A Good Day To Die Hard

tn_diehard5BruceA GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD is directed by John Moore. His previous films are BEHIND ENEMY LINES, FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX, THE OMEN REMAKE, and MAX PAYNE. Not great. The screenplay is solely credited to Skip Woods. His entire previous filmography is THURSDAY, SWORDFISH, HITMAN, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and THE A-TEAM. So… this is what happens.

I love DIE HARD like I love air, and nothing is as good as it. But I’m easier on the sequels than most people. I feel like we made an agreement as soon as we were okay with The Same Shit Happening To the Same Guy Twice that we would accept increasing levels of absurdity in order to continue our relationship with John McClane. I kinda hold the sequels separate from the original in my mind. They’re not untouchable, but I enjoy watching them.

I always loved part 2, as trashy as it is in rehashing the formula of the first one but with Renny Harlin excessiveness. And I always loved part 3 even though it stretches the credibility more than before. It’s a well made movie, lots of great shit in there to make up for any shortcomings. An exciting movie every time I watch it. I was real worried about part 4, and ended up relieved. There’s way more to forgive than in the others (oh jesus the Kevin Smith scene), but McClane is still cool and Justin Long is actually kinda funny and there are some well put together action sequences like the fight with Maggie Q and the stuff with the parkour guy. Lesser, but fun.

This is the first one that I actually didn’t like. This is not a good DIE HARD movie or a good non-DIE HARD movie. It has moments, that’s the best I can say for it. I tried to like it.

mp_diehard5The story has John McClane, still NYPD, finding out that his estranged son John Jr. (Jai Courtney) is on trial for murder in Moscow. He goes there to see if he can help, but gets there just in time to see an attack on the courthouse, and his son and another prisoner driving off. They’re being shot at, but he thinks they’re escaping. So he steals a truck and goes on a massive car chase, destroying millions of dollars worth of property, probly maiming dozens of innocent people, getting into massive car wrecks and having rockets shot at him. And this is where my heart sunk. Not because of the complete lack of motivation for this huge set piece – it’s not clear what he thinks is going on, or why he thinks what he’s doing will help, or how he even knows where to drive in Moscow. That’s dumb, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that one that we action fans always face now, the one that makes us hesitant to watch modern action movies, because we don’t know if they’re gonna be interested in showing any action.

Yes, I’m afraid the greatest American action movie of all time now has a sequel that’s a post-action movie. They spent a long time on this traffic sequence and used practical stunts and you can imagine them looking at the dailies and shitting themselves when they saw that none of their footage was useable. But the truth is this was not incompetence. The action scenes in MAX PAYNE aren’t like this. This style was a deliberate choice. A deliberate, befuddling, terrible choice.

I’ve written this rant a thousand times already, and a couple times just now that I mercifully deleted so you wouldn’t have to read it all. We’re all sick of seeing it and complaining about it. This should be a great sequence, instead it’s McClane and McClane Jr. and Russian Bad Guy all in different vehicles in different places with no visual information to tell us where they are in relationship to each other, and even when it’s just showing them inside the car driving the camera has to pan and zoom and shake for no reason other than to prevent any sort of visual information from being communicated to the audience to tell a story and create entertainment.

I think there might even be a new innovation in destroying the language of action cinema here. He keeps doing these wide shots like establishing shots, except nothing is established because it lasts for about half a second and is zooming either in or out really fast. Let’s call those “disestablishing shots.”

I guess I took it for granted after Len Wiseman did some good action scenes in part 4 that nobody on earth was low enough to squoosh the chase scene from THE ROCK onto the one from QUANTUM OF SOLACE and try to pass it off as a DIE HARD. Somewhere in the middle of this scene I threw in the towel, and knew the best I could hope for the rest of the movie would be some good parts here or there, which is all I got. As far as I can remember there weren’t any completely solid action sequences. The last one is probly the closest to good. You’re not gonna want to hear this, but the best action bits are matrixy slo-mo shots of CGI McClane jumping off of things.

If the action was shot well it might be a fun movie, but the story is a big problem too. A big part of the joy in any DIE HARD movie or DIE HARD rip off is the master plan that the villains come up with, right? Here the plan is they kidnapped this prisoner, and they want him to get a file so he can’t smear some other guy.

There’s that section of every DIE HARD movie where the villains are going through the steps – getting through levels of security, moving equipment to where it needs to be, sending in people in disguises, talking to the authorities to mislead them, whatever. In A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD that section is… they’re going to the place where the file is. The place is Chernobyl, but so what? They wear protective suits for a while, and you can’t tell who’s who. Then they’re in a room with some crates. Not that exciting.

There are a few twists that make it more interesting, but not enough more interesting. This is not a villainous plot worthy of John McClane’s reluctant heroism. Maybe that’s why his boy does most of the work, and why they wrap things up 34 minutes faster than in the original.

I should also note that the heroism is not all that reluctant anymore. He’s kind of stuck, he doesn’t really have a choice, but he seems excited for the challenge. I don’t hate that as much as I’m sure alot of people will. They’re trying to have the character evolve, and show that he has an awareness of all these incidents that he’s been involved in, and how he’s reacted to them. And because of that he’s able to be proud of his son being a CIA agent (spoiler?) and encourage him and have his back. The McClanes talking about emotions is actually better than most of the parts where they’re shooting at people. Too bad it’s not consistent. John makes fun of his son’s injuries, doesn’t seem to give a shit about it. It would be better if he cared.

They talk about his tendency to improvise plans, as if it’s his preferred style and not just his circumstances. But his improvising here is never as desperate as tying a firehose around his waist. In fact, he knows he can jump out of anything and not bother with that, he’ll be fine. And he’s easily equipped with a large arsenal. He doesn’t have to be as resourceful.

They’re trying to make it a DIE HARD movie by having them both get beaten to shit and covered in blood and keep going. McClane probly takes his most ever damage in this installment (2 car wrecks, multiple window crashes, falling out a building, falling out a helicopter, I don’t remember what else) but all injuries are cosmetic. He should be permanently disabled in the next one.

Jai Courtney is pretty good. He’s a credible badass and believably unamused by his dad, but not in a whiny way. And then they start to bond so there’s not too much bickering. I like that manly men are starting to be in movies again, and when you consider Justin Long in part 4 (and for that matter Erika Eleniak and Morris Chestnut in the two UNDER SIEGEs) it’s kind of refreshing to see a sidekick who’s supposed to be formidable. On the other hand maybe it’s a misjudgment, because his size really shows how small Bruce is, and his constant presence makes it feel like a team movie, not a John McClane movie. The only part where McClane got to do DIE HARD shit on his own was that truck chase where you couldn’t see what was going on anyway. Jeez, if they do make a part 6 I hope they let him be by himself again. As it is it’s starting to be hard to recognize him as McClane and not some other Bruce character.

Back when LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD was on the way and we found out it was gonna be a PG-13 I personally made a big stink about it. This one is rated-R (although I understand it’s been cut down in the UK). But to be honest I don’t think it’s much harsher than the PG-13 one. Probly a little more blood. He does (for some reason) say the famous catch phrase, motherfucker and all. (Afterwards he should mutter, “That’s just a thing I like to say sometimes when this kinda thing happens.”) I don’t remember other cursing. And I noticed that a tame bit of gratuitous sexiness that’s in the trailer, where the woman on the motorcycle is switching clothes and you see her underwear, was trimmed in the actual movie. That’s kind weird. What’s weirder is that the way those scenes are edited in the trailer, with the classical music and everything, is much more cinematic than how they present them in the opening of the actual movie. The trailer editors did a better job.

I am a positive individual so I gotta say that there are a few things in this movie that I genuinely did like. The main one is conceptual. I like that part 4 was all about Lucy McClane, so now John Jr. gets part 5. Near the beginning Mary Elizabeth Winstead cameos as Lucy, dropping her dad off at the airport, and you see that they’re very close now. So it reminds us that he made up with his daughter in the last one and now his goal is to make up with his son, who he hasn’t seen in years, and who will only call him “John” most of the time.

There’s even a fatherhood motif. It’s silly, but I like it. McClane confesses to the Russian billionaire they’re trying to protect that he worked too much and was never there for his son. The billionaire sounds like he has similar problems, but later we see that his daughter is fanatically dedicated to him. But from the look on her face it seems like she wants to jump his bones. It’s hard to tell what’s going on there actually but it probly fits in somehow.

In the one really good villain scene, Alik (Rash Bukvic from TAKEN and LARGO WINCH) does a goofy little tap dance as he kicks the guns away from the handcuffed McClanes, and he jokes that he could’ve been a dancer. “But nobody supported me.” It seems like he’s trying to be funny but telling the truth. If only his dad would’ve understood him and encouraged him he’d maybe be touring with a ballet company instead of shooting at our guys. Maybe he’d even be the John McClane type who has to save the day when separatists try to kidnap the Russian premiere during Swan Lake. Come on, dads. Man up!

I actually thought Bukvic was gonna pan out to be a decent DIE HARD villain. He has a good presence and in that scene he’s really funny, for some reason snacking on a carrot during his first face-to-face with John McClane. Unfortunately we don’t really see that much personality after that or find out anything more about him. It’s just that one scene where they seem to care about him as a character.

There’s a pretty good scene before the shit hits the fan where John is in a taxi, talking to the driver. It’s got some funny moments and it’s a human scene, it reminds me of the first two DIE HARDS where he’s arrived in a different city and talks with a driver. I didn’t think about it until later that this scene also might be sort of an in-joke as they discuss Frank Sinatra, who played Leland in the movie of The Detective, which of course No One Lasts Forever (and by extension DIE HARD) was a sequel to. He was the original John McClane.

I’m glad I at least got some little moments to appreciate there, but it’s not enough. And now we’re stuck with either the series going out on this sour note, or risking more installments that could very well be as bad or worse. I would like to see them do one more that makes a satisfying ending to the series. I think they should wait a while so that Bruce is significantly older. By then McTiernan will be a free man and maybe he’d be interested in directing. It should be more down to earth and he should be alone and isolated in his last battle. Like a ROCKY BALBOA for the John McClane character. Maybe a little GRAN TORINO. Because if you think about it he actually does have one piece of unfinished business.

DIE HARD was all about his family, how he’d fucked it up and was trying to repair things. In the sequels he blew it even more and got divorced. But in the 21st Century Not-As-Good series so far he’s rebuilt his relationships with Lucy and John Jr. Now it’s only logical that the series end with him patching things up with Holly. They don’t have to get back together, and probly shouldn’t. But he should make peace with her, and the family should be together at the end (hopefully not at his funeral), and that’s that.

If they can’t get McT, here’s plan B. Holly is on vacation in Thailand with her new husband, or maybe she’s making a deal there for Nakatomi, or whoever she works for now. It has to be Thailand because if it’s not McT it has to be some of the crazy fuckers who made ONG BAK and BORN TO FIGHT and all those movies. No Hollywood people allowed on set. Dudes in Bruce Willis masks getting knocked off trucks for real. Stunt people getting shot through the air by real explosions. Total insanity. And John Jr. is in a coma or something for most of the movie so McClane is on his own.

Also, come on man, Al Powell cameo please. They can have a barbecue together or something. Let’s do this.

But not until you’re ready to do it right. Let’s all try to learn from what happened in Russia.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 14th, 2013 at 2:52 am and is filed under Action, Bruce, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

216 Responses to “A Good Day To Die Hard”

  1. caruso_stalker217

    February 14th, 2013 at 3:01 am

    I am going to see this today for some reason.

  2. Ah, what a shame.

  3. Sucks to hear that, but since I belong to the people who hated part 4 a lot, my expectations were already lowered anyway.

    My idea for another DIE HARD sequel, was always an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 type of movie, with McClane, his family and some of his friends (Al Powell, Zeus Carver, maybe even whatever Justin Long’s character was named as his new son in law) celebrating Johns retirement, as their house gets attacked by a vicious street gang. (For whatever reason. Maybe something harmless, like John arresting one of their leaders a few days ago.) And then of course shit goes down, all in one single location, with some of the characters who we haven’t seen for a while.

