Quick! What’s the worst crime a film can commit? Is it being overly and unnecessarily violent with guts and organs flying everywhere for no good reason? No. Is it being too long? No. Is it being another Twilight movie? Well… yes, actually. But after that, what can it be? I’ll tell you.
It’s being completely and utterly forgettable.
I very recently went to go see the latest Die Hard movie, entitled A Good Day To Die Hard (2013), and let me tell you, it was just that.
Now, I’m in the minority that believes that the fourth movie, Live Free or Die Hard (2007) was really goddamn fun. I loved it. In fact, I may even enjoy it more than the second and third movies (blasphemy, I know), despite how many Justin Longs were in it. I liked it enough to see it in theaters three times, one of which had Czech subtitles, which was awesome. I learned how to say ‘shit’ in Czech.
My point is, I was under the belief that, though completely unnecessary, a fifth installment in the Die Hard franchise might not be horrible if they could keep the odd charm of the last movie. But, seeing the previews, I could kind of tell that it would not be so. But, I thought the same thing about the last one, and I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe it would be the same this time.
I was about as pleasantly surprised by this movie as I would be if a baby suddenly shot me in the kneecap with a .45 magnum.
A Good Day to Die Hard starts with our hero, John McClane, travelling to Russia because his son has been arrested there. Though, I really can’t be sure what he was hoping to accomplish by doing so.
But it turns out that John Jr. is actually a United States CIA agent sent to Moscow to protect a Russian scientist/imprisoned criminal that has information that can bring down an evil, corrupt Russian politician that is trying to kill said Russian scientist to prevent him from testifying against said evil, corrupt Russian politician. John Jr., as it turns out, only got arrested so that he can get close to Russian Scientist, take him into protective custody, and bring him to the US. John Sr. bumbles into this operation and action ensues.
And my Arceus, was it boring… yeah, sure there were plenty of explosions and car chases and gun fights and helicopters, but if you’re not invested or even interested in what happens before and after the explosions, the explosions themselves cannot possibly be entertaining.
Speaking of explosions, car chases, etc., where the fuck was the police during all of it? Believe it or not, Russia does indeed have law enforcement. You can’t run out into the middle of the street, punch a guy in the face, steal his car, use said car to drive off of a bridge and over all of the cars below, all while firing your gun at another car chasing an armored truck and not attract any law enforcement! Especially if you’re a foreigner, like John McClane is. Throughout the first action sequence, only one cop shows up, and is immediately shot and killed. Yeah, killing a cop does not attract more cops. Right.
You can try to make the same argument about the last movie. You can’t crash a car into a helicopter without attracting the fuzz. But in that movie, everything was in complete disarray at the time, and the police physically could not respond. But here, there was nothing preventing them from going after the vehicles currently crashing through every other vehicle. Oh, and all of this was apparently going on during a massive earthquake, judging by how much the goddamn camera was shaking during every action scene! Son of a bitch, I am so sick of this shaky cam bullshit in every action movie! Stop it! Seriously, give the shaky cam a fucking rest!
And then the plot itself begins to get really stupid. And maybe even offensive.
Without giving too much away, there were two big plot twists, and I had called both of them. But even if I couldn’t, they’re presented in such a way that I really couldn’t be surprised by them. Like, the first one. Someone is a traitor. And McClane figures this out because he asks this person how they got to where they were so fast, and they happen to say that they took the one road that John happens to know by name, and John just happens to know that said road “always has bad traffic”. He only knows this because earlier, he just happened to be taking a cab on this one road and his singing driver just happened to mention both the name of the road and the fact that it always has bad traffic.
Where the plot gets potentially offensive though, is where they take a real-world tragedy and exploit it. According to this film, the real-life Chernobyl disaster was actually caused by a fictional character. It may just be me, but that makes me feel kind of sick. It’s like in L.A. Noire, where in your very own home, you get to catch the real-life Black Dahlia murderer. You know, the actual killer that real police with real police training couldn’t catch? It’s the same thing. And it just feels like an insult to the actual, living people that suffered because of those tragedies.
Also, just as a quick note, the acting, for the most part, was average. Except for John Jr., played by Jai Courtney. He sucked.
As longwinded as this review may have been, the truth is, I’m really having a hard time remembering anything from this film. As horrible as it may have been, it was also completely boring and forgettable. Take every other movie in the franchise. If you mention one of them to me, a few images or lines will pop into my head, whether it’s Hans Gruber’s face as he was dropped from the Nakatomi Building, or John McClane blowing up an airplane with nothing but a lighter, or Jeremy Irons being Jeremey Irons, or even Kevin Smith calling his basement a ‘command center’. Those are all just off the top of my head. And it’s been years since I’ve seen any of the previous four movies.
But I was struggling to find anything memorable about the fifth movie as I was leaving the theater! I had pretty much forgotten the whole thing by the time I reached my car.
And that is the greatest crime that a film can commit. Though don’t get me wrong. A Good Day to Die Hard, though a pretty big pile of sakra, is still quite a bit better than Lockout (2012).