When going to see movies like A Good Day to Die Hard, you have certain expectations on what the film is going to be like. Very basic plot, with lots of action scenes and the good guy getting to kick the bad guy’s ass. In both cases, A Good Day to Die Hard succeeds, but even in that instance this film seems to disregard the plausibility of certain circumstances. Further in this review will explain what I mean by this.
So the plot of the movie, as I said before, is very simple. John McClane flies to the other side of the world in order to help his son, Jack, who has been arrested for murdering some random Russian dude in Moscow. From what I could tell, the person that Jack killed was somehow involved in the corrupt and very shaky prosecution of the Russian Defence Minister’s former colleague.
The Defence Minister is after a file that his former colleague has hidden. We don’t know what it is, or what it relates to. All we do know is that he will do anything to get his hands on it.
Jack McClane, meanwhile, is an undercover agent for the CIA and his mission is to get the file from the defence minister’s former colleague, in exchange for offering him political asylum in the USA. Everything seems to be going to plan, until John turns up. From there on out it is one massive rollercoaster ride, with John and Jack both trying to keep the Defence Minister’s former colleague safe.
The final act of the film is the part that had me shaking my head at the complete lack of common sense and plausibility. The baddies end up capturing the Defence Minister’s colleague and force him to take them to the file. The “file” just so happens to be in the middle of Chernobyl. Now while all the baddies are suited up in Hazmat suits, Jack and John both just stroll into the exclusion site. John is in a leather jacket and John in a sleeveless t-shirt.
This whole act requires you to forget any information you know about Chernobyl and weapons grade nuclear material. It is tossed about like it is play dough. To say it is farfetched is a bit of an understatement. So on that note maybe there is some wonderfully constructed characters in the film to compensate for this.
Then again…. Maybe not.
We are constantly reminded that Jack and his father John are estranged. This is reiterated by the fact that Jack is constantly referring to him as John throughout the film. Their differences are worked out by banding together to take on the bad guys. This testosterone filled bonding session could have been something IF there was some sort of chemistry between Willis and Jai Courtney, who plays Jack.
I just couldn’t buy that these two were supposed to be father and son. Whether this was down to the script or, dare I say it… Willis’s performance, I can’t say. Willis is getting older, yet he does throw himself into the stunts 100% (or his stunt double does, I don’t know) You do catch glimpses of the old John Mclean, but this is a vastly watered down version of the character that first burst onto the scene in Die Hard in 1988. Even Die Hard 2 and Die Hard With A Vengeance still had this anti-hero in it, yet in this and the last one something has happened to this infamous character and his instantly recognizable catchphrase “Yippee-ki-ay Mother*****.”
As for the Villains of the film, as you can tell they are all very forgettable. Even now I couldn’t tell you their names, only their occupation. The main purpose of the villains was only so that John and Jack could reconcile. They could have stolen a bottle of vodka and it could have served the same purpose. They are pale imitations of the memorable ones of Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Die Hard with a Vengeance.
This is a film that is just mindless action with very little consideration for anyone who likes some sort of realism in it. The stunts are amazing and the action was high-octane. I can’t praise this enough for it is jaw-dropping, but that is all it really is. This is the weakest movie in the series and it’s a shame because it could have been a revitalisation of the series, with McLean’s son. This is just another example of trying to introduce a new generation of a beloved character. The filmmakers have tried it with Indiana Jones and failed and it looks like this could go down the same route.