Regarded by many as one of the best action films of all time, Die Hard (1988) is looked upon as containing the magical ingredients to make a memorable action film: an evil genius with a master plan, his team of gun-wielding henchmen and a hero to save the day, with plenty of explosions and stunts along the way.
As with many sequels, Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990), Die Hard 3: Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995) and Die Hard 4.0: Live Free or Die Hard (2007) failed to live up to the standard of the original. Although Die Hard 2 itself was a good effort, the latter additions to the franchise have continually veered from what made Die Hard so popular. A Good Day to Die Hard has followed suit.
Written by Skip Woods (Hitman, The A-Team) and directed by John Moore (Max Payne) the film is let down by its lack of dialogue. Gone are the quirky, memorable one-liners that made the character that is John McClane. There are several attempts at humour, some of which work, but the repeated “I’m supposed to be on vacation” and its variations are noticeably overused and have little effect.
Obviously lacking is the development of the villain. There is no real explanation as to why Komarov (Sebastian Koch) is intent on taking uranium locked away in Chernobyl. It isn’t addressed, nor is his past in-depth. Compared with villain Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard, there is no real connection or understanding of his plan. The focus is instead on the father-son relationship of McClane and McClane Jr. (Jai Courtney).
There are several elements however that will please fans of the franchise. There is the obligatory fast paced car-chase through the streets of Moscow with a seemingly endless amount of vehicles being damaged, a kill count that is well into the triple figures and a final showdown at Chernobyl complete with a gun-firing helicopter.
A Good Day to Die Hard will no doubt be a hit at the box office with older fans hoping to rekindle the magic of the earlier films and with younger fans keen to see a Die Hard film on the big screen. There are currently no plans for a sixth instalment, so it is probably a good day to call it a day for John McClane.