When Die Hard first hit screens in 1988 it was daring and bold. The action film launched Bruce Willis’s most iconic role as John McClane and would mark the beginning of a massively popular film franchise. But as John McClane finds more and more trouble in the film’s sequels, many critics (and fans!) get more and more disheartened.
Having seen numerous 2* reviews for the film, I was expecting something truly horrendous, something dull and boring, lacking in any sort of wit, humour or charm. I was expecting Taken 2. So imagine my surprise when I came out of the film with an enormous smile on my face and a tired belly from all the belly laughs!
A Good Day to Die Hard is ridiculous. I fully admit that. The 12A rating no doubt meant cutting some of the darker elements audiences loved in the original and I lost count of the sheer number of times McClane and son Jack (played this time by Jai Courtney) get thrown through windows and out of top story buildings with barely a scratch… only to walk away with full use of their limbs. However, with Bruce Willis now nearing sixty years old and the lower rating, the film was never going to be just like it was twenty-five years ago. The filmmakers here have wisely decided to poke fun at the franchise and have a laugh with it. And there certainly are laughs-a-plenty.
Whether it’s the tap-dancing, carrot-munching bad-guy, the cheesy dialogue between father and son ‘We’re not really a hugging family’ or the destructive action sequences, A Good Day to Die Hard does what I imagine it set out to do. It is silly. It is fun. It is pure enjoyment.
The action sequences are mind-blowing – if you can suspend disbelief long enough to just go along with it – and contain everything from car chases to helicopter crashes (no, this time he doesn’t take out the helicopter with a cop car but it’s still pretty impressive!).
There is a plot here too, albeit a slightly stretched one. There are twists and turns as both McClanes struggle to complete Jack’s CIA mission and get out of Russia in one piece.
A Good Day to Die Hard is not a terrifying action film by any stretch of the imagination but it is an action adventure with laughs and explosive action by the lorry load. The issue really is that if you go into a film like this comparing it to the original Die Hard film, there can be no result other than bitter disappointment. If, however, you go in wanting a fun way to spend a couple of hours then you will certainly be entertained. I, for one, hope they do a sixth film in the franchise – with father, son and daughter all in on the action. I might need a good laugh…
A Good Day to Die Hard is in cinemas now.