Remember in the first Die Hard how John McClane ran barefoot over broken glass, tearing up his feet in a way that made the audience feel it? That mortal, relatable character is long gone, replaced by someone who is just another action superstar. Now the rouge NYPD detective can fall through dozens of windows, survive multiple explosions, and even brave toxic radiation without getting so much as a scratch. The new John McClane is an absolute badass, spewing witty dialogue while gunning down countless bad guys with ease. And that’s exactly why I don’t like him anymore.
In A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth installment in the long-running series, all we get is a generic action spectacle, with absolutely nothing hidden below the surface. Admittedly his new high-speed approach makes for some awesome looking stunts; however, there’s only so many times a guy can tie a truck to helicopter before it becomes a little bit ridiculous.
Bruce Willis reprises his role as John McClane, who this time is heading to Russia to break his troubled son out of jail. Things go sour when John finds himself in the middle of a political conspiracy that is too convoluted to follow and too absurd to care about. Most of the film’s story will focus on the relationship between the two McClanes, who seem to have a lot of trouble working together.
This whole father-son dynamic brings with it plenty of asinine family drama moments, but really doesn’t add to the overall film in any significant way. Watching Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) learn from his dear old dad isn’t much fun, and Jack’s very existence makes me concerned that the studio may try to continue the series with Courtney as the new lead.
Because of the addition of a new McClane, not to mention the excessive action that seems desperate to one-up itself constantly, this feels like the end of the Die Hard franchise. All evidence points to the fact that the story of John McClane may have gone as far as it can go, and it’s time to call it quits before you produce some truly terrible sequels.
The good news is that A Good Day to Die Hard isn’t an awful movie; it’s just average in every conceivable way. I think if Hollywood wants to see quality entries into the series again, they need to realize that less is often more, especially when you sloppily replace character development with funny one-liners.
I want a John McClane who feels human again. I want to think of him as a real person. Movies like Skyfall prove that modern action flicks don’t have to sacrifice thrills in order to have a little depth, and there’s no reason why Die Hard can’t achieve that balance once again.
Sadly, until that day comes, it’s time to forget about the adventure that began in Nakatomi Plaza more than twenty years ago. This latest sequel feels more like a parody than a legitimate entry into the Die Hard series – a fate worse than death for one of the most iconic characters of all time.