This year is getting off to a rough start for all your favorite action heroes from yesteryear.
Schwarzenegger bombed with “The Last Stand.”
Stallone bombed harder with “Bullet to the Head.”
Now comes the ever-reliable Bruce Willis with another installment of the sometimes-reliable “Die Hard” franchise.
But is “A Good Day to Die Hard” a worthy entry in the series, or does “Die Hard” just need to die?
I’m sure some of you are old enough to know that the original “Die Hard” is the best action movie ever made.
The first three sequels are all pretty entertaining, too, but obviously they pale in comparison to the original. Still, I always greeted word of a new “Die Hard” sequel with excitement, figuring that even if it didn’t blow me away, it would at least be entertaining.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” certainly blew me away, but not in a good sense.
I was blown away by how dull it was, despite the action sequences being more over the top than ever. I was blown away by how humorless the whole thing was, despite many, many lame attempts at comedy. I was blown away by how awful the dialogue was with gems such as “I can’t believe this, this is unbelievable.”
Also, a fun (or potentially hazardous) drinking game would be to take a shot every time a character says, “Shut up.”
A series known for its witty banter has been reduced to the cleverness of an 11-year-old.
The plot, such as it is, involves our hero John McClane, played by Willis, heading to Budapest posing as a Russian to rescue his son, who appears to be involved with some bad guys there. Why? Why do we need to see John McClane go to Russia?
Why, after seeing that McClane’s daughter Lucy was relatively normal in “Live Free or Die Hard,” do we need to have his son Jack being some sort of international super spy?
It doesn’t help that Jack, played by Jai Courtney, has about as much charisma as a doorknob and spends much of his screen time being thoroughly unlikeable.
Speaking of lack of charisma, in a series known for its villains, “A Good Day to Die Hard” contains possibly the most bland, generic villain I’ve seen in years. I get that the filmmakers probably realize that trying to match or top Hans Gruber is completely pointless and therefore decided to go in another direction, but this is the best they could come up with?
Director John Moore conducts the whole joyless affair without making a single shot visually interesting or a single action scene remotely exciting, and his handling of the characters seems to be a complete afterthought.
The whole experience was like expecting a cold, refreshing soda and getting lukewarm tap water. Even Bruce Willis looks bored.
So is this the last “Die Hard?” Well, if things continue in this direction, I hope so. Willis has said his days dying hard are numbered anyway.
Although I do wish they would do one more and finally bring back Carl Winslow. That’s what America wants.