5 O’clock Review: A Good Day To Die Hard

The fifth installment in the Die Hard series is an all together family affair. As well as being certified by the BBFC as a 12A rated film it also features John  “Jack” McClane Jr (Jai Courtney) as an accomplice to John Snr’s most recent attempt to foil a major terrorist plot…this time in Russia. Andy Millar tells us why A Good Day To Die Hard should be enjoyed on its family-friendly merits…

Derided by many critics as essentially a zombie movie featuring an undead John McClane (the 57 year-old Bruce Willis), AGDTDH follows the Father-Son duo around the many twists and turns that accompany a CIA operative (Jack McClane) and vacationing senior citizen-cum-cop John McClane unloading and exploding their way through Moscow trying to stop top secret nuclear information from falling into the hands of the bad guys.

 

And while it cannot be expected to live up to the 1988 cult classicDie Hard or the impressive second sequel Die Hard With A Vengeance, the new movie does provide something different. By curbing the gratuity of its violence and the tenor of its bad language AGDTDH scrapes into a 12A classification. This provides the film with a certain level of approachability for family audiences that cannot be claimed even as recently as Die Hard 4.0.

There are both positive and negative points that are attendant on the 12A rating. On the plus side it can act as a genuinely entertaining family film packed full of car chases, special effects, slow motion action and just about as much cursing and lewd references as you would get by taking your kids on public transport (or a school playground for that matter).

In this sense it can become a brilliant way to bring a younger generation of fans to the cult franchise, exposure to which seems to be de rigueur for ‘movie buff’ status. On the downside of course is that at 12A A Good Day To Die Hardcannot hope to emulate the first Die Hard. Nor can McClane finish his infamous catchphrase. Indeed…

But is arguable to what extent this can be seen as a downside. If fans want a remake of the 1988 classic then they would be more disappointed. Willis is now far too old to perform the stunts or carry the same adrenaline-packed performance that that sort of movie would demand. Willis is both comfortable and effective in his deep-lying play-maker role in this new movie, content to pull the strings in the background while new kid on the block Jai Courtney kicks ass in the box (to extend a metaphor).

Its a lot like supporting Liverpool in the 80s and then watching them play these days. Its never really going to compare. If fans of the original want something akin to the original they should really just re-watch it. Then they should bring their kids to see A Good Day To Die Hard and then tell stories about how good Willis was during his Nakatomi exploits. Then in a minimum of 7 years they could watch a screening of Die Hardtogether and the young ones could appreciate the classic – already familiar with the series. Failing that they could go home and stick Die Hard on the DVD player while you’re not looking.

All in all A Good Day To Die Hard is a very different animal to the original Die Hard, and one that’s lot more family friendly. Yipee-Ki-Yay-Mother and Father!

Andy Millar

Alternative take on promotional material for AGDTDH from teh Grosvenor Cinema's Fraser McFadzean

Alternative take on promotional material for AGDTDH from teh Grosvenor Cinema’s Fraser McFadzean

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