It’s impossible to resist the urge to jog your memory back to the first Die Hard film, as you sit there in your seat allowing your senses to be relentlessly assaulted by A Good Day To Die Hard.
In that 1988 film, Bruce Willis’ maverick NYPD cop John McClane scuttled the plans of a band of ruthless European terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper, and a franchise was born. 25 years later, in this fifth installment of the high-octane action series, McClane heads to Moscow when he learns that his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) has been arrested for murder. Turns out the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. The kid isn’t a write-off, but a CIA agent on a sensitive mission to protect an enemy of the state from a corrupt government official. Predictably, Dad jumps in to offer his services, and before you know it, they’re standing side by side, guns blazing, bullets flying, and “scumbags” falling like flies.
The sorry excuse for a script neither has a plot that makes much sense, nor action that feels real or tense, so it’s difficult to be emotionally invested in the characters or in what’s going on on screen. Sure there are car chases, huge explosions, helicopter crashes, and never-ending gun fights, but it’s all such a blur because it has a videogame-like monotony to it.
Stripped of his cheeky one-liners and anything that resembles a personality, Bruce Willis comes off a spoof of the John McClane we once knew, and Jai Courtney is plain bland as Jr. The film also lacks a compelling villain, whose presence might have brought a real sense of danger to the proceedings.
I’m going with one-and-a-half out of five for A Good Day To Die Hard. Aside from the typical jokes about McClane’s ageing, there’s little else that’ll make you smile here.