Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

Rating: 12a
Duration: 97 mins

After the woefully daft and utterly frivolous attempts of Live Free or Die Hard (that's Die Hard 4.0 to you and I), director John Moore explicitly promises something of quality. Something to reinvigorate the franchise, with a no-nonsense approach. He wholeheartedly lied.

A Good Day to Sell Out: Bruce smiles all the way to the bank.
Whether it's Bruce Willis and his enormous star power -- some have suggested he had final say and a level of control over proceedings -- that hampers this fifth instalment, or simply a lack of basic ability from Moore and indeed his scriptwriter Skip Woods (writer of The A-Team and Hitman no less) is anyone's guess. What isn't left to speculation is that A Good Day to Die Hard is a film with absolutely no dignity, finesse or redeeming features. It's got about as much class as a clown reeling off Jimmy Savile jokes in a children's ward.

Willis looks drained and fed up, with a hint that he was likely paid up front and subsequently gave up caring once the cheque had cleared. The plot is paper thin and, for the most part, non-existent. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say it revolves around John McClane who, whilst on holiday, gets into trouble as naughty men try to shoot him as they dabble in illegal activity. 

Acting and its dialogue is (consistently, might I add) atrocious. Jai Courtney probably hoped such a film would be an effective vehicle for his movie career, and to be fair it does display his skills as a young, muscular, action-y sort of type, but that's where any glimmer of hope ends unfortunately.

The duration feels like a torturous slog; Courtney and Wills simply exchange unfunny one liners, weird facial expressions, as well as pointless, overblown scenes of truly appalling dialogue. And all this interspersed with them running about like an indestructible father-son combo, whilst avoiding wave after wave of nasty men trying to shoot at them.

Does anyone actually care?: Apathy seems to be the order of the day.
The original character of John McClane is all but gone. Now we see not a regular have-a-go hero as per the classic of 1988, but an invincible super-soldier of a man; something more akin to a Terminator or Universal Soldier lead, which is preposterous. The 12a certificate doesn't do it any favours either, stripping the character of any adult depth and is proof that the production team behind it (who actually edited the film down themselves to access a wider audience) have completely sold their souls.

Never has a 97-minute feature felt so unbearably tedious, and makes Taken 2 look like a work of genuine quality. Even the action sequences are executed horrendously, with a dreadfully skittish approach to directing and editing that'll leave you clambering for the exits.