Reviewed by Ian Forbes
To make a good film, you need several key elements to work well: Script, Direction, Acting, Cinematography, Editing and Score being some of the more obvious ones. Well, for the fifth installment of the John McClane saga, not so smartly titled A Good Day to Die Hard, none of that worked well.
The end result is such a complete travesty that after watching the final cut, the title should have been changed to A Good Day to Stay Home and Watch Something Else. The one good thing I can say about the movie is that it’s 97 minutes long … not that it doesn’t feel longer as one sits there bored and waiting for the credits to bring up the house lights so you can go home.
I’m really not that interested in making this a long review (it probably will be anyway because I consider reviews like this therapy), all you need to know is that this is easily the worst movie of the franchise. Director John Moore seems allergic to making good movies (Max Payne, Flight of the Phoenix, Behind Enemy Lines) and that continues here. Just picking apart an early car chase scene which involves a large number of potentially interesting stunts and plenty of road carnage, it’s easy to see why continuing to give this man a director’s chair seems reckless at best.
In the scene, he employs shaky cam, snap zooms, whip pans, wide shots, ultra close ups, and just about every other technique he’s seen somewhere. Between his haphazard lack of style, sound design built around volume rather than clarity, and an editor who seems to have hit shuffle to put it all together, the final product is a complete mess and a chase scene that rivals the action of last year’s clunker, Alex Cross. And this is probably the BEST scene in the movie.
In addition to action scenes devoid of any energy or enthusiasm, there’s the problem brought about by a script that’s sucked every bit of fun out of a series that’s predicated on the notion of this everyman overcoming incredible odds via a combination of luck, will, and dry wit. Going into the finale, it felt more like the midway point of another movie that understood the three-act story structure. And anytime the horse manure hits the fan, the only quip from McClane is that he’s on vacation (something audiences deserve for sitting through this dung heap … yes, the fecal references are necessary).
All this negativity and I haven’t even touched upon how discordant the score is; it’s almost as if every department of the film production has some side bet about which one could perform the worst. Providing feedback on this really isn’t all that hard. The movie is terrible … T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. It’s only the loyalty to a beloved cinematic character that elevates this above something as awful as last week’s #1 at the box office, Identity Thief (don’t get me started on how annoying it is to see such incompetence being rewarded). Seriously, if you have any desire at all to see A Good Day to Die Hard, I want you to stop, take out $20 from your wallet, and toss it in a roaring fire. That should only take a few seconds, which saves you not only an hour and a half of your lifetime but makes for a much better show.
A Good Day to Die Hard hits theaters on February 14, 2013 and is rated R for violence and language.
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