  4. Thanks for the review Vern, and it’s too bad you didn’t enjoy it. I’ve been psyched for this movie for quite awhile, and now I’m all but ready to consign it to a rental. Damn shame.

    I can understand a regular action movie falling short, or verging on absurdity, or being otherwise substandard… but for fuck’s sake, this is a DIE HARD MOVIE. To screw it up this badly is almost a sin.

  5. I was waiting for your review to decide. Now it´s official: I’m not watching this in theatre.

  6. I was already going to wait and rent it, but now I don’t think I’ll even bother watching it on DVD. I mean, what’s the point? What’s a Die Hard movie without visible action?

  7. It’s the end of an era, people. I just watched The Package with Steve Austin and Dolph Lundgren, and Dolph now has to use a stunt double just to look like he can move fast in the fight scenes. And now this!

  8. Pegsman— That’s probably more Jesse Johnson’s fault than it is Lundgren’s. Dolph didn’t use a double at all in his fight with Scott Adkins in Day of Reckoning, and that fight was awesome. Lots of great, fast hand-to-hand stuff.

    Jesse Johnson has never been all that great at shooting fight scenes. It’s just not his thing.

  9. what a bummer, I used to think a lot of this post action business had to do with them trying to avoid R or NC-17 ratings by not showing clear images of guys getting shot up and whatnot, but now that they even do it for a typical car chase I have no idea what they’re thinking, maybe it’s just laziness?

    anyway while we’re throwing Die Hard sequel ideas, if his ex-wife still works for Nakatomi, how about have her visit the Nakatomi headquarters in Tokyo for a conference and run into some bad guys? (and thus McClane would have to save the day again) it wouldn’t have to be entirely set in a skyscraper again though, maybe it could start there and move somewhere else

  10. I like to imagine other Bruce Willis films are the real sequels to Die Hard which actually further his character. In my mind the Die Hard films go like this….

    1: Die Hard – obviously

    2: Die Hard 2: Die Harder – still canon.

    3: Last Boy Scout = Die Hard 3… After the events of the 2nd Die Hard, John McClane has left the police force (maybe fired) and moved to LA to be with his wife and becomes a Private Detective, keep rest of the film the same with his wife cheating on him, the football/drugs/gambling angle. But only changes needed would be he has 2 kids in this film but maybe up the stakes to an assassination attempt on the President. End of film McClane is offered his Job back in New York…

    4: Die Hard With A Vengeance – same film.

    5: Hostage = Die Hard 5…. after the events of Die Hard With A Vengeance a broken McClane takes a job as a Police Chief in a small town, the family hostage situation kicks off. McClane is blackmailed into getting involved as his Daughter has been kidnapped by a Criminal Syndicate… only real change I would make is after the house/hostage situation is done have McClane go after the Syndicate in a bigger showdown or better yet have the Syndicate retrieve the DVD which contains a Computer Programme that they can use for the next film

    6: Die Hard 4.0 (aka A Good Day to Die Hard) – :)

  11. Sucks to hear this, but it’s a good and honest review from someone who really knows how a Die Hard movie should be. Maybe you can direct Die Hard 6, Vern….ha ha

  12. Shane Black should write/direct Die Hard 6: The Final Chapter

  13. I´ll be watching this in the next hour so I will put reading the review on hold until after the show. But i am kinda scared now of what i am about to get exposed too.

  14. Vern’s review is not really surprising, but still sad. Although I hated DH4 I had some reasonably high hopes for this latest one, for some reason.

    As the famous saying goes, hope springs eternal when it comes to new installments of much loved action film franchises, I guess.

    As a Brit, even if Vern had raved about this I still wouldn’t see it at the cinema as it’s been cut for UK audiences to a 12-A, meaning I’d have to wait for the home release that’s “too hot for cinemas”.

    Ah well, we’ll always have part 1, fellas.

  15. RawBeard – You forgot 16 BLOCKS. That cop was more John McClane than McClane ever was in LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD.

    I was waiting for this review because I wasn’t sure I was interested in seeing LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD 2 considering how mixed I always was on the last one. Now I know to just avoid. A DIE HARD without coherent geography during it’s set pieces is not a DIE HARD I’m ever interested in going to see at the big screen.

  16. Broddie I was going to say 16 blocks also. That is the unofficial Die Hard 4 for me. These last 2 look nothing like the Die Hard I know and love. At least we have the original trilogy and these crappy movies can never erase them. I thought after seeing Willis actually acting(caring) again in Looper that maybe he might get back to actually being the McClane he should be. Once I saw all of the smiling in trailer I knew that wasn’t true. The character should grow but he should never become a smiling indestructible Tom Cruise character. McClane is an everyman and it should always be that way.

  17. Broddie: 16 Blocks is also closer to what the real McClane would have ended up like in later years. Great performances in that movie, even if the ending is a bit off.

  18. Broddie and Chitown I did think about including 16 Blocks but it totally escaped my mind when I was writing my comment, Doh!… 16 Blocks would fit nicely between Die Hard with a Vengeance and Hostage. Maybe what happens in 16 Blocks is what breaks him and forces him to take a quiet job in a quiet town and then the plot of Hostage happens.

  19. Saw this at a press screening Tuesday night. Heartbreakingly bad. It was the first time I’ve actually had to say the words “I hate a DIE HARD movie.” The plot is illogical, the villains are immemorable and I felt it was a total dismissal of everything the franchise stood for. And even the action is bland, except for a few striking shots here and there (there’s a nice little echo of Hans Gruber’s demise near the end).

    I hated this movie so much that I actually WANT them to make a sixth, just so this isn’t the last McClane installment.

    Oddly enough, I was thinking about a possible sequel earlier as well and my thoughts weren’t too different than Vern’s. John McClane is older and, in my idea, he’s actually putting things back together with Holly. They’re on vacation at a resort (not necessarilly Thailand) trying to start over and, of course, he screws things up. Maybe there’s a reference that while he always does these heroic things, he runs away from fighting with her, never sticks it out. And, of course, the shit hits the fan, terrorists attack (with a GOOD plan this time) and it’s just brutal and confined. And, of course, the film ends with John proving himself to Holly…but they, of course, start bickering at the end. Maybe they’re even visiting Al Powell, who’s working as a security guard at the resort; I dunno. But I agree, the only way to end this series is to bring it full circle and bring back Holly.

    But given the way the series has gone, I guess we’re going to get McClane in space.

  20. Jai Courtney does great work in spartacus the tv series; which, incidentally, is kind of an amazing show.

  21. I was kind of looking forward to this movie. I’m kind of sad that is not a very good one. I’m going to watch it anyway. I got a thing for bald guys.

  22. This is hugely disheartening…figured it was a long shot, but I was hoping you’d give it the “you know, it’s actually not that bad and at least feels like a Die Hard” stamp of semi-approval. I figured it must be bad, having been dumped into theaters mid-February with so little advertising. But still – why just shit out a McClane adventure? Especially with Part 5’s getting a jolt in the ass with the last Fast & Furious, I guess I had a small hope for some kind of miracle. This review buries those hopes entirely. Damn.

    Has Bruce forsaken us?

  23. There is great action hidden deep beneath the visual mess that is DIE HARD 5. Those are my initial reactions of just watching the movie. I will meditate on it further.

  24. TheIncredibleGrowingMan

    February 14th, 2013 at 9:31 am

    So, John Williams and Unknown Actor Playing His CIA Kid go from Moscow to Chernobyl in this one? Let me guess, it’s that Hollywood Chernobyl that’s located in Russia, right? And it’s actually named “Chernobyl” rather than Pripyat’, too?

  25. I really feel like the crazy guy who keeps talking about the government spying on you and being correct when I keep telling you Len Wiseman is really good at directing action scenes. Watch the pilot of Hawaii 5.0 and you’ll see how he loves to direct long take shots where you can see what is going on. I won’t pretend he is a good director where his instincts for scripts and what not come into play but he’s one of the very few directors that actually shows you what is going on. I enjoy Live Free and Die Hard as an actual action movie.

    My other point is whenever I see anybody talk about how much they think Die Hard 2 stinks. It’s enormously unfair to use the words “it’s not as good as Die Hard” because it’s almost impossible to be just as good as Die Hard. It’s easy to compare because but it’s completely unfair. Die Hard 2 is awesome as a movie by itself. Die Hard 3 is pretty awesome too. And you all know I really like part 4.

    Side note, people talk about how mad they are that McClane is like a super hero now. Even in the first movie he’s doing things regular human beings couldn’t do. Grabbing onto the duct in the elevator shaft is total phony balogna. He seems to fall a good distance and doesn’t even seperate his shoulder or hurt his fingers? That’s some super hero shit man.

  26. I was thinking about the same thing Vern mentioned in the review. That the two recent movies were about John patching up his family and then in the next movie all that is left in Holly. So part 4 could actually be the start of a second trilogy of films.Very symmetrical.

  27. “Side note, people talk about how mad they are that McClane is like a super hero now. Even in the first movie he’s doing things regular human beings couldn’t do. Grabbing onto the duct in the elevator shaft is total phony balogna. He seems to fall a good distance and doesn’t even seperate his shoulder or hurt his fingers? That’s some super hero shit man.”

    It’s been a while since I seen it but I believe this was all actually explained in Die Hard Unbreakable.

  28. Did anybody else notice how the left side of Bruce Willis’s face seems to be higher up than the right in the Blu-Ray collection link Karlos posted?

  29. My idea for DH6

    Have The Gennero/McClane’s attending a family wedding (Lucy and Matt?) on a cruise ship that gets taken over by baddies. McClane and son then kick unholy ass in a single, but very large and varied, location. Who cares if it mashes up Speed 2 and Under Siege, just get a good scripter and bring McT back when he’s out of the clink.

    You could legitimately bring back old favourites like Al Powell, Zeus and the guy who lives under the runways at Dulles as wedding guests.

    It would be forced to happen in the songle location, bringing it full circle yet still allowing for total mayhem.

    You could still have an elevator scene.

    It would allow John to finally reconnect with (a now remarried) Holly, like has has with Lucy and Jack. This would help make his life somewhat more whole, which he frankly deserves.

    Fuck it, have the baddies be the younger Grubers or something, using the revenge plot to mask the true crime again.

    End it on a high note, then call it quits for good. Job done.

  30. Sternshein – Wiseman would make a great second unit guy for sure, as would PWS Anderson. I love the clarity of their action, just keep them away from actors and story!

  31. Wait – what if the cruise ship was owned by Nakatomi? That would be cool.

  32. I’m not the kinda guy who would actually boycott a movie, being a complete movie theatre nut. I go to the big screen once a week, so I watch a lot of shit, even the stuff I know I’m probably not gonna like.

    But I just don’t feel like watching this. Feels like I’m gonna waste 2 hours of my life and just walk out of the theatre pissed off. Just not worth it.

    John Moore should be put in the same shameful corner where we left guys like Troy Duffy. Who the hell decided he was good enough for Die Hard?

  33. As much as I agree with everybody that the Die Hard series needs to get back to its roots, I’m not sure a direct imitation of the plot of the original is the way to go.

    For me, it’s always been weird that they still haven’t done one of these that’s just about him being a cop. It’s an action movie job. He’s an action movie character. It makes sense. And yes, he was on the job in part 3, but that movie was about him being specifically targeted by Hans Gruber’s brother. He could have been an accountant, and the plot still would have been the same: John McClane running around, doing odd jobs for the villain.

    I’d like to see a Die Hard 6 where he’s back in New York, in his element, working a case that leads to some kind of crazy paramilitary group and a huge action-packed climax. Maybe Holly’s in town to consult at the Nakatomi office in Manhattan, and they’re trying to patch things up, but the case keeps getting in the way. And when the villains decide to go after McClane, they know all about him and his family from all those news stories, and Holly becomes a target. Directed by John Hyams. Rated R. Starts Friday.

