wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
Bruce Willis is back with the fifth Die Hard film, A Good Day to Die Hard. This latest film, however, isn’t even as much fun as the previous one (which itself was merely passable), let alone the original or the two quite watchable films that came after it. Packed with more unnecessary action than one would care for, even Bruce Willis’ trademark punchline (you know which!) has never been used as poorly as it has been here. Safe to avoid this film altogether and do a marathon of the first three in the series on home video.Read more
Those who’ve watched Zero Dark Thirty or Homeland will be familiar with a torture technique that involves not letting captive prisoners sleep by playing loud, noisy music and shining bright lights on them at all times. I’d only be slightly exaggerating if I said that they could just have put them in a theatre playing A Good Day to Die Hard instead.
Nearly a quarter of a century after Bruce Willis’ John McClane first scorched the big screen with unflinching, deadpan badass-ery, the aged but still cheerful action superstar returns in the fifth installment of the series; one that should have ended with the previous film.
Directed by John Moore, the film is set in Russia this time, where John McClane has come in pursuit of his estranged son who is in the custody of the authorities there. However, he quite soon discovers that his son isn’t your usual vagabond imprisoned by the Commies – about then, I think that there might just be a feeble attempt at a story. All hopes of that evaporate soon after, however, as the Father-Son McClane duo spend the rest of their screen time bringing Russia to rubble all by themselves, with the customary few scratches to their own bodies. Loosely put, Taken with a yippee-ki-yay touch, with a pointless background story of what seems like a domestic quarrel between rich and powerful Russian men.
If the sorry excuse for a plot makes you grimace, the execution of the film is nothing less than an assault on the senses. Humans, vehicles, buildings and even public infrastructure are treated with the same amount of disdain by the trigger-happy McClanes, who don’t for a second seem to think discretion is an option. After all, why waste time thinking, when you can blow something up? Admittedly, the high-octane camera work had me for about the first 20 minutes, before I realized that the octane level didn’t ever intend to dip. After that, it was all about trying to out-think the writer and director in terms of how ludicrous they could get.
What is good to see though is that Bruce Willis hasn’t gotten over his penchant for having fun while the world is crumbling around him, with or without his interference. He adds a cutesy comic touch to John McClane’s paternal instincts, as he straddles the line between being a father looking out for his son and being the original bad guy hunter. Jai Courtney, who plays McClane’s son Jack, hasn’t a friction of the screen presence or likeability of Willis. He is bland with emotion as well as humour, which makes the father-and-son reconciliation aspect of the film seem like a bit of a joke.
A Good Day To Die Hard is a tedious watch, because the film never eases up on the action, fully testing the limits of your suspension of disbelief. If there is anything good about the film at all, it is that it may make fans of the original films go back and revisit them, just for some good old-fashioned action fun. The only people who might find the film watchable are those who are absolute hard-core and exclusive action film fans, but for whom Chulbul Pandey is a bit too low-brow.
This review is by guest reviewer Pradeep Menon. Pradeep is a filmmaker and a dreamer. He loves books, rain, winters, tea and his parents. Cinema, however, is the only truth he believes in. He breathes and bleeds film, mostly in hues of saffron, white, green and blue. You can watch his short films at www.youtube.com/cyberpradeep.
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