Thursday, July 10, 2014

MR A Good Day to Die Hard

John McClane is back! But at what price...

Die Hard Another Day in these classic Eyz reviews!

Movie: A Good Day to Die Hard or simply known as Die Hard 5
Directed by John Moore
Release date 2013
Genre Action
Country USA

2013 marked a return of old school 1980s action films to the big screen.

Several old school action movie stars return to the silver screen at the same time. Not only did we get Stallone AND Schwarzie back with simultaneous releases with Bullet to the Head and The Last Stand respectively, but we also got to see Bruce Willis take on his cult classic role of John McClane for the 5th time with A Good Day to Die Hard!

But things didn't end up as well as planned...

I feared the worst when Max Payne director John Moore was attached to the project (who is just as bad as Len Wiseman was in my eyes). But then it got worst when Skip Woods was confirmed to write the film.

Let it be said right away, I'm pretty sure most issues fall on screenwriter Skip Woods who was also responsible for such movies as Hitman (!!) or X-Men Origins: Wolverine... Yeah, "classics" alright.

Die Hard 5 was the first film to have actually been written from its inception to be "a Die Hard movie". In the past the series was mostly made from re-purposed scrapped projects (and that worked out brilliantly for Die Hard and Die Hard with a Vengeance). And strangely enough, Live Free or Die Hard was inspired by a news article. A Good Day to Die Hard is the only "original" Die Hard to date.

When it started production, it was originally titled "Die Hard 24/7" which led to some confusion and rumors that it was going to be a crossover with the TV series 24 for some reason. (Why? Are general Die Hard fans this dumb? the way 20th Century Fox made the film certainly would make you think so..)

The film would this time follow McClane thrown in yet another crazy scenario. Following the building, airport, New York City and the entire Washington state (in what I call the "blockbuster sequels" syndrome, getting always bigger and louder) John would now find his way into Russia! And we're not talking "just" Moscow or something like that, but our hero would end up in (the obligatory) Chernobyl in Ukraine (that means about 975 km/605 miles from where the movie starts, which should take about ~12 hours of non-stop driving!!).

This DH episode stars Bruce Willis, the most expressive and emotive actor ever Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, a returning lovely Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Yulia Sniger, Rasha Bukvic and Cole Hauser.

Our movie begins with a quick scene with Lucy McClane (since they couldn't manage to get Holly's character back...). The McClane sort of lost contact with the son, Jack, who is definitively not the same little kid in pajamas from the '88 original we last saw in front of a TV . Now all-grown up, Jack McClane is working for the CIA.

John accepts to go to Russia to get his estranged son back who was apparently imprisoned for some reason.. thing is, HE didn't knew his son was actually now a CIA operative! Shenanigans ensue~

It takes 10 minutes for John to arrive in Russia and another 10 more minutes he's already in the middle of an all-out action scene in the middle of traffic, gunning down bad guys in the middle of civilians and having already found his son.

Gone are the days of proper tension of the original film...

John blows up his cover and the entire operation and is forced along a ride, one thing is sure he's not properly invested in this entire story.

A Russian dissident was put on trial for the murder of an official. Something about Jack's CIA agent partner killed in action, the CIA inserting him in there to get the guy in custody... Turns out this whole kidnapping is a smokescreen for a nuclear-weapon heist, which turns out to be a simple robbery as per Die Hard tradition.

There's a lot of Russian henchman we never get to know by anything than nicknames (the shirtless guy, the bearded guy, the guy with glasses,..). Our hostage Yuri turns out to be something more, there's some conspiracies regarding this whole case.

And McClane won't stop reminding us and any character he encounters he's just "on fucking vacation", as Willis repeats this through the entire film (hoping to turn that into another memorable Die Hard catchphrase? fat chance!).

The father-son duo have to put their differences aside to save the day!

They kill a ton of "scumbags" from one place to another. And it turns out this character Yuri's daughter, Irina (Yuliya Snigir), is apparently working with the baddies (because since the Die Hard videogames we always get a femme fatale in there).

There's barely any plot! Lots of action scenes following one another... It just seems to barely make any sense and we're far from the intelligent coherent plot of the original Die Hard trilogy...  

I'm glad Chernobyl made the cut. It certainly has its place in this crazy insane nonsensical Die Hard sequel. As everyone knows, when you run out with ideas, use old ideas! And Chernobyl is a place where "evil lurks" in many Hollywood films trying to take place in Russia (despite, you know, Chernobyl not actually being in Russia...).

Our mastermind villains go there to retrieve uranium or something else to pursue some obscure evil schemes and whatnot...

The film tries to go for the whole military/political aspect of DH2. And fails completely.

Problem is the series is starting to feel like a bad parody of itself over the years.

I have many of the same problems I had with part 4. The film just feels like your generic done-by-the-numbers lackluster flick. With bad dialogue. Wooden acting. Overuse of CGi.

It just feels like without John McClane on the picture this would have just worked the same as this generic dumb direct-to-video action flick.

Our iconic hero John McClane has now completely transformed into a full-on one many army, dispensing bad one liners left and right (going back to its roots when the first Die Hard was going to be a Commando sequel?).

And in the end just how many laws did he break himself? But that's not important, as it always turn out John McClane is always right.

