Cos Reviews: ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’
It’s been a few days since I saw “A Good Day to Die Hard” and I’ve toyed with writing this review on and off since then. I’ve been trying to see if I could come up with a way of expressing my feelings the appropriate way about my feelings towards this movie. I’ve tinkered with the idea of writing it as a letter to 20th Century Fox and how their complete mishandling of the story and allowance of putting out such a large piece of crap as part of this otherwise strong franchise has probably lead to this being the last in the series. (I personally want to see a sixth one now to simply right all the wrongs done with 5 and possibly completely ignore that 5 ever existed). I’ve honestly been angry with how this movie was allowed to have a massive marketing campaign that not only lured me in and fed me lies (good job by the way) but also showed me every possible twist and turn that would have otherwise surprised me along the way.
Needless to say, the pleasantries are over.
Let’s get into a spoiler filled review here ladies and gentlemen; I plan on not holding back one bit.
I’ve already explain my complete love and adoration with the Die Hard series on a number of occasions over the years here on the blog. Here are just some of my postings: Die Hard to the fifth power?, Retro Review: Die Hard: With A Vengeance and Cos’ Top Christmas Movies: #1 Die Hard . I have viewed every one of these movies enough times that I think it is safe to say that I have studied them (a lot of this was before I was ever a film major.
I know the ins and outs of these movies and would gladly watch them today just to squeeze out just a little bit more juice out of things I may not have ever picked up on (I am my Mother’s son). Even the parts of this series that left me scratching my head were forgivable. Die Hard 2: Die Harder is probably the worst of the original 3 (there was a time that Die Hard was consider a trilogy strangely enough) and I still loved every second of it. I think I watched it a few weeks ago while the first three movies were on some marathon on one of the premium channels.
Live Free or Die Hard had its issues as well. A lot of people complained that it didn’t feel like a Die Hard movie. And I can agree to a certain extent. Originally, I didn’t like the beginning and how they shoe horned John McClane into this story. But it was still John McClane and this was still Die Hard. For all the faults that Live Free had, it is a far superior movie to A Good Day to Die Hard.
I remember buying the DVD for Live Free and listening to the commentary and that the director, Len Wiseman, came in and read the script that was written for the movie and hated it because the writers just didn’t understand the concept of Die Hard. I believe the example given within the script was that McClane walked into a Police Station and said “I’m here to help.” Which is completely against the character. He doesn’t want to be there, something has to drag him in. He’s always in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is always an accident that he just happens to be where the problem is.
I watch Live Free last week, probably a huge mistake going to see Good Day because in viewing I realized how much love and attention to the previous DH movies GD was lacking (sorry for the use of abbreviations, but I’m getting tired of writing out these ridiculous titles). Which brings me to Skip Woods.
Skip Woods, screenwriter, was the sole writer on this project (did I mention that GD was the first DH movie to be written specifically as a Die Hard movie, all the previous films had a life before they were ever tag as part of the Die Hard franchise) and I wish I can say that Mr. Woods has previously been attached to a wide array of great films, but alas I cannot. The list of movies to his name are Swordfish (didn’t mind this one actually), Hitman (never saw it, heard it was crap), X-men Origins: Wolverine (dug the nail deeper into the X-men film series with this complete piece of shit—yes, kids, A Good Day to Die Hard angered me so much that I’ve decided to curse in my blog for the first time in a long long time), and finally, The A-Team (which I gave a surprisingly positive review when it came out on DVD–Cos Reviews: The A-Team ).
And, now, sitting back and realizing that Mr. Woods wrote The A-Team, I have to believe that he must have written a pretty terrible script and only through the sheer power of a decent action director in Joe Carahan was A-Team even remotely salvageable. I guess it didn’t do that well, a sequel was never approved for it.
Getting back on Good Day, Mr. Woods did such a terrible job piecing this film together it honestly felt as if an amateur or 13 year old boy wrote this movie. Dialogue, action scenes (and their locations) nothing seemed to make any sense. I can say that these decisions don’t fall solely on the writer, since the producers and directors all have to agree on something, but Woods could have easily produced a higher quality script.
Take for example the scene at the beginning when John McClane meets up with his son Jack for the first time in a long time; McClane is a loud mouth father spewing stupid things out as Jack and the terrorist all drive right by him. I’ve never seen McClane do this! Honestly, we all know McClane is funny, but this wasn’t funny, this was as if he was in a scene with some of the Housewives of NY or NJ or Atlanta. Just a completely filter-less human being. Also, moving along with the same scene, McClane his most destructive scenes ever in this movie. He’s not even in his own country and he’s allowed to drive around crashing into cars and causing accidents and, hell, he is even driving on top of cars in one of the most ludicrous moments in a Die Hard movie that I think I’ve ever seen.
Also, not once did I see actual Russian police in this movie. Do these incidents happen and no one come to rescue anyone?
