Please put up with me with this review, to me Die Hard could be a classic franchise, the studio just needs to step up and make it a classic instead of just making average attempts to make action movies. I love John McClane and I love Bruce Willis. Frankly I enjoy pretty much every movie in the franchise, problem is the movies are sliding towards average instead of awesome. This is the fourth sequel to Die Hard and somehow they still just can’t get it right. Now I’ll give them credit this film is a lot more fun than the last attempt. The plot is rather simple, John’s son Jack is a covert CIA operative. They have not spoken in a long time but when John hears that Jack has been arrested in Moscow he takes a flight over to Russia to save him. John has no idea his son is wrapped up with some bad people and when bad guys attack the Russian court house Jack is being tried in, John gets wrapped up in his sons mission. The plot is fine, and there is a twist towards the end that is actually pretty fun, problem is it never really feels like a Die Hard movie and it’s over before you know it.
Now the first Die Hard is one of the best movies of all time, no debate necessary here it just is. John McClane is perfect but the one thing they really got right was the location and the bad guys. Hans Gruber of course is a classic villain, but the thing people don’t realize is that his henchmen stood out too. You knew every single one of them. They each looked different most even had a line or two. The sequels have never realized that this is an important factor. In A Good Day to Die Hard John McClane cuts through henchmen, most are wearing face masks so you never even connect with them. They have turned Die Hard into a video game. Just the lead shooting down endless, faceless bad guys.
Die Hard 2 gets hated on because the plot kind of mimics the first, frankly that’s what should happen. I want Die Hard to go back to its roots. I want bad guys taking things over, not McClane running around a city blowing shit up. DH2 had a simple plot really, rogue military douche bags take over an airport. They got a lot right more than they got wrong. As time goes on I think people have noticed that it’s the best sequel.
Die Hard 3 or Die Hard with a Vengeance took things in a different direction. They made McClane a mess, hinted at him being a racist, then when the city is rocked by a terrorist named Simon, McClane runs around the city and finds out it’s not about terrorism it’s about money as usual. This movies problem is the script was originally written as a stand alone action film, not a Die Hard sequel. So the movie never really feels right. McClane is too angry, he kills a man who is begging him not to fire in German. The bad guys were almost too sympathetic, they went out of their way not to kill people. The movie just never made any sense really and never had the punch the last two did.
Years later we got Live Free or Die Hard, which was rated PG-13 and it just never set things right. It had the pieces to be good, his daughter was involved, he teamed up with a super geek. Problem was the rating never let McClane be his character. They also had terrible villains. I didn’t mind an uber geek being the main villain, but the choice of having his gun men be French mercenaries never made any sense. It sucked really. The main villain should have had ruthless assholes at his side, men we would learn to hate, not men we could careless about. They also went into video game territory as McClane faced off with a fighter jet. None of it felt right even though if done a little differently it could have really worked.
A Good Day to Die Hard gets a lot more right than wrong. Jai Courtney is really great as Jack and he works well with Bruce Willis. The action is violent and there is a very fun(and long) car chase that just works. I don’t want to give away much about the plot but the stand out is that the villains are terrible. This is because they never have any solid amount of screen time. Hans Gruber dominated the screen. These villains have no real back ground and don’t do enough for us to even really get to hate them. It feels like they are close to making a good Die Hard film. Is this movie fun? Hell yes, and it’s much better than the last one. Still though it’s too short and still doesn’t feel like a Die Hard movie.
Rating: 7 out of 10