  34. Anyone else disappointed McClane’s son wasn’t played by JGL with fake nose and everything?

  35. The worst use of shakycam was in this movie. And its the closeups during the carchase. It was so bad I had to turn my head away because my eyes were so uncomfortable with what was happening on the screen. The rest of the movie is pretty shitty in that aspect too, but not THAT bad. Fuck this movie. The plot was painfully bad, the wisecracks as well as almost everything else. The carchase could have been great if edited and shot so ordinary human beings could follow what happens on screen. I saw brief glimpses of awesome car stunts,m but I have no recollection of the flow of the events during that scene.

    It was a good day to suck hard but a bad day for decent action.

    Also, a spy thriller with convoluted backstory set in bleak eastern european locations with aforementioned shitty camerawork. What actor do we usually associate with that?

  36. The weird thing is I’ve read a couple interviews with John Moore, and I really like what he says about DIE HARD and what he’s trying to do. And he keeps saying that he doesn’t know yet if they were successful and that he loves DIE HARD so much that it will be “tragic” if people don’t like it. So I kinda feel bad for him. But also bad for the world because this is the new DIE HARD we get.

  37. I went into the movie theatre with positive thinking. FUCK. POSITIVE .THINKING. From now on I am going to assume every goddamn movie suck and then go from there.

  38. The last two DIE HARDs were made under Tom Rothman’s leadership, so maybe if they make another one, it will be better. (Yeah, optimism…)

  39. The news that Die Hard 5 is bad is legitimately depressing. On the one hand, I knew this would be the case, but somehow it doesn’t soften the blow. I didn’t really like Die Hard 4, but it did have some well shot action scenes. I could reasonably watch it a second time if I felt like going through the entire series. But to have a Die Hard movie with few if any redeeming qualities, that’s something else. I wish they would treat the Die Hard series with the same level of respect as the recent Bond movies. Even Quantum of Solace, the worst of the last three, had some great moments. If there’s a 6th film, then Fox should seriously think about getting an artsy director in the same vein as Mendes. It’s funny how these art house directors have been showing up the action directors these days. Come on, guys, you’re getting the crap kicked out of you on your own turf.

  40. RBatty024 – That’s a good point. Last year Mendes and Soderbergh made every mainstream hollywood action director look like freaking amateurs. Then again that’s what happens when you approach every film you take on with a lot of care and respect regardless of genre. A lot of action directors just don’t have that type of passionate discipline.

  41. After the public rightly rejected the visual clusterfuck that was QUANTUM OF SOLACE I thought we’d seen the last of post-action for a while, but if anything it’s gotten even worse. I can kind of see the point of it in certain types of films (I thought it worked okay in THE GREY), but visual coherence seems like such a huge sacrifice to make for you-are-there immediacy, especially in action films, which are supposed to be about communicating, you know, action. For me, a decent action scene needs to pass the mute test.

    I’ve seen some articles that say it’s something to do with young people having the ability to process visual information faster. Video games get the blame a lot, which, as someone who has played games since the Atari 2600, I don’t get. Video games are all about smooth, unbroken camera movements that communicate action as quickly and cleanly as possible. A post-action videogame would be unplayable. If anything, video games have more in common with the single-take action scenes in UNISOL: REGEN or CHILDREN OF MEN than post-action nonsense like QUANTUM.

    I spoke to someone who likes the post-action style, and she compared it to being on a roller-coaster. She wants to be overwhelmed by images and sound. Not knowing what is going on is a plus, the same way that if you weren’t thrown about in your seat during a theme park ride you’d probably feel ripped off. The fact that you can’t properly communicate a narrative, as my favourite action scenes do, is irrelevant to her. She might as well be saying she enjoys having nails hammered through her hands, Unisol-style, as I can’t understand this at all.

  42. These last 2 movies were all about putting McClane into post-action movies. “OMG John is facing Parkour fighters and hackers man. It’s totally 21st century.” This new one speaks for itself through the trailers. But I do have to agree with Sternshein on the Wiseman.

    The first UNDERWORLD bored me and I never finished it but the second one had some crisp action. So did DIE HARD 4. I couldn’t stand the presence of Justin Long but goddammit I bared with it because you know? jet planes vs trucks and all that shit and it actually LOOKED cool if at times over the top. I have a lot of issues with that movie but one of them was not incoherent action.

    It was almost flirting with post-action tropes and blending it with old school geography sensibilities. Too bad this one couldn’t do the same. I’ll be seeing it in a few months because it’s still DIE HARD but man it really does suck that it has ended up like this. Never did I ever think I would ever pass on a new McClane movie.

  43. CrustaceanHate- I had the same reaction when I saw CHILDREN OF MEN, those long shots seemed extremely videogame-esque to me. In fact that movie reminded me a lot of Half-Life 2, visually speaking. It’s part of the reason I love it so much.

  44. Am I using the term “post-action” correctly? Basically I mean a film that is structured like a traditional action film but the action scenes are rushed and visually incoherent. Vern coined it in one of his reviews. I had no problem with the way the action was shot in DIE H4RD, and I liked the way they incorporated modern, visually-interesting action movie trends like parkour and kung fu. It was like old-school Bruce Willis versus modern action movies, which was fun.

    To hear that DIE HARD 5 has sacrificed visual coherence at the altar of post-action “realism”, APOCALYPTO style, is severely depressing. I’ll watch it on video, but I don’t think I bear to go to the cinema and watch the severed head of the DIE HARD franchise bounce down the steps of the Mayan temple.

  45. Yeah movies with lots of shaky cam and incoherent visuals. Like most of the mainstream action movies that have come out within the past 10 years.

  46. Though DIE HARD 4 did contain post-action tropes. It was more stylized and polished than previous entries. The only difference is there was no shaky cam.

  47. Saw it first thing this morning, unemployed, stone sober, all alone on Valentine’s Day, sitting next to a smelly old guy who had the whole seat to his left full of plastic bags and wouldn’t stop muttering to himself. He also clapped a lot. We both loved this movie.

    Obviously, the cameramen need to be dragged out into the street and shot as a lesson to the others. But the sheer awesomeness of McClane driving a jeep over a line of cars monster truck-style, or that giant armored truck crashing through the huge concrete tube, or the thing thing with the helicopter blades (a move on loan from Joe Hallenbeck) managed to shine through the incompetent cinematography. I know how, when you’re racist against shakycam like we all are, the second they break out the handheld, it’s hard for it not to be a distraction for the rest of the movie. Instead of getting absorbed in the story, all you notice is the frame bumping and popping around like someone left the camera on top of the washing machine. I got worried during the first dialogue scene, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker as the movie went on. I’d have preferred some smooth, classical camerawork, of course, but I got the gist, and the gist was awesome.

    Seriously, it’s weird that I’m the glass-is-half-full one on this thing. But I think DIE HARD 5 is great fun. A lot of warmth, a lot of laughs, and some big, big action. Sure, it would have been better if someone had thought to buy a tripod, but the action was inventive and carnage-heavy with zero CGI squibs in sight, and the character stuff was breezy but on point. I absolutely loved seeing the McClanes together at the end, laughing and smiling. I really do care about John and I want him to be happy, and to me it was kind of moving when you realized that the title isn’t just a weird little sorta badass-sounding play on words, but a description of how John felt being able to share an adventure with his son. If he had died that day, hard or otherwise, I think he would have been cool with it. It really would have been a good last day. But I’m glad it wasn’t because now they can keep making these every five years until Bruce dies of terminal awesome.

    So don’t lose hope, everyone who hasn’t seen it yet. Things look grim but you might just like this movie way more than you’d think.

    Or maybe I’m just a big softie. Yeah, that must be it.

  48. Mode7: Yeah, it reminded me of HL2 as well. The scenes in the car and on the refugee bus looked like the types of things you’d see in one of Half Life’s scripted sequences. That movie has a great dystopian feel. Very recognisable and familiar except with subtly advanced technology and dirty, run-down exteriors. It very nicely visually communicated how everyone was going through the motions even as the apocalypse was knocking at their door.

  49. Mr M: Thanks for the positive review. Gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling. Maybe I will see it if it comes to my local independent cinema where the tickets are cheap as fuck. Sadly that may not happen since they don’t have a digital projector and it’s getting more and more difficult for them to acquire celluloid prints for new movies.

  50. Yeah Thanks Mr. Majestyk for saying those things. I’m on the fence now on whether or not I should see it in the theater. I should probably just go because it feels wrong not to.

    I really don’t like John Moore is a director and the only thing I’ve seen from him is Max Payne. Max Payne made me angry because the heart of the game is a cop jumping around using two guns to kill bad guys. Why was there barely any of that in the movie? Half of the game is using two guns, why can’t we get any of that in Max Payne?

    You know what else I call bullshit on? When a director or producer talks about how much they love the original film they’re either directing the remake of or doing a sequal to because it they universally stink. Take example those Platinum Dunes guys. They swear up and down they love the original films they are remaking yet after you see the films you know they’re full of shit because there is nothing even close to being like the originals.

  51. The original Paul

    February 14th, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    DAMN IT VERN. I did NOT recognise Jai Courtney from the trailers (Not surprising really. I mean, holy shit, if the film’s editing is actually worse than the trailers, what the heck does that say about the film?) This is the guy who really impressed me in “Jack Reacher”, isn’t it? The trailers, the comments, the interviews with the filmmakers, and your review – I was pretty much resigned to this thing being terrible. Now that gives me a glimmer of hope that there might be something good in it. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

    I wasn’t one of the people who hated “Die Hard 4” – in fact I thought it was ok, although definitely not a “Die Hard” movie – but I’m probably going to avoid #5. Go see that movie about a girl who falls for a zombie instead.

  52. Yep, that’s the guy. You may also remember him exposing his dong and stabbing people in the most entertaining show on TV, SPARTACUS. How did your MOVIE 43 experiment go?

  53. I can’t believe a Die Hard movie could be this bad.

    We’re living in a new world, people.

  54. caruso_stalker217

    February 14th, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I have to say, I’m leaning more towards Majestyk’s feelings here. I enjoyed it despite its handicaps. I really didn’t like McClane during the first part of the film (aside from the taxi scene. That was good stuff). He just comes across as this bumbling old fool who has no fucking clue what’s going on. It’s almost like he’s in one of those comedies where the dad comes back into the son’s life after a long time and makes a big embarrassing scene. THAT’S MY BOY, with car chases. But it got better.

    I honestly really fucking enjoyed the climax with the helicopter. All of my favorite shots were like the CGI enhanced shit with tail rotors chopping shit up. I think the shot with McClane and John Jr. falling in slow motion next to the helicopter is really pretty fuckin awesome. I approve very much.

    I also liked the family reunion at the end. It was a sweet little scene to end on. I just wish that Holly had been there too. It’s not like Bonnie Bedelia is busy or anything.

  55. Well,I am glad some people enjoyed it more than me. Directly after the movie, the only thing I felt after leaving the theatre was apathy. At the time I really did not hate the movie, just that it was for the most part incredibly lame.But the lameness of the movie actually started slowly to irritate me. I cannot believe i am saying this, but RED is a better movie than the DIE HARD we got this year. I did not expect that.

  56. caruso_stalker217

    February 15th, 2013 at 1:14 am

    I think the biggest problem with the film is that McClane really isn’t McClane anymore. Even the McClane in LFODH took shit seriously. He basically smiled all the way through this one, which I chalked up to him just accepting his superhero status and that this shit is going to keep happening to him so he might as well have fun with it.

    I just watched DIE HARD 2 for the first time in a few years. That is the McClane we should have gotten.

  57. Sigh…

    We knew this when they hired John Moore. If they cared, they’d hire a good director. I even met the guy and I liked him and I believe he cared, but he just doesn’t have it to pull it off. Although I never could have expected a 90 minute Die Hard.

    I loved the tap dancing villain. He should have been in it more.

    McClane seemed like a clown in this one. Not because of the jokes but in a sort of “look at the old guy tagging along the young CIA guy” way.

    It was so not R rated. It was shot for pg-13 and then they used the R to win over some fans. All the bad words were ADR.

