A good day to end the Die Hard series?


Photo Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Josh Baumbach and Josh Baumbach

Fifth installment of franchise feels like typical action flick

Throughout the last 15 years, the “Die Hard” franchise has maintained an upper-echelon ranking in the annals of action movie greatness. Unfortunately, this prestige may become a bit tarnished after viewing “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the fifth in the series.

The action set-pieces are still fast-paced and entertaining, but it relies on too many action movie clichés, such as the obligatory car chase scene or shootouts in broad daylight with no cops responding, to set itself apart from other action films. To its credit, the “Die Hard” series introduced many of those awesome cliché action scenes to the big screen, thus separating itself from other cookie-cutter action movies. But it needs to keep innovating to maintain relevancy.

One of the bright spots was, of course, Bruce Willis returning as John McClane. No matter who writes the script or who’s in the director’s chair, no one can take this character away from him. It is unfortunate, however, that he has to split screen time with co-star Jai Courtney, who plays his son Jack.  Maybe 21st Century Fox is trying to hand the series off to him, but that would be detrimental for one simple fact: he is boring. It is almost a chore to watch every scene that is dominated by Courtney, with the reward being a scene with Willis. When they finally work together, there is a forced father-son abandonment sub-plot that becomes tiresome almost from the inception.

The crucial missing element from “A Good Day to Die Hard” is the absence of a witty, yet threatening central villain. From Alan Rickman to Timothy Olyphant, all “Die Hard” villains were portrayed brilliantly in the previous four films. They would banter back-and-forth between Willis, and it was one of the most entertaining elements of the movies. In “Good Day,” there is a new villain introduced four times. By the time the viewer finds out who the true mastermind is, it’s over.

While “A Good Day to Die Hard” is certainly a serviceable action title, it does not feel like a “Die Hard” movie.  Unfortunately, this may ultimately determine if this franchise does indeed live up to its title, and die hard.