A Good Day to Die Hard aka Die Hard 5

die hard 5In various reviews on this site, I have been pretty vocal about how studios, directors, and actors should know when to call it a day on a franchise.  The bigger the movie, the bigger the disappointment can be.

After Die Hard 3 (Die Hard with a Vengeance), I felt a lot of disappointment.  Some of the elements from the first two were gone, and the movie felt like it had to top the action of the ones before it.  When Live Free or Die Hard aka Die Hard 4 came out, it felt like the franchise was starting to recapture the mojo, even though the stunts were over the top.  So I felt some excitement when the head of Fox Studios announced on the Jim Rome show in 2012 that a new Die Hard was coming.

Fast forward to Feb. 13, 2013…

What was shown on the screen was a Die Hard movie in name only – it did not contain any of the true hallmarks of Die Hard movie.  The fifth installment finds John McClane in Russia trying to help his son.  Of course everything goes wrong, and McClane has to save the day…

…or does he?

What makes the original Die Hard work is that McClane is just a guy stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying to keep his family safe.  He is the anti-Rambo, the anti-Terminator – He is you or me just trying to survive.  Even though the thread of this character identity fades with each sequel, it is still there.  In the first four, McClane did not try to get into danger until he was already there.

Not true for this installment.  McClane chooses to go to Russia with no plan on how to help his son.  He intervenes in chases that did not concern him.  When he finds out the truth about his son, it doesn’t have any affect on him.  I guarantee you my dad would have had a stronger reaction.   The villains are so bad that they start killing them off early just to keep the audience entertained with “action.”

Then the story serves up a location like Chernobyl, a setting rich in possibility.  Sadly it could have been any factory not contaminated with nuclear fallout.  Amazingly, our heroes get wounded and then FALL IN a pool of NUCLEAR FALLOUT WATER.  Do they die or even grow gills?  Nope, they shrug it off like it is nothing.  so now John McLane has gone from every day guy to Superman.

That is not Die Hard…

Sadly, you can tell that Bruce Willis is not even convinced this should be a movie.  He hardly commits to any of the work and cannot even be bothered to say his trademark phrase with any type of conviction.  Maybe he wanted to make sure he would never have to play this role again.

My advice: Skip it – doubt it is even worth watching on cable.  The only thing that made this disappointment bearable is that I saw it as part of a marathon and got to enjoy 4 good entries in the series before this steaming pile of celluloid…

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