    What I couldn’t believe was how much like Die Hard 2 it was. I thought they were rejecting that self reflexive comedy, but this is all “I’m on vacation” over and over again, and McClane mixing in again.

    I have softened a little since I first saw it. There are enough nice moments to tide me over until I watch the first four again. I like when the tap dancing bad guy calls him a cowboy and he doesn’t say the line.

    Mr. M, I love you. So glad you could cut through all the post action. Yeah the establishing shots are the worst.

    I’m all for Die Hard 6 but also never stop making them. I’m not afraid of a bad one as long as there’ll be more. These still take 5-6 years so it’ll be a while. I like the auteur approach. Spend some time making it count. This one was done because Bruce was available.

  58. I’m genuinely glad Majestyk and Caruso enjoyed it more than I did. I wish I also enjoyed it more than I enjoyed it, unfortunately I only enjoyed it the exact amount that I enjoyed it.

    Did you guys read that they made up the plot twist (SPOILER: the one about the billionaire guy being behind the whole thing) 2 weeks into shooting? The actor I guess was pretty surprised to find out that he had been playing the bad guy. I wonder what happened in the original script – they just went and got the file?

  59. There’s a guy on radio here in Norway that I really trust when it comes to action movies who gave this 4 out of 6 stars, and together with Majestyk and caruso’s input, I’m suddenly in a far better mood than I was yesterday.

  60. Just like to say that the version we got here in Asia had all the “F-“s all censored out. Poorly cut out in fact.

    Mr. Majestyx you’re not alone. I thought A GOOD DAY was good fun as well. Especially liked the Chopper kill at the end.

  61. Why is McClane still a detective? Shouldn’t he be captain by now, or commissioner or something? Sure, all that collateral damage he’s been involved in might’ve hurt his chances of promotion a bit, but seriously, how many lives has he saved throughout his career? Wouldn’t that warrant some kind of appreciation?

    Also, like Eddie Lummox I’ve always wondered why the people involved keep insisting on rehashing the Die Hard formula instead of just showing John on the job. I mean, it’s the McClane character I like, not the dude-in-a-tight-spot-with-terrorist-that-are-really-thieves notion they keep perpetuating. I remember reading about a comic book some years ago, a prequel kinda deal that chronicled John’s time as a young cop – did anyone pick that up? I’m not sure I see the point of that concept, either, but at least it’s something different. (Then again, knowing what those things are usually like, they probably show him in high-school or some other place meeting this German exchange student called Hans whose last name he can’t catch. Then, later, he forgets all about it. For some reason.)

  62. He was probably offered a promotion after WITH A VENGEANCE (the only time he ever saved the day in New York City, a.k.a The Only Place New Yorkers Care About) but he turned it down. You can’t take McClane off the streets.

    Besides, do you really think he’s gone his whole career without hauling off and punching a police commissioner? That kind of thing’ll hold you back, career-wise.

    I read the comic. It was decent. McClane is still always in the wrong place at the wrong time, but it’s in his duties as a rookie cop and then a young detective. Good seventies vibe, with more low key action than you would expect from a comic book, where blowing up a planet doesn’t cost any more than a dialogue scene.

  63. I also read the comic and it basically becomes another DH movie with John finding himself in outrageous DH like situations more than once on a boat and during a blackout. So we still haven’t really seen A DAY IN THE LIFE OF JOHN MCCLANE anywhere in DH media yet.

  64. I had extremely low expectations for this, and I was still floored by how bad it was. I have almost nothing good to say about it… the carrot-munching bad guy had some potential, and the tattooed henchman might’ve been cool if he was onscreen for more than 45 seconds. I think the movie just numbed me with its incompetence.

    Chris – there are some striking shots, but that’s basically John Moore’s M.O. Hallmarks of his films include ‘cool’ shots, poor storytelling, being really boring, and for some reason a lot of slavic characters. I think BEHIND ENEMY LINES is as good as it gets with this guy.

    Mr. Majestyk – warmth? I hear everything else you’re saying, but I don’t see the warmth at all, except maybe for the scene where Bruce and his kid bond briefly before the final showdown. If anything this feels like the most cynical Die Hard yet. The movie has McClane maiming innocent bystanders, jumping through multiple windows without even looking, and repeating the classic catchphrase ‘I’M ON MY VACATION’ like 20 times, even though the 2nd scene of the movie makes it 100% explicit that he’s not going on vacation. It feels to me like filmmakers and execs lazily saying “this is what you fuckers want, isn’t it?”

    (While I’m on it, the current action movie trend of people hurling themselves through CGI windows without being shredded into mincemeat really gets on my nerves. The fact that the broken glass looks fairly real instead of the obvious sugar glass of days past only makes it more insulting.)

    Vern – I think I read the same interview with Moore, and while he seems like a nice, smart guy with good intentions, it felt clear to me that he was hired because he was easy to keep in line and wasn’t someone with strong convictions and good ideas about how to make a great Die Hard film. He’s more like a guy who just wants to not fuck it up.

  65. I wish I could come on board with Mr M, but I only feel sadness. What a mess.

    There was a bit in this before the McClanes stormed the nuke plant… McClane Senior says “Have you got a plan?” and his son says “No, I thought we would just wing it, make it up as we go along” etc. I’d be surprised if this wasn’t also a pretty good description of the making of this movie. Vern’s latest comment about the big twist coming two weeks into shooting is probably pretty typical of the rest of their approach to rest of the movie.

    What a bummer this movie is.

  66. pegsman -I´d recommend going into the movie expecting a fullblown disaster, then you might come away with a decent experience. Unlike me who had the naive notion of expecting a good DIE HARD-movie and came out with the worst cinematic experience I have ever had in my entire life.

  67. Is my Die Hard legacy going to be defending Die Hard 2 for the rest of my life as a legitimately great action movie or that Len Wisemen is much better at directing than he gets credit for? I guess it makes sense since I’m always defending Hudson Hawk as a legit great movie.

    I think the next movie will be difficult with Bruce Willis having as much input because he seems like the problem at this point according to the interview. Oh well, Bruce Willis still rules.

  68. Majestyk: If Nic Cage can get promoted at the end of BL:POCNO, so can McClane. It’s not like I’m asking for it to happen – I agree that he belongs on the streets – but they could’ve easily integrated it into the plot of any sequel after WITH A VENGEANCE. I doubt that being Chief McClane would’ve stopped him from doing his usual shtick. Anyway, it’s not gonna happen…

    Pity to hear that they couldn’t help turning the comic into another retread of the formula, though. Looks like he’s been dying hard every other day since he joined the NYPD (or maybe even before that? I smell a high school prequel trilogy. Die Hard: Before the Vest.)

  69. Sternshein – what makes DIE HARD 2 great to you? On tuesday Regal theaters had a Die Hard marathon showing all 5 movies in a row, and I ended up going. It really reinforced my opinion that DH2 is the weakest (or it was until A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD). It doesn’t make a travesty of the series like 5, or arguably 4 depending on who you ask, but I don’t think it’s so hot. But after watching the latest installment I had to give it credit for at least respecting the characters and the spirit of the series, and for also respecting the conventions of good visual storytelling.

    As an action movie there’s some cool parts, but it suffers in my opinion from being sandwiched between 1 & 3 and thus I’m left lamenting the lack of snazzy camera movement and tension building that McTiernan is so excellent at. And story and character wise it’s kind of a pandering retread of the first one, stuff like Holly calling William Atherton “Dick” and rehashing that conflict from the first film. All the angles that were handled by McTiernan with a great lightness of touch in the first movie, get hammered home obnoxiously by Renny Harlan in more of a Tony Scott style (Tony Scott circa that time, not the crazy Avid farting Scott of the 2000s).

    Arguably it has the best cast of any of the movies, but a lot of the guys in it don’t really get a chance to shine. My favorite feature of the McTiernan Die Hards is that he wants you to feel the same rush the bad guys are feeling when they’re perfectly executing their clever plans – they’re having fun *being* bad guys, and we’re having fun watching them. Out of Sadler, Amos and Nero (all awesome actors) I thought Amos was the only one who seemed like he was enjoying the ride. Sadler’s character had the foundation to be an awesome villain, but he could’ve really used some more fleshing out.

    DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE is actually my favorite. I won’t argue that it’s as good as the original, which is beautifully constructed and basically perfect, but it’s got some things going for it that just make me like it more. People were mentioning wanting to see a movie where McClane is in his element as a cop, but I think WITH A VENGEANCE totally counts. Sure he’s been pressed into service by Simon, but he’s still just a cop collecting a check for doing a day’s work, and you get a fair amount of him interacting with his colleagues. It’s a great blue collar New York movie like Pelham 123. Everyone in the supporting cast is awesome, from Connie the policewoman to the bomb tech guy to Inspector Cobb.

    I also think it’s the funniest DH movie and I like that it has a symmetry with the original film without hammering you over the head that McClane’s been through this before. I love the chemistry between Zeus and McClane, they’re both believably rendered, hardheaded everymen with strong points of view and a basic decency at their core. I also like that McClane starts out the movie hungover and on the rocks with Holly again, because her annoying subplot in DH2 made me resent their happy marriage.

    Simon is no Hans Gruber, but Jeremy Irons still has a lot of fun with the part. He’s gotta be the 2nd best villain in the series at least. Watching them pull off their heist is a blast.

    In terms of his filmmaking powers, McTiernan was in top form. His storytelling is so swift and energetic without ever being obnoxious, he controls the tone just perfectly (as he did in DIE HARD). Both 1 & 3 let you get a taste of every character’s personality without ever ruining the film’s momentum. In John Moore’s installment, whenever there’s a terribly written attempt at an intimate character scene, the movie just shudders to a halt.

    WITH A VENGEANCE does falter a few times where the original doesn’t, like the lackluster ending and arguably a goofy moment here or there like McClane being shot out of a drain pipe by a geyser of water (and maybe the scenes where John suggests to Zeus that he’s the real racist for not trusting white cops), but on the whole I find it a hard movie to fault. Plus the opening scene is awesome.

  70. Annex Skywalk is one of the bedt gunfight scenes in movie history. And I love all the weird side characters amd the really good score. I also love three.

  71. Ugh I hate typing on my tablet because I misspell a lot.

  72. Dikembe – Yeah, I forgot about that henchman! That guy shows up and you think, “Oh, this guy is cool. Let’s see what he does.” Answer: nothing. That’s why I forgot about him until you mentioned him.

    As to Majestyk’s claim of “warmth,” I think I can agree with him in some spots. The conversation where John tells his son that he’s enjoyed running around with him and that he loves him was surprisingly heart-on-its-sleeve for this type of movie, and I appreciate that. Also the ending with John and his kids reunited was sweet. I don’t think it entirely works but what’s there I think is the best stuff in the movie.

  73. This was a heartbreakingly bad film and perhaps the worst part is that I fucking KNOW I’ll watch the bloody thing again. Not until it’s in the bargin bins though, which after all only takes a year these days. We got a censored version in the UK, but the extra spurts and f words that a lot of you guys saw and that we’ll get on DVD wont make any difference. Nor will the extra two minutes or so that will enable them to paste words like “unrated” and “unseen” all over DVD and Blu-ray covers across the globe. Maybe if they release a version with an extra 30 minutes or so I’ll get it on the first day of the sales, if I hear good things.

    I’m not into fan edits, but if anyone ever gets some raw footage of this and cuts something together I’d give it a go. As weak as the script was, or seems to be, I just know they must have been able to edit a far better film together from everything they shot. I just kept thinking about the bit in HITCHCOCK were, er, Hitchcock talks to his wife about PSYCHO “refus[ing] to come to life” in the editing room. This just seemed like a very lifeless film

    It’s a shame they don’t really do novelisations any more, because I would read one for AGDTDH (or at least attempt to) if it were based on the original script. I am sure there was a bit more going on than made it to the screen, there were even some nice touches in the trailers that didn’t make it to the final cut. As uninspiring a writer as Skips Woods is, I lay most of the blame for this one at John Moore’s feet (at least as far as the public faces of the film go)

    At least I’ll always remember how excited I was when that first teaser hit

  74. The funny thing is that I just re-watched PREDATOR with the John McTiernan commentary. In that he talks about the importance of continuity, geography and restrain in editing for an action film. That it is often just better to leave a shot be than to call attention to the editing, and therefore distance the audience from the movie.

