It has been almost six years since Bruce Willis last donned his iconic vest and saved the day but he should have waited a bit longer for a better script to come along because this has to be the worst Die Hard movie in the franchise’s 25 year history.
In his now infamous interview on the BBC’s The One Show Willis complained bitterly about the film’s title and how it doesn’t make any sense but nor does the plot which seemed to escape him. Frankly the title was the least of his worries.
So in this his fifth outing New York cop John McClane heads to Moscow to go to the aid of his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) who he discovers is in fact an undercover CIA agent working to prevent a nuclear weapons heist. McClane gives him a hand and it all goes to pot. The pair then team up to fight the Russian villains as Jack tries to get a special file from one of them although its significance is never explained.
The whole father and son dynamic is a fascinating one but it is never truly explored. It is merely a self-serving plot device as is their miraculous reconciliation. You are none the wiser as to why the two stopped speaking to each other or what kind of person Jack is so you are never invested in his character.
Courtney, who was last seen in Jack Reacher in an unforgettable performance, does his best with his two dimensional role while Willis, bordering on autopilot, delivers his one liners with great relish with his tongue firmly in his cheek including the mandatory “Yippee ki-yay”.
But what makes the original Die Hard one of the best and much loved action movies to date seems to have been lost on director John Moore (Max Payne) and screenwriter Skip Woods. Where is the intense cat and mouse game between McClane and his nemesis? Where is the ruthless and charismatic villain who can outwit McClane at every turn as Alan Rickman’s performance defining Hans Gruber did? Where are the intelligent and heart stopping twists and turns along with a hero who is completely human and struggling to survive as he fights to save his family from harm?
This is the essence of the Die Hard films which has been replaced here by major set action sequences held together by a flimsy and uninspired story which lacks heart.
The action scenes are big and loud and very elaborate and includes a ridiculously long and never-ending car chase. But they are neither thrilling nor nail-biting and just left me beaten into submission by the end.
Setting the story outside of the US was a major mistake because it makes McClane seem anachronistic and comical and you can’t truly suspend disbelief. Plus the Russians are all portrayed as liars and schemers who clearly cannot be trusted. It is up to the Americans to go in and save us from nuclear destruction at the hands of the Ruskies. It is both insulting and clichéd. Clearly Hollywood has a short memory. The Cold War ended decades ago boys.
But the biggest crime of all is that Moore has made a boring and dumb downed Die Hard movie which is unforgivable. This certainly isn’t a good day for the franchise and with plans for a sixth film they need to get back to basics or die hard trying.
By Maria Jose