New ‘Die Hard’ an abysmal addition to series

2.13_DieHard

(Courtesy of underworldmagazines.com)

Rated: R

Releases: Feb. 14

 

Valentine’s Day renders a number of romantic and heartfelt cinematic stories, but the fifth film of the Die Hard installation, “It’s A Good Day to Die Hard,” strays from the norm of the holiday’s typical genre.

“It’s A Good Day to Die Hard” is introduced in a peculiar way. The screen momentarily blackens while sirens, screams of terror and suspenseful orchestral music reverberates throughout the theater’s speakers.

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, albeit with a slightly wizened demeanor this time around. McClane departs from the U.S. to find his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), in Moscow.

McClane receives a rather amusing welcome from the Russians once he gets off the plane. A jovial Russian taxi driver replaces the typical monetary payment with renditions of New York-themed songs upon finding out where McClane is from. It’s a tad shameful and embarrassing at best, but it is  nevertheless entertaining to watch.

The brief scene in the taxi is perhaps the most light-hearted  in “It’s A Good Day to Die Hard.” It does not take much time for McClane to realize that his son was arrested and has bad blood with a group of Russian villains. Naturally, it is up to McClane and Jack to fight the villains.

The overall film feels reminiscent of multiple action films. “It’s A Good Day to Die Hard” contains all of the elements in typical action films: handsome men dressed in pressed suits and polished dress shoes, beautiful women in sensual apparel, blood scattered everywhere, exotic locales and numerous explosions and car chases.

A frustrating component is the absence of a sensible sequence of events. Instead of having a solid foundation of a beginning, climax and resolution, every scene seems to mesh together to form a single steady stream of violence. Like the good majority of the movie, it collapses under the lack of a story line.

For example, the attempt at forming a key piece of the film fails. The characters make it clear that a particular file is necessary to obtain, but there is not an explanation as to why. Nevertheless, it does not stop them from frantically acquiring the file.

However, the movie is comprised of some qualities that differentiate it from the pack.

One of the few true aspects that distinguishes it from other movies in the action genre is the underlying theme of bonding between McClane and his son. It seems strange that an emotional relationship is established during scenes where detonations result in mass homicide and incinerated cars. It could be perceived as intentional comedy presented in a morbid fashion.

Even the formal appearance of the main villain and his henchmen is bizarre. When he strides into the room with his armed henchmen, he chomps on a carrot and assesses the opposing side. After he thoroughly beats McClane and company, he does a little jig. The menacing and terrifying traits that enemies should be composed of are obviously missing.

“It’s A Good Day to Die Hard” is certainly different from other new releases such as “Safe Haven,” “The To Do List” and “Beautiful Creatures,” but it isn’t necessarily better. Its predecessor, “Live Free or Die Hard,” would have been a much better conclusion to the beloved Die Hard series.

 

Reach the reporter at lrogoff@asu.edu