A Good Day To Die Hard (“A Sad Day To Ruin An Action Franchise”)

25 Feb


Synopsis: “John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working to prevent a nuclear-weapons heist, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.” (Rated R; 1 hour 37 minutes)

Action movies: how do you screw them up?  Granted it’s not easy to make a GOOD one, and when the a’re done well, they’re just about the most fun 2 hours I’ll have in a movie theater that year. But even average, unoriginal crap starring Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger and just about anyone who appeared in The Expendables is usually entertaining. In fact I talked about how much fun I had watching movies starring each of those actors this very year. So I’ll ask again, how do you screw up an action movie to the point where it actually becomes the one thing an action-fan like myself can’t forgive: boring?

Here’s what A Good Day To Die Hard had going for it before Ephraim, Jared, Josh and myself walked into the theater:

-It’s Die Hard. There have been great ones and stupid ones, but all have been entertaining movies, so you just assume this will be no different.

-John McClane, the character that Bruce Willis plays, is always fun to watch, always a funny and cool hero, and you know you’ll have a good time watching everything he says and does.

-Did I mention it’s an action movie? We were four guys going to see it knowing that it got bad reviews, our expectations lowered so we could just have a good time seeing a silly movie from a franchise we all like.

Well, in spite of all of that it simply stunk. And it’s not as if there wasn’t enough action, because it was practically nonstop. But it was the sort of action that involves the camera often jumping, shaking, cutting with fast edits, and just loses my interest. I was mildly entertained by the extended car chase scene early on, but even that paled in comparison to most car chases you’ll see in movies these days. The movie was filmed in the grey textured, grainy camera footage of the Taken movies. It’s the sort of darker look and feel that I believe is supposed to give things a more ominous and less light tone, but instead it usually just makes the movies look like they’re done cheaply. I long for the big budgets of Michael Bay movies which are at least bright and crisp, and the action is cool and feels expensive, even if the movies are still mindless overall.

Here we were, four guys out celebrating Ephraim’s birthday, who were looking forward to seeing this movie with our lowered expectations in hand, and every one of us at one point or another almost fell asleep. THAT is how unexciting it was during its action sequences. I won’t even focus on how bad the plot was because I don’t even fault action movies for their weak plots. And when Josh pointed out how unrealistic it was that there was a drone flying over Moscow I don’t even fault THAT logic, because we’ve all grown up enjoying outlandish plot points that make no sense in awesome action movies. The acting was weak? So what, the acting hardly matters in action movies. The main characters John McClane and his son both should have died falling off buildings about half a dozen times in the movies, but again I don’t mind that because I’m used to a ridiculous suspension-of-beliefs in action movies, where your hero is seemingly invincible. It all comes back to the action itself, and if that couldn’t keep me interested, then the movie simply failed in its one required task.

It does make me sad that the writer Skip Woods wasn’t able to even provide some funny lines, considering he wrote the decent A-Team movie a few years ago, which achieved its goal of being both a funny and entertaining action flick. He also wrote the Wolverine spin-off which was very disappointing, but even that was exponentially more interesting than this one. But I supposed I shouldn’t be shocked since he also wrote Swordfish, whose only memorable parts were Halle Berrys’ left and right breasts. Also, how lame was his main recurring one-liner for Bruce Willis: “I’m on vacation!” He says this throughout the movie as if to say that the bullets whizzing by his head are ruining what was supposed to be a peaceful vacation in Moscow. The problem is that even this element of the movie makes no sense, since his entire reason for GOING to Moscow was to save his son…not for a damn vacation!

The director John Moore who managed to start his career off with a few entertainingly lighthearted action movies with Behind Enemy Lines as well as Flight Of The Phoenix, must have simply sleepwalked through this one.

A request was made by the birthday boy Ephraim that I compare this movie to completely random films, since it doesn’t deserve to even be compared to the other Die Hard movies which are clearly so far superior, thus…

The movie was better than Showgirls, which managed to be the one thing more rare than a boring action movie: a boring movie full of nudity. Millions of teenage boys around the world were confused when that came out how something they were so excited to see on the big screen could put them all collectively to sleep. On the other hand, A Good Day To Die Hard was worse than Parker, the pretty dumb Jason Statham movie I reviewed earlier this year that was still exponentially more entertaining than this!

