“A Good Day to Die Hard” is not just a standard action movie, but a standard action movie done right.
Bruce Willis (“Looper”) reprises his role as the iconic Detective John McClane. Set in Russia, the movie follows McClane finding his son Jack (Jai Courtney, “Jack Reacher”) amidst a political trial involving a Russian official and a whistleblower named Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch, “Unkown”). As the plot thickens, things get very explosive very quickly.
Director John Moore (“Max Payne”) successfully combines exciting violence and genuine emotion in a time where similar movies seem to be lacking in both. Fans of the “Die Hard” franchise will be pleased to know that there is plenty of adrenaline-pumping action.
The car chase that occurs early on in the film is one of the most exhilarating scenes in the entire movie. The scene immerses the audience into the action and makes viewers part of the movie rather than just spectators. Moore also adds some heartfelt dialogue between McClane and his son that feels natural instead of overly forced. The emotion develops steadily throughout the movie in a coherent fashion. And the movie would not feel complete without the jokes made between John and Jack.
Yuliya Snigir’s (“Kokoko”) performance as Komarov’s daughter, Irina, went from decent to mediocre. At first, Irina is presented as a mysterious character full of surprises, but she quickly regresses into an ordinary villainess. Her role could have been utilized much more effectively to further develop the storyline.
The lost potential speaks to a deeper problem about Moore’s directing in the film. The first half of the movie includes a lot of violence and surprises, but the second half is dedicated to just violence. The plot twists are used way too fast, and the second part of the film becomes very predictable.
That isn’t to say that the action still isn’t incredible. None of the action scenes feel overly contrived, even if they are unrealistic.
Moore’s biggest problem with the film is developing the plot. Some nuance and sophistication could go a long way. The film only had an hour and half worth of running time, much shorter than the other “Die Hard” films. Using more time to expand the story would have added more depth to the film.
In many ways, “A Good Day to Die Hard’ did not have to be a “Die Hard” movie. All that the “Die Hard” title brought to the movie was the name McClane, but the actual story was complete in itself without being attached to the existing franchise. The movie was good, but the title and extension of the series feels like a cop out.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” is still a decent movie with great action and is worth watching for die-hard “Die Hard” fans and casual viewers alike.
The film is out in theaters now.