Let me begin with the plot, as this is the most fundamental weakness of the film, and in some way I could blame all other failures at least in part on this flaw. The story ark of most action films, including the previous four Die Hard installments, is lacking here. Within a few minutes of the film’s opening, we are already thrust right into the action. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in Moscow looking for his son Jack (Jai Courtney). There’s some sort of conspiracy involving the Russian defense minister and a shady past with a physicist at Chernobyl, but we don’t really care about this narrative. To be frank, I didn’t really care about Jack McClane either.
A Good Day to Die Hard doesn’t take the time to introduce the characters in a sensible manner, and thus we never grow attached to them. The unbelievable action they are later thrust into doesn’t really matter to us because the initial setup was so dramatically misguided. In addition, the climax of the film isn’t really a climax at all, as the latter half of the movie is in essence one large action scene. Clocking in at only 98 minutes, we are never given a chance to fear the villain, or to experience the roller-coaster effect of a conventional action film.
While my review must seem very negative, I must also contradict myself by saying that A Good Day to Die Hard isn’t all bad. There is still some spark in Bruce Willis’ John McClane, and some of the action scenes are done well. That being said, if this franchise plans to live on, this film cannot be repeated. A dull plot that didn’t encourage dialogue or character expression, as well as unrealistic action, all contributed to the failure of this movie. Writer Skip Woods’ screenplay is a failure, and director John Moore clearly has a fetish-esque love of explosions. Overall, A Good Day to Die Hard is not a total flop, but it still tarnishes the Die Hard name. I remain excited for a sixth installment in the franchise, but would warn producers to be careful, as another film like this could ruin the series’ reputation.