    It’s absolutely terrible that basic aspects of filmmaking are lost on to hacks who think just throwing in glimpses of random shots and shaking the camera violently equals excitement. Now, there is a legitimate skill and talent in adding energy by kinetic cutting and staging, but it is a very deliberate choice. I’d say Paul Greengrass and Michael Bay are very skilled at that.

    I’m probably alone in defending Bay’s cutting style. But watching his films on a non-gigantic screen where you can actually absorb the film instead of in the cinema where it sort of drills into your eyeballs, it is apparent that he knows what he’s doing. Shots flow logically, cutting is rapid but not nonsensical, and he punctuates scenes with slow-motion or long tracking shots to establish geography. It’s just too bad his last three films have been kneecapped by the robot designs which look indistinguishable from each other in action sequences.

    But I still miss guys like McTiernan and Verhoeven. Directors who build rock solid action sequences without calling attention to their particular directorial flourishes. Just back to basics craftsmanship that lets the scene flow and see the goddamn action scene, the hero or the monster or whatever we paid to see. People bitch about AVATAR for a lot of reasons (many of them good ones), but at least James Cameron – who is pretty much a contemporary of McTiernan and Verhoeven – hadn’t forgotten his directing sensibilities and still delivered a picture with good, easy-to-follow action.

    Fuck guys like John Moore who think that all action films need is just lazily shoot some shaky shit, throw it all in Avid, plaster some terrible CGI on top of it, and call it a day. It’s not only an insult to the genre, but also to the language of cinema itself.

  75. Can we all remember how good INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL was when we lament all the bad post-action sequels?

  76. FT – but I thought CRYSTAL SKULL raped the Internet’s childhood?

    Man Episode 7 is going to get shit in ’15, aint it?

    Oh and props to Latino Review for that Han Solo scoop. If you know, its legit.

    But hey, not every Internet scoop gets cable news attention like that one did today.

  77. SW Episode 7 is going to be the most overscrutinized-before-the-fact, fanboy pants-wetting/jonesin’, manchild-anticipated movie in history. And for the rest of us: “Yo… new Star Wars movie. Cool”.

    So, is Luke Jr. gonna pay Han a visit at the Space Pirates Retirement Village? And how do you work Ford into the mix without including Hamill and Fisher? I mean, they’re basically a package deal.

  78. If you ask me this thing didn’t even resemble a “Die Hard” movie, like a direct-to-DVD sequel just using an established name. And I mean a real bad direct-to-DVD movie, like one that stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., not even Seagal or Lundgren good.

  79. BTW, for years I wanted to make a video, in which I re-edit some of the classic action scenes of DIE HARD into completely unwatchable post-action style, claiming (satirical) that I tried to improve the “boring” visual style for today’s audiences. Too bad that the real DIE HARD series did it first.

  80. I like Raw Beard’s idea of treating other Bruce Willis movies as DIE HARD instalments.

    THE LAST BOYSCOUT explains why McClaine in FOR A VENGEANCE is “two steps away from being a full blown alcoholic.”

    And we can consider THE FIFTH ELEMENT to be DIE HARD IN SPACE, no?

  81. Sternshein.

    ‘Hey asshole, what do I look like to you?’

    ‘A sitting duck.’


  82. “Hey,Carmine. When you pass the metaldetector, so does it detect the lead in your ass or the shit in your brain?”

  83. When we are on the subject of quoting DIE HARDER…

  84. Oh man! Came across this Ben Stiller DIE HARD spoof from 1992. Looked more like a DIE HARD movie than DIE HARD 5… But then its supposedly DIE HARD 12, so there is hope still.


  85. I’m going to second the Die Hard 3 love. For me it’s the second best of the series. (I also like 2, but it has a few problems). In fact, I would argue that if Die Hard 3 weren’t a sequel, and instead it was a standalone film, we might be sitting around here today talking about what a classic film it is. Of course, like all Die Hard movies, it is overshadowed by the first one. The one element that all the other Die Hards are missing that both 1 and 3 have are great villains. I always thought that Ian MacShane would make a terrific Die Hard villain, if anyone cared enough to cast him.

  86. “Hey,Carmine. When you pass the metaldetector, so does it detect the lead in your ass or the shit in your brain?”

    I prefer the version of that line featured in this video http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/dddfd3744d/die-hard-2-mister-falcon-short-version

  87. I suppose it’s true that KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL had action sequences that were competently directed.

    But that film fucked it all up by staging them on a sterile greenscreen set. The chase scene had absolutely zero tension when it was obvious the cars leisurely strolled through an obvious CGI jungle. I don’t know what the hell Spielberg was thinking when he decided to go with that instead of shooting it for real. Was Harrison Ford too old and too valuable to risk performing real looking stunts, or was Spielberg just getting too lazy and comfortable in his old age to go out from an air conditioned soundstage, and endure the hardships and problems of a real location.

    It’s baffling. Especially since doing stuff like that well wasn’t exactly strange new ground for Spielberg. He already did amazing looking practical chase scenes in RAIDERS and LAST CRUSADE.

  88. “SW Episode 7 is going to be the most overscrutinized-before-the-fact, fanboy pants-wetting/jonesin’, manchild-anticipated movie in history. And for the rest of us: “Yo… new Star Wars movie. Cool”.

    Amazing Larry – yeah and I bet the AVENGERS 2 people are glad they’re not getting the full Internet/public microscope that summer as SW 7 is. Lucky they are.

    “So, is Luke Jr. gonna pay Han a visit at the Space Pirates Retirement Village? And how do you work Ford into the mix without including Hamill and Fisher? I mean, they’re basically a package deal.”

    I’m assuming with ZERO evidence but fully on gut that they’re join too. If Ford was the reluctant one, and quite honestly the one of the 3 who don’t need to do this shit for the money, and he does it….the other 2 are joining.

    RBatty – Agree.

  89. The Black White Shadow

    February 16th, 2013 at 11:53 am

    HT- You are (sort of) not alone in defending Michael Bay’s cutting style. I was surprised on a rewatch of the original Transformers how much easier it was to comprehend his action on a small screen.

    I mean, I still hate his movies, and it’s probably not good when a big budget director’s skillset is only effective on a 35″ screen, but I will concede that the man basically knows what he’s doing.

    But on the subject proper, I just got back from ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’, and it is terrible on almost every level. The script is pretty bad, but the direction is even worse. At times, it’s borderline incompetent.

    It’s more disappointing than anything, because the bones of a good (or at least decent) movie are there, I think. And I was really hoping that John Moore would surprise us. He didn’t.

    And who the fuck decides their twist ending two weeks into shooting? What kind of sense does that even make?!?

    But the audience seemed to enjoy it anyway, so there might be one more after all. And we can worry about the director later. I submit that the first move should be to have somebody park a garbage truck full of money on Steven E. de Souza’s driveway…

  90. caruso_stalker217

    February 16th, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Looks like Majestyk and I are in the minority here.

  91. I think the first three are great. First one’s well…the first one. The second was a fun follow up with some retreading of stuff from the original. Three brought it back to the first one with the Gruber connection, but was less of a retread and put him in New York, with a partner for the first time, not at Christmas and it had a worthy villain in Simon, who I really appreciate them differentiating from Hans with how his vengeance is more out of a sense of obligation than affection, and how unlike Hans, he has some standards(not really putting a bomb in a school (“I’m not a monster”), being willing to let Zeus live when he gets to the ball park at the intended end of the game). I even liked the fourth one(though I don’t think I’ve watched it all the way through more than once). I was pissed earlier in the week to learn about the editing for the UK audience, and now all the bad things from reviewers(“Eat Shit and Die Hard”-Brad Jones), so I’ll sadly be skipping this one and I’ll just see it on tv eventually.

  92. I can’t really blame them, caruso. I’m not gonna try to convince anybody it’s great. It’s not. I can see that. The movie is fairly indefensible by most rational means. Everything should have been a little better or a little more. The plot is half-assed. The most interesting characters are not exploited fully. Much of the filmmaking is a crime against humanity. McClane was decidedly NOT on vacation, no matter how many times he tried to tell us he was. I recognize all that stuff, but I don’t care, because the movie worked for me.

    Maybe it’s because I didn’t try to compare it to the other ones. I didn’t need it to uphold the DIE HARD legacy, whatever that means. I don’t have real strong opinions about what a DIE HARD movie “should” be like a lot of people do. A DIE HARD movie has John McClane blowing shit up and making wisecracks. That’s it. Do a halfway decent job at those two things and I’ll probably enjoy myself. I’m not looking for a masterpiece. I already got that. It was called DIE HARD. It was a perfect storm of cast and crew and it will never come again. The others are just victory laps.

    I’m not trying to be all “It’s an action movie. What did you expect? Shakespeare?” Check out my dozens of comments on the millions of things EXPENDABLES 2 did wrong to see that I can be fucking brutal when a “Check your brain at the door” action movie rubs me the wrong way.

    It’s weird how some movies get a pass like that and some don’t. I think I might have blinders on when I fully commit to something, whether it’s a movies series or a TV show, with all my heart. Some people can pinpoint exactly when something has jumped the shark, and then they turn on it with the white hot fury of a thousand suns. Me, once I’m fully on board, like I’m quoting lines in my daily life and I get nervous at the thought of bad things happening to the characters, it’s all good. Others wish a franchise would die before it’s past its prime. I say “Yay, more time with the thing I love.”

    It’s like, think about certain bands. Like, I don’t know, Bad Religion. They’ve been making the same album since at least 1992. And I hope they never stop making it. Even when the latest version isn’t as good as the classic ones, I still want to hear it again. Because I like that album.

    That’s A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD for me.

    But c’mon, fellas. Be honest. That last bit with the helicopter was pretty rad. If you saw that in any movie that didn’t have DIE HARD in the title, with all the baggage that implies, you’d have liked it. If that shit happened in The Rock’s new movie, for instance, you’d be saying it was one of the best action scenes he’d ever been involved with. Credit where it’s due, that shit was awesome.

  93. RBatty024 – “I always thought that Ian MacShane would make a terrific Die Hard villain, if anyone cared enough to cast him.”

    Dear God yes!!! Maybe in the eventual part 6?

    Mr. M- I’ve always agreed with you far more than I have disagreed so if you continue to insist that it’s worth watching at least once for any action fan then I might just see if I catch a matinee showing soon after all.

  94. No, no, that’s not what I’m insisting at all, Broddie. What I’m trying to elucidate is the nature of my own particular insanity that has made me immune to its bad parts and uncommonly receptive to its good parts.

    Everybody else is almost certainly right. It’s probably a terrible movie. You’ll most likely hate it.

    But who knows? Maybe you’re crazy like me. It’s probably worth finding out.

  95. HT – I sort of agree about Bay. I think he’s extremely skilled at getting the effect he wants, which is to present an unremittingly intense (some might say interminable) series of badass moneyshots. A lot of post-action directors resort to the style out of incompetence, but he isn’t one of them. I still don’t enjoy his action scenes, though I haven’t seen TRANSFORMERS 3.

    I also agree with you about CRYSTAL SKULL. The videogamey jeep chase was the point of no return for me. It could’ve been a great sequence if it wasn’t for all the unnecessary CGI.

  96. caruso_stalker217

    February 16th, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    You pretty much hit the nail on the head, Majestyk. I thought there was enough good to overlook the bad (which wasn’t really *that* bad). I was far more irritated by the action scenes in TAKEN 2, a much worse film than A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD.

    I definitely enjoyed this a hell of a lot more than, say, THE LAST STAND. I pretty much forgot that one five minutes after I left the theater.

  97. caruso_stalker217

    February 16th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I’ll also admit to enjoying A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD over CRYSTAL SKULL, which I did not enjoy. At all.

