Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard

Get out your helicopters and exploding trucks, we're reviewing A Good Day to Die Hard!
When John McClane(Bruce WIllis) finds out his son, Jack(Jai Courtney) is imprisoned in Russia, John goes down to help him, only when he finally gets there, he finds out his son is working undercover and not everything is what it seems! Explosions ensue.

Maybe I should preface this with the fact that I'm one of the few people that actually liked Die Hard 4. It's arguably the weakest film in the series and I thought it was a ton of fun. So you know when I say Die Hard 5 is a bad movie, you know I do not have high standards.  So without further ado, let me say:

Die Hard 5 is a boring confusing dumb movie.

At least in the last film, there was this feeling that John was getting old and crotchety and just wanted to break stuff in his old crotchetiness  Here, I don't even know what he's doing or why. He's running around killing terrorists with huge guns, pancaking helpless trapped commuters on a highway while continuously spouting off the same catchphrases of "I'm on vacation!" and "Jack! I'm your father!" All the while Jack is incessantly whining about his father being there, which I don't really get. Why do you hate this guy, when he's pretty clearly proven he's taken down serious terrorists at least four other times? Also, it really doesn't make sense that he keeps saying he's "on vacation" in exasperation, because he came to Russia for the sole purpose of finding his son and getting him out of trouble.

Plus, Die Hard 4 at least had Kevin Smith.  What does this have? It's a surprisingly small cast. So small, that you don't feel anything when this character or that character die.
When did John McClane become one of the immortal elder gods, able to brush off explosions like they were water? Was his hair his weakness? Because that is seriously a movie I would watch.  John McClane gets into so many car crashes I get the feeling that's just how he normally drives now. Are they trying to make a statement on why seniors shouldn't drive?

The problem with making him an invincible action hero is that there's zero tension. What made the original Die Hard so compelling is we'd see what the terrorists were doign to him, how much it hurt, and how much it pushed him to his breaking point. Contrast that with this movie in which he shrugs off every little explosion. It's boring. And it doesn't help they gave his son the same god mode cheat they gave McClane senior.

There is a definite parallel between this movie and generic Call of Modern Battlefield shooters. They've basically given John McClane and his son regenerative health.  There are a bunch of boring shooter cover missions with no story, and you just go from set piece to set piece. Everything is loud with no contrast, making it all bland and boring.

I don't know who's writing these nostalgic action films but they have to realize their villains are terrible.  I did not know or care about the main bad guy at all. Aren't bad guys suposed to be the fun ones? I had no idea what was so important about him or why I should care. There was no context for all the bad stuff he was supposedly doing, which is why when there's a twist at the end it falls flat.

Die Hard 5 is an action movie I fell asleep halfway through.  In fact, I was with three other friends, and all of us fell asleep through at least one part of it. At the end of the movie, we had to catch each other up to find out what we didn't miss.
Well that's not too-JOHN WHAT

It's funny that I saw this and Side Effects so close together, because it provided a great contrast between a good use of cinematography and a boring lazy use. With Side Effects, they use a lot of close-ups to create a tight disturbing atmosphere. You're so close to the character all the time you can feel her anxiety and desperately want the camera to zoom out just a bit so you can breathe a little. Die Hard 5 on the other hand, is just confusing and boring. In the big chase scene at the beginning, the camera jolts from one close-up to another close-up to another close-up and then to a single wide shot and back to close-ups and you have no idea what's going on and where anyone is in the action and who's bumping in to who and oh Batman who cares anymore. It took me five minutes in this ten minute long chase to figure out who the hell is chasing who. Also, it's bad when your action hero is doing more colateral damage in another country than the bad guys do.

And can we talk about the magic radiation netralizing gun? Because they have a magical radiation neutralizing gun(or MRNG).  They go to Chernobyl and the bad guys whip out their MRNG and "neutralize" the radiation so it's ok for everyone to take off their suits and film the rest of the movie in sexy tattered clothing. Um what? They have that? WHY ARE THEY WASTING TIME STEALING RADIOACTIVE WHATEVER AND JUST SELLING THAT GUN?!! Also, John McClane drops into some clearly radioactive water and walks out fine. Are you sure this scene wasn't supposed to go in the front of the movie to explain why he can no longer die? Because he's radioactive wolverine?

Y'know, I really did want to like this movie, because it's Bruce Willis and Bruce Willis is Bruce Willis, and there are even some good action points in here. Some crashes in the beginning and the finale isn't half bad.  It's kind of hilarious when they jump off a building in slo-mo and wave to a crashing helicopter. But there's really no reason why you should see this. There's no tension, and the action is boring. You can see so many other better movies, especially in the Die Hard series.
Seriously Jack, what is your problem. 

THE GOOD: Bruce Willis is in it, a couple of good crashes, finale is alright

THE BAD: Boring, confusing story that no one cares about, poorly written, bad action scenes, bad cineptography, things don't make sense, John McClane is invincible, twist falls flat.

THE VERDICT: $$ Don't bother. If you really want to see it because you're a Bruce Willis/Die Hard fan, wait until it comes out on netflix or cable. There's no reason you need to go out and spend money on this. Seriously, I fell asleep.

MOVIES LIKE IT: The Last Stand, The Expendables, Bullet to the Head, Jack Reacher, Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare, Die Hard

ONE-SCENE METAPHOR: At one point the bad guy goes to Jack, "Haha, you may have captured me, but will your father survive??" Um, by now, John McClane has gotten out of three car crashes, a few dozen firefights, and jumping off a building. I think he'll be alright. Oh sorry movie, were you trying to create tension? BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T.

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