Quality Rating: D+ (Yes there is still room for worse movies that are simply unwatchable,  just look up any movie by the director Uwe Boll for a slew of examples)

Boaz Rating: C (Points given for the car chase scene which was adequate, but mostly the grade is higher since I enjoyed sitting with my friends and making fun of this train-wreck)


13 Responses to “A Good Day To Die Hard (“A Sad Day To Ruin An Action Franchise”)”

  1. zralston February 26, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    I haven’t seen this because I value my time (and don’t want to see the brilliant original DIE HARD desecrated even further), but I think you’re selling Uwe Boll short. RAMPAGE is actually really interesting and disturbing while being trashy. BLUBBERELLA is one of those great so-bad-it’s-awesome movies, a great party film to watch with friends and laugh at everything. What happens in that film is just astonishing to behold. Either of those would be far better than what DIE HARD 5 sounds like!

    Also I’m glad you’ve changed from 1-10 system to the letter grades. This way we can stop with all the 8/10s and start seeing a lot of B+s! (BTW, see SNITCH. It’s way better than you think it’s going to be).


    • boazconstrictor February 26, 2013 at 11:53 am #

      I read your review of Snitch and it raised my expectations there which is a dangerous thing; 🙂 I generally won’t comment on yours if I haven’t seen them yet since I want to reserve judgment.
      Glad you like the change in ratings system, I let people vote on Facebook and most preferred this idea and think it’ll reflect my thoughts into a final grade more accurately. I went back and changed it in all past ones!
      I haven’t seen the Boll ones you refer to but the 4 or 5 I have seen have been so bad, so so so bad. lol


      • Ali Hausman February 26, 2013 at 11:57 am #

        Thanks for saving me a discount ticket. I was really looking forward to this but all the reviews are SOOO bad. I don’t want to sit through another Haywire.


      • boazconstrictor February 26, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

        It wasn’t Haywire, that movie was so damn slow and tried to be clever, just ended up boring me, but I appreciate that Soderbergh tried there. This was a lazy, loud, fast-paced action movie, it just was so bad for some reason. Different reasons they both sucked.


  2. Ephraim Osgood February 26, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Next year I’m gonna get a catheter for my birthday and enjoy it more. Suspending disbelief is one of the reasons I have trouble enjoying mindless action movies. The worst here must have been the free fall from a 50 story building slightly broken by some construction, although there is a special place in my heart for people jumping in and out of helicopters and planes midair.


    • boazconstrictor February 26, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

      Yeah, that’s why you’re not a good candidate for mindless action movies as you just said, but most action-junkies do like that stuff. This movie failed not because you’re so hyper-critical and need things to be more realistic, but because it was lame even for people like me who don’t need it to be good in the first place! 🙂


  3. Mike Burgher February 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Die Hard has turned into the Rocky franchise. Literally. Both heroes travel to Russia and try to make amends with their respective sons by the time the franchise grows tired. Next up for Bruce Willis: he stars opposite Betty White in “Stop! Or My GRANDMOM Will Shoot!”


    • boazconstrictor February 26, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

      Ha, that’s an amazing parallel, I hope they make that spinoff next, nice one Mike! 🙂


      • movierob May 16, 2013 at 7:01 am #

        just watched Die Hard 5: Kill me already.

        They have truly soiled the franchise. The movie that started a genre has been beaten over the head so many times, it’s not even recognizable anymore as a Die Hard movie. Before Die Hard, there was no simple Joe (John) against the baddies. You had Arnie and Sly (as ex-soldiers or current soldiers, but never was there a more successful movie about one guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.

        I can rewatch 1-3 as many times as I’d like and not get bored, this one only took only once.

        Am very glad I didn’t waste money seeing this in the theater. I had even told my wife in January, that I wanted to go see this as my birthday movie. happy that didnt work out too 🙂

        I saw this article which may mean there is a light at the end of the tunnel


  4. boazconstrictor May 16, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

    Thanks for sharing that article. Love the last line about a possible Die Harderest! LOL
    Makes me hopeful for another one, would love for them not to finish on this awful note, because the first three were SO much fun as you said, and I didn’t even mind the mediocre fourth one, this was the first one that was just AWFUL. Glad you didn’t see it for your birthday too!


    • movierob May 16, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      Yep. 4 was fun too, not as much as 1,2 and 3, but still fun, this one was way off the reservation!!!



  1. Olympus Has Fallen (“My Romantic Weekend In Laguna Beach”) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - April 8, 2013

    […] movie was better than A Good Day To Die Hard, which I reviewed here. In fact it’s basically the sequel that should have been made in the first place. It still […]


  2. The 2013 Boaz Movie Tally (Where Have I Been?!) | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 25, 2014

    […] Ephraim – 6 (Many great examples here, but I’ll go with one of my biggest disappointments of 2013: A Good Day To Die Hard.) […]


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