Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) - Review

Probably the best tagline ever
I remember being beyond excited when Live Free or Die Hard was announced.  I saw it on opening day and I loved it.  In case you didn't know, Die Hard is probably my second favorite movie of all time (behind Back to the Future), so any installment in the series, I'm there.  Then why, when this film was announced, was I pretty "meh" on the whole affair?  Maybe the trailers weren't as engaging, maybe it wasn't as exciting because of the smaller time between films, or maybe, just maybe, I knew it would be disappointing.

Sadly, my initial suspicions proved correct; this is a very mediocre movie.  In fact, had it not had the Die Hard name attached or McClane family, you could easily redress it as a different film.  There's nothing wrong with that by itself.  Die Hard With a Vengeance was adapted into the series from a completely unrelated script, and that's easily the best sequel the series has to offer.  The movie suffers from a much bigger flaw: it has no charm.

This is dreadfully evident in the first fifteen to twenty minutes of the movie.  The cold open that begins the film takes far too long and is completely devoid of Bruce Willis.  Without Bruce Willis, there is no Die Hard.  And someone must have told him that he was too over-the-top in the predecessor, because he regrettably toned down his character of John McClane in this one.  Gone are most of the one-liners and comebacks, and he plays it more like a typical Bruce Willis character.  There is still a spark of his flagship character in there, and the moments in which he makes himself known are the film's strongest points.  But despite not feeling like a Die Hard movie at all, the Yippie Ki-Yay line feels incredibly forced in this one; a lot of the dialogue does.
We call this getting Willis'd
The story is remarkably bland and lacks a good villain.  In fact, I probably couldn't tell you very much about the movie, other than it was vaguely entertaining as I was watching it.  One of the reasons that the first and third installments work so well is because of the villains.  With Alan Rickman in the first and Jeremy Irons in the third, the films felt like they had the perfect cunning antagonist to really go toe-to-toe with the persistant McClane.  Even Timothy Olyphant from Live Free or Die Hard was better than the 'big bad' for this one, and he was an average villain at best.

But despite all my complaints, I will say that I enjoyed watching a new Die Hard film at the theater.  It's still a fun time as far as action movies go, and you could certainly do a lot worse in the genre.  However, you could also do a lot better.  This is probably the worst in the series (I'm not quite sure though, Die Harder is pretty close), so I would recommend just about any of the other films before this one.  But for what it's worth, it's watchable.  Yippie-Ki-Yay.

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