***Spoiler Warning*** Honestly, I wouldn’t bother with a warning, but since the movie’s out new today, and I do graze some minor plot points, well…***End Warning***
Y’know, I really hadn’t planned to bother going to see A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment in the continuing Die Hard franchise, and I certainly hadn’t planned to write about it, but somehow last night there I was sitting in the theater with it flashing on the screen in front of me, and now, here I am at the keyboard, and so I guess the attitude is sort of “Okay, why not?”
And, I suspect that’s petty much the same attitude that everyone involved brought to making the film, too.
Put succinctly, the movie is exactly what it says on the tin: another Die Hard movie. You’ve got Bruce being Bruce, you’ve got lot’s of stuff blowing up, you’ve got a couple of witty lines, you’ve got the requisite elevator scene, the required “yippee ki yay”, a lot of really clunky dialogue, a couple of twists that at least add a little bit of interest to an otherwise ridiculous narrative, (Chernobyl? Really?) some pretty out there coincidences that exist only to move the plot along, and a cute little wrap-up line that’s actually given away in the trailer.
Actually, it’s not really fair to single out the last line as being given away in the trailer, because this is really one of those cases where if you’ve seen the trailer you’ve pretty much seen the movie. As a matter of fact, I will note this as a positive of the flick – it’s short. The screening I was at was scheduled for 10pm, but due to a number of delays, it was right around 10:30 when I wandered into the theater, and because of the astounding number of trailers preceding it, the movie had still only just begun (really, take your time getting there, there’s no rush about it) and even given that, I was still headed back out before midnight. It’s not a film that overstays it’s welcome.
So given all that, why was I still dissatisfied with the movie? After all, I’ve already said a couple of times on here that there’s really nothing wrong, at least in my mind, with a movie that knows what it wants to be and succeeds at being that. I guess the problem here is that this Die Hard obviously is trying to be about more. Specifically it wants to be about family. From the introduction of John McClane’s apparently estranged son to the Russian turncoat’s daughter, almost every scene in the movie somehow either directly or indirectly tries to make a statement about family or relationships. Yet it does so so bluntly and heavy-handedly that the viewer can’t help but feel almost as bludgeoned and bloodied by the “theme” of the movie as the McClanes are. Seriously, we get it. Jack and John share a hard on the outside “tough love”. And family is whatever you make it. Or what you don’t, if you’re EEEVIL. Whatever. Really, it doesn’t work here at all. Remember me mentioning clunky dialogue up above? Yeah, well, here’s how John and Jack relate to each other early in the movie:
John Need a hug?
Jack.: We’re not a hugging family.
Then later, after they’ve bonded over two crap-tons of gunfire and it seems like they’re going to die, we’re allowed to see that Jack finally understands his dad with this little exchange:
John: You remember the last time we talked just before you went away?
Jack: Ah no! No, no, no! You’re not gonna open up to me before we die! That’s not your thing, John!
John: What’s my thing?
John: Killing bad guys! That’s your thing!
John: You’re not gonna die today!
Yeah, now I understand why the studio chose to release this movie on Valentine’s Day. Because it’s all about the love.
Anyway, until next time, happy viewing!
- Die Hard infographics become More Than insurance content marketing! (nickburcher.com)
- I’ll Think Of A Better Movie Title Or Die Hard Trying (screenphiles.com)
- Bruce Willis’ ‘Die Hard’ Hero Keeps Reagan’s Spirit Alive (breitbart.com)