  98. CRYSTAL SKULL is decent until it gets to the jungle. And then it’s easily the worst thing Spielberg has ever done.

  99. Even worse than HOOK? (I never dared to ever watch INDY 4)

  100. caruso_stalker217

    February 16th, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    I agree with the second part.

  101. I don’t want to get into CRYSTAL SKULL yet again on a DIE HARD thread, but I don’t think it was “unnecessary CGI” because from what I understand they were planning to shoot all of that on location in Hawaii but had to do some of it on a backlot because of a hurricane. And you know my preference for real stunts, but I’d much rather have something fake looking but clear, kinetic and telling a story like that than real but completely incomprehensible like the car chase here. I think everybody on both sides also seems to agree that the completely fake looking helicopter scene in GOOD DAY is better than car chase. Ideally we’d have the best of both worlds but I think this movie demonstrates that clarity is more important than realism.

  102. “CRYSTAL SKULL is decent until it gets to the jungle. And then it’s easily the worst thing Spielberg has ever done.”

    that pretty much sums it up

  103. Hey Vern, sorry to continue to CRYSTAL REDACTED digression, but I just went back and reread your old review of it and found this part:

    “So why the fuck did I like this outrage, this affront to all that is sacred, this metaphorical crime against a fondly remembered chronologically early portion of your life history? Because I thought it was fucking good, that’s why. I mean I see some of the complaints, there were things I didn’t like, things that could’ve been stronger for sure, but no dealbreakers. What I didn’t like was far overshadowed and outnumbered by what I did.”

    That’s me and A GOOD DAY. I think there are some good comparisons between the two movies to be made. Both are about past their prime heroes bonding with their estranged sons, both end with cute but not entirely earned family reunions, and both are widely derided for not following the aesthetic code set forth by earlier entries in their respective series and for getting something fundamentally wrong about their main characters.

    If the answer to the question of why one likes one and not the other comes down to the action scenes, then I guess I come at it from the other direction in this case. INDY 4 had clearly composed action scenes, but they were too cartoony and phony and unimaginative and soft to be all that enjoyable, while DIE HARD 5 had sloppily composed action scenes, but the carnage was so spectacular that I enjoyed them anyway. In this case, I have to say that I’d rather have awesome stuff happening that I can’t see so good than lame stuff happening that I get a real good look at. I’m not saying this is my across the board opinion on the matter (plenty of not-all-that-impressive action has gotten over because of deft filmmaking) but it’s what seems to be happening here.

  104. Maybe AGDTDH gets the post-action DIE HARD out of their system. Like QUANTUM OF SOLACE (which I think works) it was inevitable that some producer or director would insist on applying it to this series. Maybe now the next one can look like a real movie again.

    Mr. M, I’m exactly the same way. When I love something, I’m all in. I love DIE HARD and even while I criticize this one, I’ll still consider it John McClane’s odd post-action adventure. Also, don’t know if you guys know this, but I’m Franchise Fred.

    The problem with the helicopter scene though is that there’s nothing behind the scene except “we have a helicopter, we have a truck, we have a factory. Let’s blow this all up.” there’s no narrative to it. It’s just something that happens. It was also weird that halfway through that scene I realized that was the ending. Theres no reason that should be the end. It resolves or pays of nothing dramatically, it’s just the biggest thing that’s happened so I realized that was going to be the “climactic” stunt.

    Serves me write for bringing up a four year old defense of CRYSTAL SKULL. I also make references to things from the past in order to engender good will in the present. God, maybe self-referential humor really doesn’t work at all.

  105. I saw DH5 yesterday and did not like it at all. In fact the more I think about it the less and less I like it. I am glad that it has worked for some of you, and I agree that the odd line/moment/shot was pretty good, but it could and should have been so much more.

    78 days to shoot that car chase? You could go up to almost any traffic jam in an overcast city and shake a camera around to get half the footage! Even the most simple stunts were overedited to the point of seizure. There was an pretty decent extended shot of the armoured vehicle ramming a little bue car though. Yet all the unmotivated zooming, random editing and downright awful ADR completely removed me from the experience of suspending disbelief and enjoying what should have been extremely exciting.

    John Moore said that the camerawork was a deliberate choice because McClane is out of his comfort zone. Two points on that: firstly, the only previous DH movie that had plentiful shakycam is the one set in New York, McCkane’s home turf! Secondly, in the midst of carnage and mayhem is totally his comfort zone at this point. Say what you want about Moore as a director, but the action scenes in Behind Enemy Lines and Max Payne are shot and edited with surprising clarity. In fact, the jet vs missile chase in BEL is freakin’ awesome.

    When McClane says that he’s had a pretty good day was my favourite bit of the whole movie, he probably thrives on this type of shit by now, and so all the complaints about the damage he takes in the movie don’t bother me at all. I don’t care how over the top it is, I just want to be able to see and appreciate all the OTT-ness.

    And yeah, way to introduce a thoroughly mean and intimidating looking hanchman just to toally waste him. Where was the McClane tag-team fight to take him down? Total missed opportunity there.

    Finally, am I right in thinking that John Snr involement actually helped facilitate Korumov’s plan? I know that they changed the plot 2 weeks into shooting which might explain this, but Korumov was hoping that he would be broken out of the court by his enemy, then taken away by an unknown ally who only showed up at the last moment, then proceed into a mad chase where he only survives by the involement on John Snr, to escape from the safe house by the skin of their teeth….. I could go on but I’m getting annoyed thinking about it.

  106. “John Moore said that the camerawork was a deliberate choice because McClane is out of his comfort zone”

    Sounds like some serious bullshit right there. the worst parts of that chase were the closeups in the cars. ( with or without McClane) . Are the other characters involved in the chase also out of their comfort zones?

  107. Well, at least I am glad that he lets the shaky camera represent uncomfortness ( which is an understatement of how my eyes felt) and not an aestethic choice because he thought it looked good to him. it is still not an excuse for making a DIE HARD movie look like a shitty homevideo and not a professional Hollywood production.

  108. The only thing I remember about the Max Payne action scenes is that they’re not good. Here is a game that is essentially jumping around and shooting two guns at the same time and he couldn’t even do that in the movie?

  109. I think one of the problems with bringing Die Hard into a CGI world is that studios and directors think that audiences want to see the kind of spectacle that can only be accomplished through heavy use of non-practical special effects. Now, I don’t have anything inherently against CGI. There are plenty of movies that make great use of CGI, but relying on them too heavily is against the ethos of the Die Hard franchise. The first Die Hard film was revolutionary because it reacted against the over the top action of Schwarzenegger and Stallone. And as much as I love movies like Commando, Die Hard looks relatively down to earth next to it. Where Schwarzenegger might kill a dozen or so men in a single scene, it takes John McClane over two hours of painstaking work to accomplish the same thing. The action purposefully grounded (at least within the world of action movies).

    But once CGI enters into the equation, then you can have John McClane hanging on to the back of jets or jumping through glass without it really slowing him down. Tellingly, walking through glass nearly incapacitated McClane in the first film. But I don’t think audiences today are so cynical that they wouldn’t be open to slightly more restrained, more stunt based action. Going back to Crystal Skull debate, the moments in that film that people tend to like the most are the practical stunts. When I saw that movie in the theaters, the single stunt that got the entire audience to erupt into applause was when Indiana Jones escapes from the KGB agents by getting out of a moving car and onto Mutt’s motorcycle. People seemed to enjoy it because they knew that actual stunt men put themselves in danger in order to assemble this set piece. I think movies can go back to more practical stunt work and movie audiences will go along with it. It just takes a little bit of faith on the part of the studios. This also means that if there is a sixth Die Hard movie, it can start to move back to its roots.

  110. Shoot – that tidbit of info was taken from the AGDTDH Wiki page.

    “In creating the film’s visual style, Moore wanted the camera work to be almost entirely handheld, using three 4 Perforation 35mm ARRI cameras equipped with long lenses to capture tight close-ups, for Moore explained, “McClane is in a strange world, with little or no initial control over his environment. He’s unable to anticipate things as he normally might. He’s caught off guard, and we want the camera to mimic that surprise and confusion.””

    It just beggars belief he said that. So McClane has had control over every other environment? Moore’s supposed to be a Die Hard fan!

  111. Well if he meant all that, I must have missed the point big time. It just pisses me off reading that horseshit.

  112. That’s always the excuse for handheld. “It simulates the character’s state.” Bullshit. When I have anxiety I still see the world clearly and steadily. It’s a phony analysis that sounds good on paper but doesn’t apply to actual visual communication.

  113. The Original... Paul

    February 17th, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    So in conclusion, I should probably avoid this one, eh? Figures.

    I’ve put up my review of “Movie 43”. It wasn’t the epic shitfest I expected, which made it kinda hard to write a really balanced review of it. If you’re interested, check out the forums (it’s got eight views so far. And three of them are me.)

  114. Paul— Thanks for taking one for the team. I was THIS close (holds thumb & forefinger 3-4 mm apart) to seeing Movie 43 on Thursday night before it departed my local multiplex (so that you should not have to suffer alone), but alas wussed out, and instead saw Hawkeye And Tamara Drewe: Booger Hunters (which was OK if somewhat uneventful).

    I read your review and was glad to find out it wasn’t a total shitefest. One thing I was (and still am) curious about that your review didn’t touch upon, but was the biggest near-selling point for me: Gerard Butler as a leprechaun. How’d that play out?

  115. Not for nothing, the new Die Hard is getting a B+ Cinemascore. I don’t know how accurate it is but the regular folks do seem to be enjoying it. Assuming they go since it only did 25 million dollars.

  116. Should I give WITH A VENGEANCE another chance? It’s the one I remember least fondly. Those riddles Simon gave them were stupid and they didn’t even solve them right.

    You know what else I haven’t seen in a while? MEDICINE MAN. McTiernan and Connery post HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, that should be awesome, right?

  117. caruso_stalker217

    February 18th, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Why wouldn’t you give WITH A VENGEANCE another chance? You’re Franchise goddamn Fred.

  118. it’s been a verrrrrrrry long since I’ve seen it, but I remember liking With a Vengeance a lot more than 2


    “The only thing I remember about the Max Payne action scenes is that they’re not good. Here is a game that is essentially jumping around and shooting two guns at the same time and he couldn’t even do that in the movie?”

    hahaha, I forgot Max Payne was even a movie, that may be the proof in the pudding that video game movies should not be attempted because all they needed to do for Max Payne was to make a slightly tongue in cheek gritty revenge thriller and they even fucked that up

  119. Is it really that important if Gruber 2’s riddles were stupid and not solved right? After all he just needed a distraction, that could also kill McClane on the way.

  120. DIE EVEN HARDERER starts out really strong, but runs out of steam midways. A hame really. i would have absolutely loved it if it had carried its momentum from start to finish. As it is now, I place it below DIE HARDER on the strict hierarchy that I like to call DIE HARD sequels.

  121. I liked it because it wasn’t just McClane accidentally stumbling upon that kind of situation again (what are the odds, right?) and instead there was a REASON he found himself in deep shit again that made sense and actually tied in with the first movie

    not that I hate Die Hard 2 mind you, I just don’t think it’s as good as the third

    of course, at the end none of them are close to the original, in my opinion

  122. Here are some stupid thoughts regarding the thinking behind ” Why John McClane may still be THE same John McClane.Or not…”

    John McClane is a fictional character and Bruce Willis is a reallife human being portraying as said fictional character. Now I want John McClane to continue being the same smartass wisecracking guy from the first movie and his character traits being the same throughout the series.

    As a fictional character within literature that would not constitute much of a problem, because the fictional character is just an abstarct creation that only exist in the minds of the autor and its readers.

    In movies you have to deal with the actors age and reallife human beings traits. You change with age and perhaps all that wisecracking youth is gone. And it was associated with his age. That must be the reason he is hardly cracking jokes anymore. Now that he is older he seems to be more concerned about his family and re-connect with them. As you grow older you tend tofocus on what really matters in life.

