A Good Day to Die Hard [Die Hard5] (2013)

(On Cable TV, May 2014) The Die Hard series has had its high and lows, but if everyone agrees that the first one was the best, then everyone will recognize that this fifth one is the worst. A joyless action film in which a bland action hero traipses through Russia while insulting the Russians and reminding everyone that he’s supposed to be on holidays, Die Hard 5 becomes the generic end-point of any distinctive series: a film that could have featured any other actors with any other character names. To be fair, Die Hard 5‘s problems are much bigger than simply ignoring the character of John McClane: Much of the blame should go to a dumb script, with the rest generously gift-wrapped by director John Moore’ incoherent action sequences. There are few words to describe how stupid a screenplay this is, marred with coincidences, generic situations, implausible choices and tortured plans far too complicated to be viable. Die Hard 5 seems to be stuck with only one helicopter as an action device, and seems to milk its presence well past the point of diminishing return. The action sequences can’t be bothered to spatially orient viewers, instead relying on copious shaking, dishwater-gray cinematography and blatant disregard for plausibility. The car chase around Moscow, which should have been a standout sequence in any other movie, is here shot in such an incomprehensible fashion that it becomes irritating less than midway through. While Die Hard 5 would have us believe into some good-old father/son rivalry, the result on-screen is more annoying than rewarding, and the CIA plot thread is never believable enough. What a waste, what a sad footnote to a good film franchise and what a disappointment for everyone involved. Bruce Willis, surely you knew better?

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