Nothing makes much sense. Our heroes gun down villains in these mostly deserted streets of Moscow. All this to end up miles away in Chernobyl just in time for the big dumb final act...

The idea to introduce Jack McClane was probably fairly decent at first... but his son just seems to end up Rob Schneider-ing the entire film!

But it's not all bad! The film features some fairly decent loud action scenes, such as the impressive (but way too long) car chase through Moscow. I think it was probably directed well enough, but it was just so badly horribly edited...

It's the most over-the-top far-fetched Die Hard film to date. There's never any true tension or sense of danger for McClane.

Jai Courtney's wooden acting is probably even made worse because the film is trying to take this occasion to seemingly pass the torch to the son to take over John McClane's Die Hard franchise... Willis appears to not be having much fun and every scene screams like he's here just for the paycheck. At least Bruce is always fun and charismatic enough to watch whenever he's on screen doing nothing.

On the plus side this episode contains a ton of little allusions and references to the past films (and strangely enough, way too many from Live Free or Die Hard...). Sentences, shots lifted from past episodes and the Moscow car chase appears to be a sort of revamp of the one from DH4 (and this new film seems to draw a lot from its overall plot, the trip to Chernobyl just as silly as the drive all over the state of Washington).

The franchise clearly lost its identity and charm over the years, now a mere generic action flick. Trying to mimic the clever writing of the originals with silly plot twists... (that's missing the entire point!)

Every thing just feels so rushed, the film doesn't take any time introducing any of these characters or this scenario. Gone are the intelligent thrillers from a decade or two ago. Die Hard 5 is a very stupid film that doesn't feel at all like a Die Hard movie anymore, John McClane is no more an average Joe defeating well-prepared criminals with his wits. He's a superhero now.

At least it sort of-kept the way these films contained some a western approach, how to some extend John is a cowboy fighting for good by himself, always forced to play sheriff to put a stop to these big heists and robberies gone wrong.

But there's way too many explosions to let any of this out.

This new film was this time an hard R-Rated action film, but that's not necessary a good thing. The film doesn't know the word "subtle" like the original series, everything is loud here and way over-the-top and violent for the sake of violence - that's not "mature" in my eyes! (just compare this villain's death to Gruber!)

The villains are not charismatic and just a foot note. They tried to copy the traditional twist of all these DH movies leading us to believe these mercenaries or terrorists are in it for revenge when it's actually a cover for an heist. The direction really ruins it for me: shaky cams, loads of lens flare, useless filters.. It was on the same level of Die Hard 4 but made worse because how stupid and forgettable the entire experience was.

And the movie closes on the worst, cheesiest dispensable "Happy" epilogue I've ever seen. There's a reason why it was finally cut on home release...

The best aspect of this entire production is probably its great music. Marco Beltrami's efforts thi time made for much better compositions than he previously did on Die Hard 4. Much closer to Michael Kamen's original scores, like a mash-up of all three original DH films with the same overall tone, many cues back, with a much louder action-oriented approach. Which matches the decline of the series into mindless action flicks. It's just lacking any proper classic symphonic piece or some Russian motifs thrown in there. The opening uses a similar theme as past Die Hard films. And we just get a return of "Ode to Joy" a few seconds to announce this film's main villain at some point.

Overall, it was an okay movie but not a great Die Hard film by a long shot.

The series finally made its total conversion from the original film which was a fantastic well-crafted tight intelligent thriller film to the now-pure action film they are.

There's probably only one and only good thing to come out from this whole film, and it's that A Good Day to Die Hard is (thankfully) a pretty short film. 

Very amateursih-filmed. Some great action scenes.

The Die Hard series started with one of the greatest "action" films ever made, followed with a satisfying and fun Die Hard 2, a very smart and impressive Die Hard with a Vengeance worthy of the original a pretty generic modern generic Bruce Willis film with Live Free or Die Hard and is now just a lazy, boring lackluster entry with A Good Day To Die Hard... How the might have fallen...

Moore is a pretty bad director, who managed to insert every single bad film techniques used nowadays, all compiled in a single motion picture feature.. Shaky cams, way too many closeups, quick cuts, quick zooms, blue filter, lens flares... And don't you compare a few natural lens flares from the original Die Hard with these digitally post-production added ones!

The father-daughter villain duo could have been fun had the movie used a much better script and ideas...

Despite all that I still enjoy the series very much and this was the kind of movie that left me wanting for another and much better Die Hard film. But I fear the worst with Die Hard 6, with two bad films this second Die Hard trilogy has been such a let down so far...

I would say I prefer it slightly over Die Hard 4, mostly because it feels like a remake of several ideas from part 4. John travels all over the place for his daughter/son and some bad guy is trying to make a point... but actually steal a load of cash as usual. Oh, and they fight some female henchman and we don't get to see Reginald VelJohnson again...

Like Die Hard 4 before it, Die Hard 5 suffers from an amateursih direction and a very, very bad unmemorable main villain lacking any true motivation nor insitgating any fear in us.

If you were looking for a good modern Die Hard film, I'd suggest having a look at White House Down instead. Heck, even The Fifth Element embraced the entire formula much better and that was a space opera film!

I give it:
1 / 3 Films!

No comments:

Post a Comment