A Good Day To Die Hard Review

It’s funny how often the apple falls pretty close to the tree, even when said tree is never around.

John McClane wasn’t around much when his son was growing up, he was too busy playing a New York City policeman to bother with stuff like raising his own children.

Still, having reconnected with his estranged daughter in the last Die Hard film, at least his hands off style of child rearing should provide ample material for the next half dozen John McClane movies, where the yippee ki yay spouting motherfucker gets to play dad to a slew of bastard kiddywinks littered around the big apple.

Hell, why not get really modern and make McClane’s offspring a Benetton-esque rainbow of adopted little people that’d put Brad and Angelina to shame?

That way, you can even crowbar a string of increasingly exotic locations into the franchise as NYPD’s most famous detective gets to die hard in a different country every other year?

But firstborn’s first, and A Good Day To Die Hard is all about John McClane’s estranged son, John McClane Jr.

Here’s a tip for any future dad’s out there; if you name your son after yourself, he’s going to want to become estranged from you.

Anyway, sonny boy’s all grown up now and McClane senior doesn’t have one solitary clue about who his own child is.

So, naturally, he assumes the worst; that his own flesh and blood is a screw up in deep with drugs and all sorts of other clichéd nightmare scenarios absent parents believe their prodigal children will stumble into.

I’m still waiting for the scene where the original John McClane connects the dots between said absenteeism and any such behaviour, but I won’t hold my breath for any such moment of clarity.

Besides, turns out John McClane Jr might be doing better for himself than his old man ever could have imagined.

Don’t worry though, this pseudo-psychological sub plot from the scriptwriting genius that isn’t Skip Woods is just a cunning plan to connect A Good Day To Die Hard’s increasingly explosive yet nonsensical action scenes.

I’ve said it before and no doubt I’ll be saying it again sooner than I’d care for, but action scenes only work if you care about the people they’re happening to.

And because the Skip’s screenplay is so god awful, you don’t.

Still, is it really his fault hollywood suits seem to be lining up round the block to fill his pockets with money so he can churn out more of his patented action genre garbage?

All you really need to know about A Good Day To Die Hard is two good ol’ american boys blow up half of Russia in a bid to stop some bad guys with dodgy foreign accents using nuclear waste from Chernobyl to blow up half the world.

Or something.

To be fair, the latest instalment of Bruce Willis’ money spinning blow things up franchise isn’t as bad as I expected.

I thought it’d be god awful when in truth A Good Day To Die Hard is only pretty bad.

Willis does his usual John McClane, action-man thing and some other names and faces you’ll forget as soon as you leave the cinema make up everyone else.

Though, in this post Dark Knight cinematic landscape, one of these unlucky actors lands the task of playing a bad guy as much like Heath Ledger as is humanly possible.

So this joker tries to crack laughs when he’s killing people, eats a carrot while torturing the McClane boys and even breaks into dance to kick away some guns at one point.

Seriously, why so painfully obvious?

Great actors like Javier Bardem may be able to get away with pulling this Ledger trick a la Skyfall, but there’s a real danger of such cheap imitations escalating embarrassingly out of control.

If watching a film that reminds you of Die Hard but isn’t nearly as good is your thing, than A Good Day To Die Hard is for you.

Be warned though, this fifth cinematic apple from the McClane family tree has fallen pretty far from its roots.

Jonathan Campbell

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February 2013
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