A Good Day to Die Hard

Posted: 21st February 2013 by Nathan R. Carlsen in Reviews

Short Review:

agooddaytodiehard

Fun action flick, good to see John Mclain still kicking ass. This time bad guy Russian ass. (wait, didn’t he do that before…no…Germans? I can’t remember). Not as good as the original or the third one, but better than the last one.

(really) Long Review:

I liked how this was the first Die Hard movie to start with the villains side of it and showed us not only what was going on in Russian politics, but also the CIA’s response to what was going on. In the previous movies, it’s mostly just John Mclain responding to what he sees in front of him, we get very little of what preparation or response the higher ups are working on.

But…that brings me to my first point. Why isn’t John McClain the head of the CIA now? I can’t take full credit for this complaint, MovieBob on EscapestMagazine.com,  a movie reviewer that I agree with most of the time (accept for his review of Book of Eli, he is dead wrong about that movie, it rocked so hard he needs to see it again…in fact…I’m sending him an email right now to see it again…ok sent), but I agree and thought of it in the fourth movie as well.

He’s already saved dozens of people in the first movie in L.A. Then an airport in the second movie, and took down an entire miltia in the third movie. So,…by the fourth movie, everyone, especially the government, should know about his uncanny abilities to muck up terrorist/ thieves plots. Why not hire the guy? Why not throw him into the mix when stuff gets out of hand and just say “Hey, John…so, there’s these bad guys and we can’t seem to do anything about them. Just like, you know, go over there and wait and eventually you’ll blow something up and it’ll all get taken care of.”

By the 5th movie you’d think this would be the case, but no. He’s still “Just a New York Cop” and still “kind of a jerk “ or whatever, or a “Bad father” or a “bad husband” (though they make no mention of his ex-wife in this movie even though she was in the first two movies and mentioned in the third).

Now, don’t get me wrong, this movie was fun and Bruce Willis was fun to watch blow stuff up and driving around Russia without a care and smashing into things and because the only reason he’s in Russia is to work on his relationship with his son…while smacking around bad guys with trucks and guns.

I enjoyed the movie, it was fun, good action, most special effects were what the movie biz calls “practical effects” instead of computer generated. Another plus was that John McClain gets bloodied up. This was a large complaint of the 4th installment, Live Free or Die Hard, where they went for a PG-13 rating (never a good idea in a franchise that begins with rated R movies, Aliens vs Predator, ahem) but they didn’t go far enough, unlike Alien vs Predator: Requiem that went WAY too far in the other direction. If you are a Die Hard fan, you will recall that in the first movie he has no shoes and has to run on glass, has bloody feet for most of the movie. Second is much the same, and by the third movie his entire body is covered with his own and other peoples blood that he looks like some ghoul from some horror flick, while still getting the job done.  But in the fourth movie, Live Free or Die Hard, he takes out a helicopter WITH HIS CAR, rides a jump jet, and shoots himself to kill the bad guy…and still doesn’t look as bad as he did in the previous movies.

Same problem here. He fights not one, but TWO helicopters, and jumps out of not one, but two buildings, through glass and all he gets is a little scraped and a burnt shirt.

“But Nate,” you might say “ it’s just a movie”, I know, and I DID enjoy it. However, when a movie franchise has already admitted in previous movies that humans can get hurt, and that same human can bleed…but doesn’t much in the current one, well, there’s a problem.

But that’s not the biggest problem with this movie. Spoiler alert, if you don’t want to know about this, then don’t read it. But let’s both be honest…you’re not watching this movie because the plot makes sense…right? Right.

So, for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense, they end up at Chernobyl (because what other location in Russia do you know besides Moscow…ok maybe Archangel, but that’s because what’s his face blue eyes Bond was in a movie based on an awesome book of the same name…ok maybe you didn’t see it, but you should read the book).

In the building at Chernobyl, they make reference to the radiation and wear masks and full radiation gear to protect them. But then they pull out this magical technology that burns away the radiation…?  Not really sure what that thing did, but they do some kind of magical ready thing and say “we’re all clear, we can take off our masks now.” I get why the movie did this, it’s because we don’t really want to see John Mcclain suited up in radiation gear fighting russian bad guys. Our image of him is the guy in a white t-shirt, jeans and a pistol getting the job done, with or without shoes. Not in radiation gear.

But…if a movie has to make up a new technology in order to have their main character to look a certain way, that doesn’t take place in the far or near future…perhaps they shouldn’t have him be there in the first place.

See the movie? Sure. Theater? If you’ve seen the rest, might as well see this one. But feel free to wait for the rental. Not the best Die Hard, but certainly not the worst.