Let’s get this out there right from the top…I am a huge Die Hard fan. From the 1988 original, to the recent sequel, I love John McClane. He is the under dog action super hero. Like many franchises, the original will always be remembered as the best. Each entry since has had its flaws, while still maintaining to entertain its core audience.
I say “core” audience because to the average movie goer, A Good Day To Die Hard will not blow you away. However, for a true blue Die Hard fan, it is simply a pure joy to see John McClane on the big screen once again blasting a 12 gauge shot-gun to the classic Die Hard orchestra soundtrack that we have grown to love since the original 25 years ago. You see, to Die Hard fans, these characters are family. We watched as our hero went through hell to save his wife in the original and again in the 1990 Die Hard 2 sequel. We saw what could be the end of his marriage in my favorite film in the franchise, the 1995 Die Hard With A Vengence. Then it was all over. The trilogy was finished…or so we thought.
Many fans including myself were beyond excited when news hit that after 12 years, Mr. McClane was back for the 2007 Live Free or Die Hard! Like the rest before, I was there in the cold and dark theater with a big reunion smile on my face watching as I learned what was new with the McClane family. To sum it up…John McClanes kids have grown up.
The film begins with introducing us to Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) who is now all grown up and is an agent for the C.I.A. and on a secret mission in Moscow, Russia to testify at court in a trial between a crooked Russian Government official named Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov) and a political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch) who has knowledge that could end the career of Chagarin. Enter Mr. John McClane (Bruce Willis) who shows up at the court fresh from the airport to be there for his son who he hasn’t seen in years and has no clue he is even in the C.I.A. (hey nobody said Mr. McClane was father of the year). The action picks up right here and grabs you and doesn’t let go until the ending credits (save for a few dad and son talks) when a bomb goes off at the court and fate brings Yuri under the protection of both the McClanes.
As usual, I won’t spoil the plot, but by the time the court scene is wrapped up, you are in for a fun ride from an awesome classic John McClane highway chase scene, safe houses that are the exact opposite of the word “safe”, a classic Die Hard plot twist, and an epic showdown in Chernobyl, Ukraine, with a small terrorist army. Give director John Moore some credit here, despite the mixed reviews (mostly negative), I thought the action scenes were done quite well. He doesn’t over use the stereotypical Hollywood “slow motion” effects and the pacing between the dialogue and action is accomplished fairly well, although a bit unbalanced at times.
The Blu-ray is up to your standard HD expectations, but the sound is the real reason you will be proud to add this to you Die Hard collection. Gun shots echo with your surround sound speakers, helicopter blades whirl at you, car crashes “crash” though your speakers, and the classic Die Hard soundtrack shows up right on point during the action scenes. The usual “making of” documentaries and deleted scenes as well as an extended cut round out the special features. Nothing amazing, but is still nice to have. Is this the best of the Die Hard films? No. Is it the worst? That my friends is a trick question. Die Hard fans will always find a way to be entertained by watching John McClane fighting terrorist with his bloody and dirty shirt with gun in hand yelling “yippee ki yay mother f–kers!”
I give A Good Day To Die Hard a flawed, yet solid 2 1/2 out of 4 throwing stars.