Friday, February 15, 2013

A Good Day To Die Hard - Zero Stars

Yippee Ki - Yeah, Not So Much

Written by Matt Giles
Edited by Erin Accomando

I don't know if February is too early to say that we already have the worst movie of 2013, but I'll say it anyway: A Good Day To Die Hard is the worst movie of the year.

This movie has problems right from the get go, beginning with a Russian whistle-blower and the corrupt government bad guy out to silence him. Already this doesn't seem like a Die Hard film. We then cut to New York, where John McClane (Bruce Willis) is testing his target practice abilities when he finds out that his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), has been arrested for murder in Russia. He decides it's up to him to find out what happened with Jack, and not a minute after landing there chaos (illogically) ensues. McClane finds out that Jack is actually a C.I.A. agent, and that the supposed murder was faked so that Jack could get close to Yuri (Sebastian Koch, the aforementioned whistle-blower) and protect him. To complicate matters, McClane's reintroduction to Jack results in a botched mission, thus forcing father and son to work together to protect Yuri and get out of Russia alive. It's terrible.

If there is an award for most phoned-in performance of the year, Willis should definitely get it. There is not one time throughout the movie where he takes any scene seriously. One in particular involves an evil henchmen (who, by the way, you're not sure if he's the main villain or not until the third act) forcing McClane and Jack on their knees so he can execute them. Willis plays it as if to say, "Yeah, yeah. The kneeling down on my knees scene. I've gotten out of this in four previous movies, let's do this so I can grab lunch." As McClane, he doesn't even seem to care when the henchmen kick his son around. He actually laughs. Seriously. 

Willis isn't even emotionally present in the scenes when he's expressing regret over not being present for Jack's life. They feel false and very poorly written, which is true of the whole film; Skip Woods, the writer of this film, couldn't write a Die Hard movie if his life depended on it. He understands nothing about McClane as a character or, for that matter, characters in general. Even the dialogue doesn't work. If ever there were a script that needed doctoring, it was this one. 

In addition, it's as if the studio realized they had the perfect match of bad writer and bad director, as John Moore just does not know how to shoot an action sequence. An example of which occurs when McClane is pursuing his son and decides it's better to crash through a bridge and drive over several cars in his truck rather than take the ramp that is clearly visible in the background, because, I mean, who has time for that?

This is a film that is all mindless action with no heart and fails miserably to grip us with any emotional stakes. The first two films in the series involved McClane's need to save his wife; the third film was a bit of a mixed bag of treats and not all that memorable; and the most recent film, Live Free Or Die Hard, was actually thoroughly entertaining, with a great performance from Willis, and McClane's daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) at the center of it to give him his drive to save the day. Here, McClane almost enjoys putting his son in harms way, mocking him even when he has a severe stomach injury. If this review doesn't convey how dreadful this movie is, I don't know what does. Trust me. It's a good day to see anything but A Good Day To Die Hard.

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