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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Blu-Ray Review: "A Good Day To Die Hard"



Let me start by saying "I love the Die Hard movies."  I have seen them countless times and have owned them all on DVD and now Blu-Ray discs.  So when I saw the trailer for "A Good Day To Die Hard" I was very excited to say the least.  John McClane in Russia!  That's a great fish out of water premise.

That said... 

Here comes a SPOILER filled review to insure that no one wastes any money seeing this movie.  I want fans to erase it from their memory as if it never existed like one of those bad Halloween sequels because trust me "A Good Day To Die Hard" is one of the worst sequels ever made.

The makers of this film just didn't care.  

Fox Studios, Screenwriter Skip Woods, Director John Moore and sadly, even Bruce Willis! 

The whole creative team went into the making of this film knowing that people would go see anything that bared the "Die Hard" name and to their credit... they were right because "A Good Day To Die Hard" grossed over 300 million dollars worldwide!  

That's a lot of moviegoers getting sucked in for 1 viewing because I can't imagine anyone going back for a 2nd look.

So where does the film go wrong?  That questions would take too long to answer because frankly there's not much in this movie that goes right.  Mindless dialogue, over the top unrealistic car chases and action sequences, zero chemistry between the leads.  

The father son relationship is 100% banter.  Not one real moment of peril or affection between McClane and his son and the blame for that falls firmly on the script.  Jai Courtney plays John McClane's estranged son Jack. Courtney who was so good playing a bad guy in "Jack Reacher" has virtually nothing to do here.  His character's main purpose is to just run, shoot and be pissed off at his old man whenever guns aren't blazing.  

The villain... 

Absolutely terrible.  After Alan Rickman, Willaim Sadler & Franco Nero, Jeremy Irons and Timothy Oliphant we get... Radivoje Bukvic. The character Bukvic portrays is so devoid of any personality or menace that the filmmakers thought it would be cool if he was chomping on a carrot in his big "Now what are you going to do" speech.  How do you write a villain eating a carrot into a scene and not have McClane crack wise?  "What's up Dick" come on!!  The smart ass McClane quips write themselves come to think of it Bugs Bunny is more threatening than bad guy #1.

Sequels...

Most of the time people view sequels as just throw away popcorn fare and don't really take them seriously.  Once a franchise gets past anything with a number 3 in the title moviegoers expectations are usually lowered and time has proven that sequels are never as good as the originals.  However... I felt the Die Hard franchise, up until now, was pretty solid.  The first 3 films are great and "Live Free Or Die Hard" was a fun movie too.  Sure it strayed a little from the normal John McClane outing and the action sequences were a little more "unbelievable" and yet that film still worked because the essence of John McClane was still intact.  

What the Die Hard series needs to do the next time is to emulate what Paramount has done with the "Mission: Impossible" series.  Stay true to the characters, have a great script, a great director and make the spectacle bigger and better than before.  The difference between the "Die Hard" series and the "Mission: Impossible" series is that Paramount and Tom Cruise care!  They care about making a good movie and giving the audience their moneys worth.  "Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol" should be held up as a template on how to make a GREAT sequel.  "Ghost Protocol" has humor, intrigue and some of the best action sequences ever committed to film PLUS it's got an actor who is willing to do the stunts which makes the action that much more believable.

A message to FOX...

If Fox decides to make "Die Hard 6" I hope they go old school.  My 24 year-old nephew Kyle, who also writes for this site, had a great idea so allow me to flesh it out a bit...

I now present "Old Habits Die Hard" (Kyle's title).  

We start on Christmas Eve at the McClane residence in New Jersey.  The entire family is there... John and Holly are back together, Lucy is married and pregnant and Jack's wife has a brand new baby girl.  This will be the best Christmas John McClane has had in quite a while.  The family finishes eating an early Christmas Eve feast because the now retired Patriarch and workaholic John McClane has to work a night shift at his new security desk job.  He traded shifts so that the new young guard could spend Christmas eve and Christmas day with his wife and 3 year-old twin girls something John McClane wishes he could have done in his 30's.  That's right folks we are coming full circle and "Old Habits Die Hard" will once again take place in a high rise building this time in the Big Apple.  What McClane stumbles onto that fateful night remains to be seen but rest assured fans would love this franchise to end on a high note.  

So Fox... do yourself a favor and call on a couple of un-produced screenwriters who are 100% "Die Hard" fans.  One's in his 20's the other in his 40's.  I promise you we could write a more fitting tribute to the legacy of "John McClane" than the bastardization that is currently being viewed in the home video market.

Drumroll please...  2 out of 10 Yippe Ki-Yays!!!

The only reason this film doesn't get a 0 is because I liked the first scene of McClane and the Russian cab driver and Willis as John McClane makes me smile even if it's just for 1 scene.



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