator of “shaky cam” I’ve seen in years. Honestly, I missed the entire first scene with Bruce Willis and his partner because the camera was shaking so badly it looked like someone had wired it to the face of a PA jacked up on ten Red Bulls and Ritalin and I was too busy trying to figure out why. Every slow scene it shakes, every action scene it shakes. It is absurd. Leave your epileptics at home if you dare to see this cinematic paint shaker.

I assume Moore has a low attention span, otherwise there’s no excuse when the film throws us into a 40 minute chase scene following John, his estranged son (Jai Courtney), and Russian commandos in a tank/truck/battering ram without telling us who, what, where, or why we should give a damn.

Gone are the days of John McClane just being a rough around the edges cop in the wrong place at the right time. The first Die Hard was a clever, fun movie, a seminal action movie. And this is generic, directionless drivel. (That must be it; the camera is shaking so badly because it’s looking for John Moore.) McClane is now exactly as competent and bulletproof as the movie needs him to be. Bruce Willis does seem to be enjoying himself, but the real John McClane is dead. He died in the arms of a Newark hooker in 1996, strung out on booze and cheap pills and mumbling something about Roy Rogers. Bruce Willis is playing Bruce Willis is here for the paycheck, in a Bruce Willis is here for his paycheck production.

Glass, radiation, rebar sticking out of your guts, bullet wounds, gravity, these things are of little consequence. So’s the movie.

Yippee-ki-yay, Mister falcon.

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Directed by John Moore
20th Century Fox
97 Minutes

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4 Comments on A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) Review

  1. I read somewhere that Bruce Willis goes out of his way to use his stardom to give chances to new, young directors, like Pulp Fiction era Quentin Tarantino and whoever did Looper. He also insisted that any new Die Hard movies not rehash the old ones, hence the reason this movie is set in Russia as opposed to being a calvacade of lame callbacks ala American Reunion. So I feel like he has good intentions, unfortunately no one else involved in this movie did; and, deep in the throes of senility, Bruce just said words that they cut together without noticing how horribly this whole thing was turning out. Seriously, this movie has nothing to do with Die Hard, at all.

    • That’s my main beef exactly. This really isn’t a Die Hard movie, which is ironic because at least the first 3 Die Hard movies started as other projects (first one was a Commando sequel and third one was a Lethal Weapon sequel, I believe). John McClane was such a fun character but he was never meant to be franchised. Die Hard’s one of my favorite movies, which is why I take such offense to this otherwise harmless effort. And I think that first one still holds a warm, exploding place in a lot of people’s hearts, hence all the public vitriol.

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