Written by Skip Woods
Directed by John Moore
Starring Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch
Lucy: Dad, just try not to make an even bigger mess of things.
I can’t imagine any day where it would be a good idea to die quite this hard. The fifth installment in the DIE HARD series is so far removed from what the original film embodied and also so cheaply made by comparison, that I feel like John McClane may have killed off more than just a bunch of faceless Russians in A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. Thanks to Skip Woods’s witless screenplay and John Moore’s complete lack of direction, John McClane may have also killed off any chances of his character ever returning to the screen again. The bad news here is that he goes out in a blaze of nothing that resembles glory, while the good news is that this just may be for the best.
Do you know what was apparently horribly amiss from the DIE HARD series before now? Overwrought and completely uncharacteristic sentimentality. McClane, once again played by the now 57 years old, Bruce Willis, is reintroduced to us as a father getting on in years, who is taking stock of how he has treated the important people in his life. His son, Jack (Jai Courtney) has apparently lost his way and gotten into crime and drugs half way across the world. So McClane decides to right the wrongs of his past and make things right with his son. After all, if it weren’t for his own absence as a father, perhaps his son would have turned out better than he did. Little does McClane know though, his son turned out just fine. He is an undercover CIA operative working in Russia to thwart a nuclear plot. So when McClane goes to Russia to get him, he just gets in the way and makes a mess of everything. Typical John McClane!
I didn’t think things could get much worse after LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD but I have been sorely proven wrong. Woods’s (THE A-TEAM) script reduces McClane to a comical old man who is more concerned about talking his feelings than shooting up the bad guys. He does plenty of the latter too but it’s hard to take him seriously when he is constantly reminding us that he is on vacation, as if he were Danny Glover’s Murtaugh in LETHAL WEAPON repeating how he is too old for this shit all the time. (And how is going to Russia to collect your estranged and embattled son a vacation exactly?) Moore (THE OMEN) then takes us through a bunch of start and stop action that is heavy on the cartoonish bad guys and even heavier on the elaborate yet unbelievable car crashes. My conclusion after a scant and telling 93-minute run time, A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is barely passable, mostly laughable and amounts to nothing more than a strong argument to put this franchise out of its misery.