Sunday, June 9, 2013
A Good Day to Die Hard: Going Through the Motions
When Live Free or Die Hard came out in 2007 after a twelve-year hiatus, no one would have been surprised if they mailed it in or if the people involved with it simply could not make it relevant to the current times. Except that they did, and did so exceptionally well. They brought back our old hero (Willis), gave him a new kind of partner (Justin Long) and introduced a new villain and actor to the masses (Timothy Olyphant), along with his assistant and new Hollywood hottie (Maggie Quigley).
On top of a superb cast, Mark Bomback penned an incredible script with a plot that involved more than "let's shoot bad guys." It all just...clicked.
After that movie's success, I expected another entry for the franchise no more than two or three years later. The feeling reminded me of one often seen on t-shirts.
I waited six years and all I got was this crappy movie.
John McClane (Willis) seems to be minding his own business when his son, Jack (played by Jai Courtney), gets in a bind while working in Russia. Turns out the young McClane is working as a CIA operative against who else? Terrorists.
Willis heads to Russia to sort out the mess and mend his almost non-existent relationship with his son. A bond that consists of awkwardly shallow dialogue, typically during shootout scenes. Great timing, Bruce. The dialogue feels unnecessary and geriatric by McClane standards.
The whole time I watched the film, I felt like I was watching a video game. Basic dialogue followed by lots of shooting. *Level Completed*. Nothing about it felt related to the Die Hard franchise.
The film clocks in at a very short 98 minutes, which seems to be foreshadowing of how "complex" it is. The initial evil villain we are introduced to named Alik (Rasha Bukvic) never seems to be ultra evil or scary. He's just an asshole with a large gun and a penchant for hating America and anyone associated with it.
Unlike 2007's Live Free or Die Hard, the outcome never seemed to be in doubt. Granted, we all know Willis will be the victor in the end- but it's the job of the writer (Skip Woods) and director (John Moore) to make it seem in doubt.
While no one expects a cinematographic masterpiece from this franchise, you would expect more. Those involved just failed to deliver.
This is not the last film as in 2015 there will be Die Hardest. What's next? Die Hardest..Again? Die Hard: Afterlife? While one franchise (Fast and Furious) is going strong at number six with an intriguing seventh on the way, Die Hard has ironically gone the way of it's own name at number five.