A Good Day To Die Hard on Blu-ray – The DVDfever review

A Good Day To Die Hard

A Good Day To Die Hard begins with bad guy Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) languishing in jail until he gives another bad guy what he wants, namely a file on some other bad guy called Chagarin (Sergey Kolesnikov). Meanwhile, bad son Jack (Jai Courtney) is in Russia bumping off bad guys in nightclubs, and John McClane (Bruce Willis) is off there to find him and calm him down, but he’s a bad Dad because he’s never been there for his son. Well, he hasn’t been there for at least 25 years since the first Die Hard film.

For one reason or another, Jack is about to testify against Yuri when they escape a courtroom ambush. So, why, before long, does Jack appear to be on the same side of Yuri? Who cares… the writers certainly didn’t.

This time round, John McClane is even more indestructible than ever. He manages to spin a truck round and flip it over a zillion times, yet climbs out without a scratch. Sure, Die Hard 4.0 did a lot of that, too, but at least it was mostly interesting. What doesn’t help is the jerky piss-poor camerawork. Many early driving scenes are speeded-up and suffer as a result, as it just looks off.

Then he drives off a bridge, similar to Die Hard wih a Vengance, and proceeds to pootle along several cars in order to get to the bad guys, never minding how much damage is caused to civilian vehicles.

There’s no sense of action, no sense of adventure, no sense of emotion, no sense of excitement. Just a load of random, badly-choreographed set pieces. You could believe the things that were happening to McClane in the first Die Hard film, you could just about believe them with Die Harder. Events stretched credibility in …Vengeance and they started to go out of the window with the last film, but this is just, without a doubt, the worst film in the series and, in addition, it’s an insult to at least the first three films.

Apart from the lack of any decent plot, John Moore’s choice to shoot film No.5 in 1.85:1, rather than the 2.35:1 scope ratio we’re normally used to in this series, makes this film feel more like a TV movie. It’s not like he’s not seen a scope ratio before. He made a decent fits of 2001’s Behind Enemy Lines, but his last directorial outing was the appalling movie version based on one of my favourite video game franchises, Max Payne. 20 Century Fox released that turkey, so why go to him to ruin another franchise?

A Good Day To Day Hard is lazy, contains cardboard cut-out baddies, it’s clumsily directed, and worst of all, boring. And Bruce moaning about being on vacation every five minutes, i.e. with the terrorists ruining it, does not a catchphrase make.


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Comparing this to the theatrical version – which is also on this disc – cinemagoers watching this “extended cut” will notice that Lucy McClane (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is nowhere to be seen, yet originally she was the one driving John to the airport. Why make such an edit?

I checked out some of the key deaths and was expecting one to be seriously edited, but then saw, and without saying who it was, the victim was shot in the head, blood spraying out the other side. I expected this to get trimmed considerably. It wasn’t. So, it’s okay to blast someone in the head, right in front of the camera, in a ’12’, yet they can only say “fuck” a handful of times?! Oh, he can also say “motherfucker” in a 12-cert this time, it seemed… Well, no, it seems like they’ve just used seamless branching on the same print to go between the two versions, rather than a separate print. Perhaps they’re massively embarrassed by it.

There’s also a brief comic exchange between Jai Courtney and Sebastian Koch in a lift, while Bruce Willis is present, which… falls flat, because this was in the trailer… where a much better line was used. Why did they change it? The same lame line is used in both the theatrical and extended cuts.

In fact, it says a lot about a Die Hard film when the only memorable thing I can recall from it is when Jack stamps on John’s phone, who replies disheartenedly, “There was a two-year contract on that phone.”.

Oh, and Irina (Yuliya Snigir) (pic on page 2) is quite cute, too.

Overall, after loving most of the earlier films in the series, John Moore has made me look forward to ‘Die Hard 6’ about as much as I look forward to my next eczema flare-up.

Check out my view on the film’s cinema censorship on page 2.


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Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2019.

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