REVIEW: A Good Day to Die Hard

If you asked me for the definitive movies of the 80's one of the films toward the top of the list, would inevitably be the original Die Hard. The film was just about the perfect action flick. A regular schlub of a cop, placed in an extraordinary situation, raises all kinds of hell, and lives to tell the tale. Everything about it made it a feel like a good over-the-top action flick, and it left John McClane as a hero everyone could relate to. That was the real charm of Die Hard. You could watch it and feel that, in the right set of circumstances, that could be you.

Fast forward to today. A Good Day to Die Hard, does something that was done Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull... Suddenly there is a son involved, and it seems that the entire movie is setting up for the torch to be passed to that son for future installments. This time, as opposed to the everyman nature of John McClane, we are introduced to "Jack" McClane, a spy that apparently speaks fluent Russian, and might even have an entire team backing him. Whereas John McClane was a simple cop, his son is described by McClane himself as "the James Bond of Plainfield, New Jersey." The son loses the everyman quality, and in the trade-off never truly presents a character we can relate to.

The movie itself loses a lot of its charm by moving to the Russian locale. You get to spend about a sixth of the movie's hour and fifty minute run time reading subtitles. Subtitles, that I might add sometimes disappear before you actually have a chance to read them, and take in the scene. So, if you are actually interested in the story, you find yourself struggling to read the subtitles so you can figure out why the hell some of the crazy things that are happening are happening. And to make matters worse, they don't subtitle EVERY line of Russian dialog. So you find yourself looking to the bottom of the screen every time that someone starts talking Russian, and it is a flip of the coin whether or not there will be anything to read down there.

As this is an action film, I would be remiss in my duties.if I didn't touch on the action aspects of the film. I actually feel like this movie was lighter on the action than the last installment of the series, which makes sense considering that the star is getting older. And the action that DOES exist is not the satisfying action of the first Die Hard, and rather feels more like the Michael Bay "Explosions for the sake of Explosions" attitude. They spend a good 15 to 20 minutes of the film in a single car chase, that isn't particularly thrilling, or even fully necessary to the story. Rather, it is an opportunity for Jack to bitch about how much he hates his father. Even the final confrontation feels somewhat lackluster, feeling like it was thrown in there. 

The worst part of it all, is it wasn't an awful movie. There were parts that were bad, and there were parts that weren't. But at the end of the day, when all is said and done, I honestly don't feel like this movie captured any of the spectacle of the original films. 

Recomendation: It's not a bad flick. Worth seeing, if you can get in for a matinee. Even more worth-while if you can wait until it hits Netflix or Red Box. It is not a movie that I think I will rush out to grab on DVD or Blu-Ray. If you're like me, and just need something with a little bit of action to spice things up, seriously, just go out and get the first Die Hard, and watch the hell out of it.

Is It Theater-Worthy: Not particularly. There are a handful of scenes that really pop up there on the big screen, but the majority of it just is underwhelming, and feels too small for that big screen. This is very much a wait for the home release type of movie. 

Final Thoughts: I mean seriously, an action movie being released OUTSIDE prime Summer months? Even the studio obviously had no faith in this. Granted, they may have wanted to play in an open field, where they weren't going toe to toe with some major Summertime Popcorn films, but... February is not a prime action film time. It saddens me, but on the whole, the first film on my list, is a flop.

Frank's Final Score: 6 out of 10.