A lot of things (and yes, I know I’m not using my descriptive words here, but I want “things” to stand out because it encompasses a lot) came too easy to McClane. He just happens to be able to jump into a truck that can chase down the bad guys. He just happens to figure his way around Moscow. He just happens to be the only one who finds Jack and Komarov in the back alley as they are escaping. When they are at the CIA safehouse, the bad guys try to crash their party and without even struggling, McClane picks up the single biggest gun I think I’ve ever seen him fire and stands in one place and just shoots the bad guys as they come barging into the room as he screams out “Jerk offs!”
Seriously, just writing some of this down angers me.
But it gets better. I’m skipping ahead, because there really isn’t much to this movie. The bad guys need to go to Chernobyl, yes the same Chernobyl that had a nuclear meltdown in the 80’s because they need to access a secret vault that houses weapons grade plutonium. Why! Why did they have to go to Chernobyl? How did that makes sense. I didn’t mind the Chernobyl name drop. In fact, the plutonium could have been originally from Chernobyl. But couldn’t they have hidden it elsewhere? I’m sure there are plenty of places in Moscow that they could have hidden the plutonium. Why Chernobyl? Of course I say this and realize that Skip Woods, who wrote X-Men Origins: Wolverine, had the entire last battle of Wolverine take place at Three Mile Island. Yes, the same Three Mile Island that ALMOST had a meltdown back in the 70’s! We are also talking about 20th Century Fox, who in X-Men: The Last Stand had the entire last battle take place on Alcatraz and San Francisco. I know it’s almost essential to have major cities get destroyed in movies, but what I’m getting at are these major sights and locations that have been used as the backdrop for the final battles in these Fox made movies. We didn’t need our heroes going to fucking Chernobyl! It was stupid. It did not make any sense and it was a waste of our time!
Speaking of the ending, what the hell was up with the five minutes of a truck dangling out of a helicopter as it spun around? It was almost as if they were trying to replicate the jet spinning out of control at the end of Live Free (which was a great scene, in my opinion, very implausible, but much more plausible than this last one here). I struggle to write this as it is getting late in the evening and I realize I will most likely go to bed extremely angry. The CG during this scene was terrible and ultimately, what was up with McClane giving the finger to the helicopter as it crashed? I am truly exasperated as I’m writing this.
I can’t give all of my hate to Skip Woods as I’m sure with Joe Carahan directing The A-Team, the script was tamed and made far better with a more than capable director at the helm (remind me again why someone like Joe Carahan wasn’t the director to Good Day?). John Moore was the man responsible for directing this horrible piece of crap. His resume is very similar to Skip Woods as he is clearly also a hack studio guy. I only wish I had 20th Century Fox fit my bill and allow me to write and direct such shit that doesn’t even make back its budget or is panned so heavily by critics and fans alike that they never, EVER, green light a sequel to anything they have ever written or directed.
Am I a little bitter? Yes, you damn right I am. It has been a dream of mine to write and/or direct or hell, simply be a part of a Die Hard movie since I knew I ever even wanted to be in film. And for these two to completely shit on the entire franchise and not even understand that there is a huge fan base for this series that have expectations of what a Die Hard movie should be. These two have seemingly killed off this franchise.
Why couldn’t Fox or anyone involved with this film realize that they have a franchise here. That they could keep making these movies until the world ends. Hell, James Bond is on 23 movies and Bond movies seem to get better and better. McClane could easily pass the reigns off to his son.
Where I had wanted to go into this movie and have some inspiration to go home and write something in the vein of, I am now feverishly writing this review. I also want to go ahead and write a script that can blow this entire movie out of the water. So, with that said, I huge thank you to Skip Woods, John Moore, everyone at Fox that allowed this movie to be made and Bruce Willis.
Bruce Willis made a name for himself playing John McClane, but it is clear that he no longer wants to portray this character. He seemed utterly bored throughout this movie and had no interest even saying his lines let alone actually doing some action in scenes. This was truly one of the most distasteful part of this movie.
I really didn’t laugh during this movie, I really didn’t feel the threat of the bad guys, I didn’t understand what the hell was going on half the time because I don’t even think anyone that was making this movie actually knew what they were doing. In every other Die Hard movie you felt the danger from the terrorist; even someone like Thomas Gabriel, who was the bad guy in Live Free posed more of a threat then The Dancer or the Russian girl in this movie (I’m honestly so annoyed with Good Day that I’m not even bothering to look up their characters names). In fact, I felt so cheated by the “main bad guy” was killed off by someone before the end that it really put a bad taste in my mouth.
I’m so fired up right now I can’t even concentrate on one specific thing!
This movie was terrible. The only redeeming value in this movie was Jai Courtney playing Jack McClane. But after seeing this I don’t want to see another movie in this series with just Jack. I want to see a sixth film that rights all the wrongs made by this movie. The studio clearly wanted this film to lure a younger audience in and in the process completely alienated its core group of fans. I really don’t know anyone who remotely liked this movie in the least bit. And if I did, I’d have to ask them to go to some series therapy.
After leaving the theater, I said to Melissa how disappointed I was. She responded by saying “What did you expect?” Clearly a lot more than anyone who had their hand in making this movie.