    Is it sweet that he wants to reconnect with his family? Yes and it is relatable. So, you could say that he now even more than before is more of a actionhero everyday man. He is not James Bond or Rambo doing shit for the greater good. he just wants to be with his family. That is what makes him relatable. because he has reallife concerns. all that blowing up shit is secondary. That does not constitute a character trait in my opinion.

    I can understand age and all that reallife shit. But sometimes I just wished him to still be that irreverant smartass from 1988.

  123. Just came back from seeing this. I did not like it. It’s sexist. So the girl villain is so emotional about losing her dad she decides to kill herself by crashing her fucking helicopter into a building instead of just flying away and going after the McClanes some other time? Yeah, that makes sense. It was probably that time of the month, you know.

    Also, not sure if it’s mentioned above, but this movie committed another action movie sin, besides showing the muscle guy but not having him fight McClane: some of the main villains killing each other. Do’nt you hate that shit? It’s like Kill Bill: Vol 2, where The Bride is coming to get revenge against Bud after being buried alive by him, but then he’s already dead by the time she gets there. Or worse, Machete, where the hero Machete doesn’t kill ANY of the five or six main bad guys. Not even Seagal, if you think about it.

    I’m sorry to say Vern’s review is right on the money. I wanted to like this, and was hoping I would after some postive comments by Mr. M and others. But it’s complete shit.

    Maybe hire a competent director next time, huh guys?

  124. There was something that creeped me the fuck out.It almost seemed like the father an daughter almost had some sexual tension between them. I think I registered it when watching it, but at the time I just thought they had a tender moment. Now? It just disturbs me

  125. I agree, Shoot. Definitely the girl seemed to be in to her dad way too much. Maybe that was a deliberate choice. Might explain why she fucking kills herself afterwards.

    Really, I just could not enjoy that explosion at all because of the stupid reasoning behind it. If the McClanes would have brought that chopper down with a rocket launcher or something, that would have made all the difference in the world. Now it was an empty explosion, so to speak. Without any cathartic impact.

  126. I finally saw it and it was really depressingly bad. Here are two points that I recalled after seeing it.

    1. Bruce Willis looked bored out of his mind. He couldn’t even show that swagger when delivering sarcastic lines. It’s bad when you count the number of times he mentions that he’s on vacation.

    2. A shockingly low number of actual characters in the movie. It’s basically carrot dude, daughter, prisoner guy and government guy along with the McClains. With that little amount of characters you would think I would even know most of their names!!

  127. The most depressing thing about this was Bruce’s portrayal of a character who used to be so fucking cool. That cockiness and crazy look in his eyes is all gone. I know he’s aged but getting old doesn’t rid you of your charisma!! Look at Stallone’s recent Rocky and Rambo…he was 100% still recognisably those same characters. There’s this tv ad for Sky that Bruce did recently-there seemed to be more enthusiasm from the bloke in that one advert than in this whole film. Rant almost over. If they did some kind of reboot with another actor, whoever they got probably wouldn’t be any less recognisable as McClane than how Bruce is portraying him at this point. Blame Moore and Wiseman all you want but as ‘keeper of the Die Hard mythology’ or whatever the fuck he calls himself, there’s obviously only one man to blame.

  128. Well, it´s been over a week since this trainwreck fell upon us. Vern´s review was only part of the therapy. Next session is here: Red Letter Medias review:


  129. Re-watched part 3. I have to edit my prEvious statement that it starts out strong but runs out ofsteam. It doesn´t. I think it´s pretty strong allthroughout. But I do miss that the quiz-part gets abandoned halfway unlike 12 ROUNDS and that could have been the reason why I felt such a way about 3 before.. But it is a good one.
    It is also the last one with McClane being wisecrack and all. There are traces of him in part 4 and 5. But it gets less and less. It´smlike autumne before winter.

  130. Speaking of half assed, I think Bruce wasn’t even there for parts of the movie. I think he liked that EXPENDABLES trick of shooting him out in a day and cutting him into scenes.

    Sternshein,good point about the few characters. DIE HARD had 12 terrorists, and the sequels more. McClane and a handful of bad guys? That’s it? No wonder it’s only 90 minutes.

    I may have already said this but that last helicopter explosion didn’t even feel like the end of the movie. I realize it was but why should it have been the end? What did that resolve? How was that a bigger deal than anything they’d already been through?

    But man, zooming in and out on establishing shots is the worst.

  131. The zooming was bad, but it was the the shake-and bake camera shit inside the cars during the carchase that made me pull my head away from the screen. Man, my eyes did not approve of that horseshit. Also it did me no favors of sitting at the frontseat of the theatre to this disaster. I feel like I took the hit worse than anybody else, Just like in any real accident.

  132. And again, Bruce sitting in a car on some soundstage with a shaking camera while the rest of the scene was shot somewhere else. I mean I know they always do pickups and inserts but it did not remotely look like he was in the same scene. And maybe he was. If he was on location and the camera made it look like he wasn’t…

  133. The Original... Paul

    February 23rd, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Have to ask: when did McClane become about the one-liners? Wasn’t he kinda the anti-Bond at one point, due to this (among many other things)? I mean, yeah, there’s “Yippie Kie Yay” and all, but after he kills Karl Cold, he just stands there, exhausted. That to me is John McClane – constantly behing hit with more than he can handle, and still surviving.

  134. “Welcome to the party, pal!”
    “Come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs.”
    “Good advice.”
    “So my captain keeps telling me.”
    “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you, I’m gonna fuckin’ cook you, and I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you!”
    “Happy trails, Hans.”

    I call bullshit. You guys are really reaching now for reasons why DH5 left you so butthurt.

  135. “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill you, I’m gonna fuckin’ cook you, and I’m gonna fuckin’ eat you!”

    Best line in any DIE HARD film. Possibly best line in a film ever.

  136. Mr. M, now you know how I feel when people complained LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD wasn’t McClane anymore. He’s so still McClane.

    I’d say rumors of the franchise’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Since when does one bad sequel end a franchise? They all want to go out on top, or never go out which is my preference as Franchise Fred.

    I do think it’s funny how surprised the general public is that it was bad. People who don’t follow preproduction or John Moore’s previous work just thought there’s a new Die Hard and assumed it would be good.

  137. I got no problem with anybody disliking the movie, as I’ve said before. I know I’m the weirdo here. But everybody hates the movie so much that it’s leading to some revisionist history on the original, which I can’t abide. DIE HARD is a fucking classic, a master’s class in how an action movie should be made, but it’s not a realistic drama noted for its restraint. It was an over-the-top 80s action movie full of smarmy catchphrases and impossible derring-do. Just like the new one. Obviously, there’s a drastic difference in quality between the two. But it’s a difference in degree, not kind.

  138. Shit, I just had multiple opportunities to use “Take this under advisement, jerkweed” and I failed miserably.

  139. I don’t even think most people where even aware of there being a new DIE HARD out there tbh. I mean my best friend is pretty hip when it comes to mainstream action fare and last night during our smoke session we were talking about what was out in theaters and he goes “Man I didn’t even know that there was a DIE HARD 5 I just found out this morning when someone mentioned it on the news”.

  140. I think it fels like an entire different movie than the rest. The original had a lot more suspense and tension to it than any of the sequels.I´d say it´s more of a thriller than a fullblown action extravaganza. If anything it is restrained compared to the rest. It had twelve terrorists and stuck by it. The henchmen did not have infinite spawn points like they seem to do now and I respect that.

  141. The Original... Paul

    February 23rd, 2013 at 5:10 pm


    Can’t say anything about the latest “Die Hard” movie, bcause I haven’t seen it (no plans, the trailers and the reviews have pretty much convinced me that this is a generic shakycam action flick with the “Die Hard” label stuck to it. I’m going to wait until I can see this one on TV for free.)

    I guess my point is that the one-liner was used sparingly, and at the appropriate time, in “Die Hard”. Occasionally it was used purely for humour, on other occasions it was used by McClane to unsettle his enemies. (Can a one-liner be written, not spoken? Because if so, “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho!” must be the most famous of the whole damn lot, and I include the “Yippie Ki Yay” line in that statement.) When it WASN’T used was when McClane had just gone ten rounds with a massive sociopathic martial artist with his feet cut to ribbons. When Karl gets killed, they don’t spoil the moment by having Bruce look up at his body and mutter: “Hang the fuck around”, before sipping a Martini and flying off into the sunset with Honor Blackman.

  142. The Original... Paul

    February 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    And that last line should obviously have read: “flying off into the sunset ON Honor Blackman”. I apologise for myt proofreading failures.

  143. Nah “Yippie Kay Yay” is definitely the most famous one liner from that movie. It’s been used in all the sequels since and is the one movie quote that immediately brings DIE HARD to mind in the eyes of laymen casual movie goers. The sign on Karl’s brother Tony is my favorite of the bunch though definitely but it’s far from the most famous.

  144. Nah “Yippie Kay Yay” is definitely the most famous one liner from that movie. It’s been used in all the sequels since and is the one movie quote that immediately brings DIE HARD to mind in the eyes of laymen casual movie goers. The sign on Karl’s brother Tony is my favorite of the bunch though definitely. Especially with the way Rickman reads it lol but it’s far from the most famous.

  145. I’m late to the party on this one. I kinda liked it. The opening scenes were pretty bad and the chase was edited and shot horribly. But you know, once it found its footing, it sorta became a Die Hard movie. (Spoilers) The helicopter finale was actually pretty awesome. The scene where McClane drives the jeep out of the back of the copter to send it into a tailspin was right up there with the ejector seat scene from Part 2. And I liked the Gruber death callback scene and the way they one-upped it by sending the villain into the rotors. And the father/son stuff was handled way better than say, Crystal Skull. Still my least favorite of the series by quite a margin, but I liked it better than most internetters.

  146. I think we can all forgive A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD for not being good. We knew it was headed this way, but everyone makes mistakes and we still love ’em.

  147. Over a month later I’m still amazed by how poor this was. A weak sauce plot, boring action scenes, a total lack of tension or suspense and a performance by Bruce Willis that has all the energy of a man who hasn’t slept in 5 days. The only decent thing about it was Jai Courtney. Hopefully he’ll move onto better things as a result.

  148. “A natural progression” will at least mean that John probably will make up with his wife at the Nakatomi HQ (if she works there). I can dig that.

  149. Also, hope the title sticks, as it would pretty much obligate them to make it the final instalment.

  150. As much as i would like to,I am so cynical at this point that I honestly don´t think they have the good sense of tying up the ends.I don´t think they will make a story about John making up with Holly and complete it. They will just pull some stupid shit about John having some stock portfolio in Japan that he needs to save so he does not lose his house and there is an evil japanese executiveguy for him to twhart.

    They will also most likely put in some dumbshit subplot about the villain and his archrival scheming over stocks. Shit nobody care about. And a chase on a Bullet train? Fuck that! THERE IS NO CHASE! The entire third act is about staring at the stockmarket as it plunges, much like the resolution in Wargames, staring at some computershit.

    And Holly is nowhere to be seen.

  151. Saw this yesterday and read all your comments today. I think I’ll make Old Man Sykes’ words mine: “It ain’t what it used to be, but it’ll do.” I liked it.

  152. So have any locals seen the Director’s Cut which apparently cuts Winstead out of the film?

  153. I am going to outright say this: Despite how lackluster this movie is compared to the previous films, I still enjoyed to some degree. I feel like I am in a minority and I remember prior to seeing this, I have read reviews blasting this movie but I still enjoyed it for what it was. I wouldn’t say that it was great, but entertaining, I would say that.

  154. Review publishing this week. Extended cut adds very little, certainly doesn’t make the action more comprehensible. There’s one fun bit where they’re searching Russian cars. Another addition has McClane scream in anger as he fires his gun on the firing range before going to Russia.

    More revealing is a documentary on the incomprehensible car chase that shows how they did all the stunts in different parts of different cities including a massive green screen overpass. No wonder it doesn’t cut together, although you’d think movies shoot in different locations all the time and still make sense.

  155. Fred: But does it cut Winstead out of the film? Because I am not down with that. As the premier AGDTDH defender, I’d have to rescind my support for a bonehead move like that. The whole family reunion aspect was what made me look more kindly on the film than most.

