Twitter Plot Summary: John McClane is back (again) and causing all sorts of trouble. Gone is the subtext, the fun, the banter. In its place: mind-numbing awfulness.
It’s difficult to review this fifth Die Hard film without it sounding like a complete character assassination, such are its many problems and logical inconsistencies. Suffice to say, if you are a fan of any of the previous four Die Hard films – yes, even Die Hard 4.0 – then prepare yourself for a massive, massive disappointment.
While Die Hard 4.0 covered John McClane’s relationship with his estranged daughter, A Good Day To… sees McClane heading over to Russia to help his estranged son who appears to have gone off the beaten path a little. Of course, it’s never as simple as that, especially as young Jack McClane is played by Jai Courtney – and also happens to be an undercover CIA operative. What should have followed was an enjoyable romp through Russia as father and son team up to defeat the bad guys, but instead it’s curtailed by constant attempts by John to bond with his son, often at the most inopportune of moments. Bad guys shooting at you? Then try having a heart to heart with your kid! About to walk into Chernobyl and expose yourself to vast amounts of radiation? Tell your boy you’re proud of him.
Early on, John and Jack McClane engage in an expensive vehicle chase through Moscow that within the realms of the story clearly caused a huge loss of life, yet this isn’t mentioned again and nobody seems to bat an eyelid at such an incident. It almost rivals a similar sequence in Fast and Furious 6 where the tank runs rampant across a freeway, so this appears to be the new standard in modern action films. Who cares if lots of innocent people die (in the context of the film story) if the action sequence looks good? Then they manage to travel halfway across Russia in less than one evening and traipse around Chernobyl without radiation suits (admittedly not as necessary as they were 30 years ago) – clearly the McClane’s are made of far sterner stuff than us mere mortals.
By now John McClane has turned into an angry old man, the sarcasm and dry wit of bygone years replaced by the inherent grumpiness of the elderly. He may still be able to fire a weapon and beat people up, but more often than not in this instance he is less a man in the wrong place at the wrong time than someone who needlessly interferes in events and causes such a stupid amount of death, destruction and carnage that it’s a wonder the Russian government didn’t arrange for him to be immediately locked up.
The sad thing is, the trailer seemed to promise that this would be a classic Die Hard tale – McClane and son up against a Russian businessman, a battle of wits and big guns, a film that could rival the twists and turns of the film that started it all in 1988. Instead, besides highlighting that a lot appears to have been cut from the final edit, it plays on your appreciation of the original Die Hard in order to get people to see a film that is barely worthy of being an entry in the series. And if this proves to be the final entry in the series, it is both a good thing and a bad thing. Good because there won’t be any further reasons to drag the Die Hard name through the dirt, and bad because it’s tarnishing the first four (yes, again, even Die Hard 4.0) just by existing.