A Good Day to Die Hard: Basically enjoyable but leaves me wanting more
When Die Hard came out in 1988, it ended up defining a generation of action movies. But as with all evolution, one generation must give way for the next, and in 2002 The Bourne Identity did just that.
So here we have the classic action series Die Hard continuing to kick butt in an action world now defined by The Bourne Identity. And there's definitely aspects of Bourne present. Some shaky-cam. A prolonged car chase scene. But the story—and definitely the character of John McClane—are still classic Die Hard.
But first, the story ...
John McClane (Bruce Willis), having apparently stopped all crime in America over the four previous movies, heads to Russia for a new challenge.
Or, actually, what really happens is that he has lost touch with his son, Jack (Jai Courtney). He gets word of something Jack got caught up with in Russia and he heads out there to see what he could do.
Arriving in the country, things almost immediately go south. McClaine and his son end up with a political prisoner—Komarov (Sebastian Koch)—and a team of highly trained soldiers on their tail.
If you're at all familiar with the normal Die Hard story lines, you'll understand if I don't give more information than that.
Check out these other Die Hard titles
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As I look back at my experience of watching the movie, the first thing that stands out to me is that it really moves fast. First off, at 97 minutes, it's the only Die Hard movie that comes in under 2 hours. For another action movie, it'd probably be fine. But when I suddenly realized we were already about half-way through the final action sequence, it felt like we were about one action-sequence short for a Die Hard movie.
Other than that, I enjoyed it. Pretty much.
It's not the most compelling of the series, but it's okay. However, depending on how serious a fan of the series you are, you may end up wanting more.
Now, there's plenty of John McClane being John McClane, and I can never complain about Bruce Willis doing his thing. But I ended up wanting more. They didn't even really need to do much different. Just more.
As always, there's some personal aspect to the conflict that pulls John McClane forward: his relationship with his son. And a personal aspect to the conflict will cover a multitude of story issues.
For instance, are we to seriously believe that John McClane just accidentally walks into yet another major terrorist event?
But it's all about helping his son, so we automatically accept it, root for him, and move on.
Oh, and do you remember those two big action set pieces in Live Free or Die Hard? The one where McClane drives a car into a helicopter and the jet attack on the highway ramp? This movie does have action sequences that are a bit more realistic. They're overblown action as always, but they don't draw as much attention to themselves as ridiculously implausible.
In the end, it's an okay movie. One that I enjoyed and will probably eventually own. But as an entry in the Die Hard series, it really should end up being more than okay.
But what do you think?
For me, this one gets a 5 / 10. (I could have given it a better rating if they simply had one more good action sequence.)
A Good Day to Die Hard is rated R for action violence, language and a very brief bit of sensuality.