Most long-running movie franchises come to a point where they become little more than self parody, and for the Die Hard franchise, this fifth installment A Good Day to Die Hard, is that moment. Given the thin story, dull characters, terrible dialogue, and over-the-top, cartoonish violence, it seems it’s time to bury this franchise.
As A Good Day to Die Hard begins, John McClane (Bruce Willis) heads to Moscow to help his estranged son, Jack (Jai Courtney) who is apparently headed for prison due to some bold criminal acts. What John doesn’t know, is that his son is actually a CIA operative trying to slip a convict named Komarov (Sebastian Koch) to safety before his former partner (and current political leader) Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov) can get to him.
When John unintentionally exposes Jack’s operation, it’s up to father and son to put aside their significant differences to avoid Chagarin’s thugs, while trying to gather evidence against him. people!
Yeah, the story is flimsy. Without the presence of Willis’ now iconic character, this film would be a forgettable B-movie action flick. Willis adds to the movie’s appeal, but truth be told, he looks bored at times. It feels like Willis is just going through the motions for a nice paycheck, unconcerned with probing his character for new depth or insight. Most of his screen time not spent mowing down enemies with a stoic look on his face is spent barking at Jack like a drill sergeant rather than a concerned father. This doesn’t make for a strong emotional core, but Willis does seem to be having fun with the chaos of it all.
Jai Courtney, who had his breakout role alongside Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher, shows definite signs of being a leading action star of the future. While given some pretty terrible dialogue, Courtney has the physicality to mix it up with Willis, and enough attitude to offer up a few snarky retorts. As a character, Jack doesn’t offer much to the story. Courtney does his best to give Jack some personality, but the narrative isn’t convincing enough to entertain the idea that he could take over the Die Hard franchise.
It’s hard to recommend As A Good Day to Die Hard, though the words “Die Hard” means that some people will automatically give it a shot. Silly and forgettable, without Bruce Willis attached, I wonder if this movie would have even been made. But hey, Bruce is back, and kicking butt. Who am I to tell you not to enjoy it?
Presented in the 1.85:1, this 1080p presentation is solid. Shot digitally, the image is pretty sharp, but isn’t consistent. Color saturation levels are good, and flesh tones look natural. Black levels are excellent.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is perfect for this action heavy flick. Split effects constantly ping around the soundstage, terrific use of the LFE channel, and a magnificent spread of Marco Beltrami’s score in the fronts and rears. Dialogue is placed in the center channel.
English SDH, and Spanish subtitles are included.
The following special features are available:
- Audio Commentary: Director John Moore and first assistant director Mark Cotone discuss the challenges of making such an action-intensive movie.
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 14:28) Seven deleted scenes.
- Making It Hard to Die (HD, 1:00:22) A lengthy, 15-part making-of documentary, covering everything from the stunts and special effects to the camera work. All kinds of people are interviewed. Well worth a look.
- Anatomy of a Car Chase (HD, 26:12) A look at the opening action sequence.
- Two of a Kind (HD, 8:00) A short piece about the film’s father/son dynamic.
- Back in Action (HD, 7:06) A featurette about John McClane’s return.
- The New Face of Evil (HD, 6:57) The film’s three villains discuss their characters.
- Pre-Vis (HD, 11:36): CG animatics for three sequences, including one that didn’t make it into the film.
- VFX Sequences (HD, 5:35) A montage of visual effects plates and layers for sixteen important shots.
- Storyboards (HD, 7:12) Storyboards for five sequences.
- Concept Art Gallery (HD, 10:47) Preliminary artwork for all of the film’s locations.
- Theatrical Trailers (HD, 3:30)
- Digital Copy
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