A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013, John Moore): 1/10
Bruce Willis is a veteran Hollywood movie star with nearly 100 credits to his name at the age of 58. He has been in the following films: LOOK WHO’S TALKING TOO, NORTH, THE STORY OF US, and THE WHOLE TEN YARDS. These are terrible films. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is the worst film Bruce Willis has ever made.
It is obnoxious. It is insipid. It is boring. It is jingoistic. It is offensive. It is mean-spirited. It is humorless. It is incompetent. It is ugly. It is tone-deaf. It is derivative. And worst of all, it is a desecration to the original DIE HARD.
I know it’s unfair to compare this movie to the first in the series, because they aren’t even in the same universe. But it’s impossible to ignore just how far the franchise has fallen since its peerless debut 25 years ago. John McTiernan’s explosive tentpole was a model of narrative economy, graceful execution, and charming wit. Its lead character, John McClane, was a new kind of action hero — he was lonely, tired, scared, and vulnerable. Racing around a skyscraper in his bare feet, he wept and grunted his way to victory over terrorist robbers holding dozens of innocent people hostage. The guy named “John McClane” in this film, also played by Bruce Willis, can’t be the same character. He’s incapable of fear or emotion; he has nothing clever to say beyond giving people annoying nicknames. He walks up to innocent civilians and knocks them out in one punch because they don’t speak English… and he does this while in Moscow, Russia. You can argue he was an asshole in the first film, but you rooted for him. He’s a huge asshole in this film, and you have no sympathy whatsoever for him. I was hoping in every action sequence he would just be killed so I could find someone else to care about.
Lumbering from one incomprehensible setpiece to the next, Moore’s repulsively stupid film provides way too many things to sneer at — the talking killer cliche, the heroes impervious to injury or pain, the caricatures of Russian bad guys… which are made even more godawful when you do remember just how smart DIE HARD was: in how it made policemen obstacles instead of invisible; when it made its European terrorists individuals with identities and motivations rather than carrot-munching dry erase boards. But even if DIE HARD didn’t exist, this pitiful disaster would still set new standards for lazy, cynical, soul-sucking Hollywood entertainment. A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is what people mean when they say the cinema is dead. I loathe everything about it, and I’m starting to loathe myself for watching the whole thing.