A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
Bruce Willis as JOHN MCCLANE
Jai Courtney as JACK GENNARO
Sebastian Koch as KOMAROV
Yuliya Snigir as IRINA
Rasha Bukvic as ALIK
Cole Hauser as COLLINS
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Directed by: John Moore
BY KEVIN CARR
Back in February when “A Good Day to Die Hard” came out in theaters, I broke with the opinion of many critics and gave it a favorable review. I didn’t give it a glowing review, but for the most part, the movie met the expectations I had for it, and I was entertained.
I was not expecting a brilliant film. Heck, I wasn’t even expecting a fresh film like the original “Die Hard” back in 1988. I didn’t expect this because none of the other three sequels delivered that. Each one had its problems – some more than others. And when you look at a series of five films made over the course of 25 years, there’s bound to be differences.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” brings John McClane (Bruce Willis) to Moscow to help his son Jack (Jai Courtney) out of a Russian prison. However, he soon discovers that Jack is a spy trying to get information from another prisoner. This leads them on the run from Russian mobsters who are trying to kill, well, pretty much everybody. As thing escalate, the McClanes soon realize that there’s more to this trip than just breaking a thug out of prison.
There’s a lot of problems with “A Goo Day to Die Hard,” and they come out on home video as they did in the theaters. The villain is entirely forgettable (but then again, I felt the same way about the villains in “Die Hard 2: Die Harder” and “Live Free or Die Hard”). It was a bit clunky to have John McClane running around with a sidekick (but this was a problem with “Die Hard with a Vengeance” and “Live Free or Die Hard”). There’s also not a terribly strong plot that gets convoluted and confusing quickly (again, a problem that can be seen in “Die Hard with a Vengeance” and “Live Free or Die Hard”).
So if you’re looking for a movie as good as “Die Hard,” you won’t get it here. You will likely not find this one to be as good as some of the sequels, depending on your opinion. (For the record, the only sequel in the series I truly hated “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” another place where I break with popular opinion.)
However, what “A Good Day to Die Hard” succeeds at is in its action sequences. Sure, it’s not John McClane running through a sea of broken glass or leaping off a roof tied to a fire hose. These moments are over-the-top and pretty much impossible. However, I never looked at the series as a whole as something that was meant to be realistic. Like the “Fast & Furious” series, these are cartoons that delve further and further into excess.
If for no other reason, I enjoyed “A Good Day to Die Hard” for the impressive chase sequence on the streets of Moscow that happen relatively early in the film. Additionally, the climactic fight is pretty fun to watch, if not overly glazed with CGI backgrounds and other elements.
There’s a lot of hate out there for this movie, some deserved and some not. But for me, it’s a turn-off-your-brain sort of movie that can be enjoyed for a quick watch on a rainy day.
Whether you enjoyed “A Good Day to Die Hard” or dumped on it for not being enough like the other films in the franchise, there’s some good stuff on the Blu-ray, which comes packaged with the DVD and the Digital HD UltraViolet capabilities.
Bonus material includes some standard elements, including a bunch of deleted scenes and a commentary on the extended cut with director John Moore and first assistant director Mart Cotone. There are also a bunch of still galleries and a slew of pre-visualization and VFX breakdowns. Ironically, two of the original pre-vis sequences, which I assume would have started the film, looked quite intriguing since it shows what could have been added to the movie. This will give something for the film’s detractors to latch onto as an alternate view of the film.
In the behind-the-scenes material, there’s an hour-long documentary “Making It Hard to Die,” which looks at the overall production. Additional featurettes includes “Two of a Kind” about Willis and Courtney, “Back in Action” about the action sequences of the film, “The New Face of Evil” that profiles the villain, “Anatomy of a Car Chase” which takes an extended look at the development and production of the massive car chase through the streets of Moscow and “Maximum McClane” which features a montage of John McClane’s best moments from the entire “Die Hard” series.