  156. Maj, they do cut her out, quite awkwardly at the airport and then they just take out the last shot of the family reunion and her phone call during the car chase. I’m with you, the family reunion is one of the defensible aspects and this saves, what, 90 seconds of screen time in a short 95 minute movie? And an “extended” cut?

  157. Well, looks like I’m never watching that version. Personally, given my predilection for smoky-voiced brunettes with gigantic brown anime eyes, I can’t imagine cutting Winstead out of anything.

  158. Makes you appreciate the theatrical cut a bit more. At least you get a few scenes of Winstead!

    I have a thing for brunettes too.

  159. For me those family moments were the only thing that held the movie together. I don´t understand any of this. It´s a bit like the directors cut of REVENGE were Tony Scott decided to edit out all the good character scenes to make it seem dumber for some reason.

  160. I know you guys pretty much despise this movie because it dug up your grandma’s bones and made a wind chime out of them that only plays songs by bands that have lead singers that stole your girlfriends from you, but I’m really looking forward to getting the DVD/Blu-ray combo thingie and watching it again. Maybe I’m a chump but John McClane has basically been my hero since I saw DIE HARD in the theater at 10 years old, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy to see him happy at the end. No amount of shakycam or directorial fuckery can take that away from me.

  161. I´ll say this, will this entry stop me from watching the next DIE HARD? No.

  162. Agreed. I gave it a scathing review but I still watched it twice the day I got it. Three or four moments make it worth keeping to me.

    Tap dancing bad guy calling McClane a cowboy and McClane says nothing.

    “We’re not a hugging family”

    Father and son exchanging guns.

    McClane says the line for his kids.

    Giving the exploding helicopter the finger as they jump away in slow motion.

    I also liked John Moore’s commentary. You might think he seems like he doesn’t give a shit but I think the opposite. He does and he’s having fun. He just made a terrible decision to go handheld.

  163. The Undefeated Gaul

    June 6th, 2013 at 8:39 am

    I haven’t seen the older films in the franchise for a long time, but when I watched the last one I was a bit surprised at the “We’re not a hugging family” stuff. I seem to remember McClane being a pretty warm person in the first two, at least towards his wife. He didn’t seem like a guy that has problems expressing his emotions towards his loved ones. Remember at the end of the second one when he’s yelling his wife’s name and they hug the shit out of each other when they finally see each other? When did this guy turn into someone who doesn’t show love even towards his own kids?

  164. They’re probably not a hugging family because they’ve been estranged from each other for most of their lives. John clearly has a defense mechanism where he says the wrong thing and gets the people he loves pissed off at him. “Only John can make someone that crazy,” to quote Holly. Also, Argyle and Zeus both intuited that it was John’s pig-headedness during an argument that drove Holly away both times, so it stands to reason he’d have had incidents like that with his kids. Plus, it’s kind of a Northeast thing to bust your loved ones balls instead of telling them how you feel about them, which is why I love the part where John makes fun of his son for getting injured. I think his character is pretty consistent in that way.

  165. Mr Majestyk, isn’t that character pretty much the same character Bruce Willis always plays?

  166. Sure. How could he otherwise? It’s a Jersey thing. I guess you never messed with anyone from Hoboken before.

  167. No, but I got a postcard from a hooker in Minneapolis once.

  168. Do feel free to elaborate,pegsman.

  169. Sorry to get you all excited, but it’s a Tom Waits song I’m listening to right now.

  170. If you want to know the truth of it, she don’t have a husband. He don’t play the trombone.

  171. “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis” off of BLUE VALENTINE. Not one of his better albums, in my opinion (It was made during his hipster lounge lizard phase, before he got all stark and weird, and it gets a little saccharine and overproduced. I’m not really sure Waits needed to be recording songs from WEST SIDE STORY with a full orchestra) but that song is a killer. A great short story in song form with a funny yet devastating twist. Reminds you that Waits isn’t just a collection of gimmicks but a real powerhouse songwriter.

  172. Damn, I wrote that wrong. It’s Christmas Card, and I’m listening to his USED SONGS compilation album.

  173. I really liked BAD AS ME, but I must admit that I think Waits could stand to branch out a little. “Everybody’s Talking At The Same Time” is a good song, but he’s written it at least once per album since 1986. He’s kinda been coasting on his BONE MACHINE revelation for awhile and hasn’t really been trying to grow as a songwriter the way I’d like. That having been said, “Hell Broke Luce” is a completely amazing, unique and perfectly written song that is just another reminder of what Waits is capable of doing when he gets hungry. There’s not an album he’s ever written that doesn’t have at least one jaw-dropper on it.

    It also has a pretty nifty video by Matt Mahurin http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Fju9o8BVJ8

  174. I don´t know anything about Wait. And all of a sudden I got all these facts and interpretations of an artist I hardly know. Jesus. I feel stupid.

  175. But you know him as an actor, right?

  176. Yeah, Waits kind of found his sound with RAIN DOGS and he’s been tweaking it ever since, instead of going off in new directions like he used to. His first seven or eight albums all had their own sounds, some jazzy, some bluesy, some singer-songwritery, but now they’ve all got that off-beat junkyard vibe. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since he’s the inventor and sole owner/operator of that vibe, but I wouldn’t mind one that did something really different. Either way, I ain’t complaining, though. More Tom Waits is more Tom Waits.

    By the way, Shoot, if you wanted to start exploring Waits, I’d start with the album I mentioned, RAIN DOGS. It’s weird but accessible, and It still sounds fresh today. I don’t think there’s a bum track on it. Also, Jarmusch used some of the songs in DOWN BY LAW, most notably “Jockey Full of Bourbon” in the opening credits.

  177. Hardly. I need specifics. Present to me his most iconic performance. I really do not know the guy. At all.

  178. Thanks for the direction, Majestyk, I will look in that direction

  179. I’d say he was probably the definitive Renfield in BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA.

  180. Yeah, RAIN DOGS and MULE VARIATIONS are good albums to start with. Movie wise I would go for DRACULA, SHORT CUTS, RUMBLE FISH, QUEEN’S LOGIC and/or DOWN BY LAW.

  181. Shoot – Mr. M is correct, you haven’t truly experienced Waits until you’ve seen him eating bugs while being directed by Francis Coppola. But he also has a major part in Jarmusch’s Benigni-heavy DOWN BY LAW, a good supporting role in the recent SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (he’s the one with the rabbit in the trailer) and plays the role he was born to play –the devil– in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DR. PARNASSAS.

  182. I believe he also played the devil in Tony Scott’s contribution to that BMW short film series. And I suspect he was supposed to be the devil (or a devil surrogate) in the peyote sequence in DOMINO.

    If you gotta get typecast…

    Oh, and Shoot, you know THE WIRE’s awesome theme song? Yeah, Waits wrote that shit.

  183. I had no idea Waits were behind The Wires theme. And it completely went past me about Coppola. i really need to stepup.

  184. He didn’t write it for the show. It was a song off of his 1987 album FRANK’S WILD YEARS.

    It was also sampled by early nineties rap group 3rd Bass for a mock blues song about a whiteboy growing up in Louisiana in the forties who had so much soul it was coming out his asshole. I think Waits would approve.

  185. http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2013/jun/04/hollywood-director-john-mctiernan-prison

    Fuck, this is depressing. Let’s hope he makes it out okay.

  186. Mr Waits is also a notoriously difficult man to interview. The list of things he won’t talk about is as long as your arm. I just read a piece that started off bad and just got worse. By the end the journalist told us he seriously considered to punch his subject in the face.

  187. Tom Waits was also in MYSTERY MEN and since I got my DJ name from that movie (Psychofrakulator), I can use his voice from time to time as an intro. (I know, it’s kinda douchebaggish to abuse Mr Waits for such purpose, but come on, he decided to appear in that movie first! [Although it isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation])

  188. MYSTERY MEN has a reputation as not being very good?

  189. Unfortunately. It isn’t put in the same league as HOWARD THE DUCK or CATWOMAN, but its fanbase is surprisingly small. (Maybe it has to do with the fact that it introduced Smash Mouth’s ALLSTAR to the world, but I can get over it.)

  190. Careful now, as we all know there are a lot of HOWARD fans around here.

  191. Careful indeed. The last time HOWARD THE DUCK was discussed, it turned into a discussion about ducks being rapist assholes. Let´s try and stay classy this time. At least for Bruce.

  192. Hey, I like HOWARD THE DUCK too. I was talking about how the rest of the internet feels about it.

  193. Jareth Cutestory

    June 7th, 2013 at 8:24 am

    Majestyk: I think you do a bit of a disservice to the conceptual brilliance of Blue Valentine. Waits uses “Somewhere” from WEST SIDE STORY to slyly introduce his own carnival mirror version of many of the themes and situations that Sondheim dealt with in the original material (which itself is a kind-of re-write of Romeo & Juliet). West Side Story is highly symbolic; Waits takes those symbols and invests them with the grit and tragedy of his perception of the real streets (a less subtle mind would have named the album Lower East Side Story). It’s probably Waits’ most thematically diciplined record, and it’s immaculately sequenced to draw you into the world that he has created, setting the stage masterfully, then drawing the curtain back on the heartache underneath. And there’s a lot of enjoyment to be found in comparing, say, “Romeo is Bleeding” to “Jet Song” and “The Rumble” or “$29.00” to “Maria.”

    Whether or not you like the songs is obviously your call to make. Personally, I don’t think he’s written a song more heartbreaking than the title track, and his eye for detail throught the album seldom errs. Stylistically, I think the divide between the first and second parts of his career have been overstated. “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard” and “Mr. Siegal” from Heart Attack & Vine could easily fit onto later records.

    It could be argued that Waits performed a similar trick more effectively with later take on Alice in Wonderland, but I think the raw-nerve quality of Blue Valentine and the aesthetic grit is really compelling stuff.

  194. Jareth: Damn, I just got my ass handed to me. But in my defense, I’m not really a “conceptual brilliance” kind of guy when it comes to music, and I’ll admit that my iPod has almost thoroughly ruined me for listening to full albums. I either like the sound of the songs or I don’t, and most of the songs on BLUE VALENTINE don’t really grab me. Next time I listen to it I’ll keep your interpretation in mind, though.

  195. Jareth Cutestory

    June 7th, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Yeah, after writing all that stuff I realized that I sound like a douche with all that “conceptual brilliance” stuff. I mean, it’s there if you’re looking for it, and it has its own kind of rewards, but it doesn’t mean anything if the songs don’t grab you.

    I’ve talked to people who appreciate the songs from Blue Valentine better after hearing some of the more famous cover versions, like Neko Case’s version of “Christmas Card” or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ version of “Whistlin’ Past the Graveyard.” It’s understandable: the exaggerated singing style Waits used on the album verges on self-parody at times (though, in my opinion, it’s not as bad as on the Foreign Affairs album).

  196. Epic Question: DIE HARD or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK?

  197. The original Paul

    June 7th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    RRA – “Die Hard”, without a doubt. I like “Raiders” but I didn’t grow up with it like I did with “Die Hard”. That’s one of the fairly small group of movies that defined my teenage years.

  198. The original Paul

    June 7th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    “I read your review and was glad to find out it wasn’t a total shitefest. One thing I was (and still am) curious about that your review didn’t touch upon, but was the biggest near-selling point for me: Gerard Butler as a leprechaun. How’d that play out?”

    Amazing Larry – sorry I didn’t see this one before. I stopped watching the comments for this film because I had no intention of seeing it.

    In answer to your question: honestly, I didn’t even realise it WAS Butler when watching it. It’s about what you’d expect… two guys abusing a little person, then a little person abusing two guys in revenge. It’s neither as funny or nasty as that description makes it sound, and it’s one of the least memorable scenes in the entire movie. (Mind you, it’s up against Halle Berry’s botched plastic surgery and Hugh Jackman’s facial testes, so…)

  199. Jareth Cutestory

    June 8th, 2013 at 8:32 am

    RRA: I prefer RAIDERS, which is interesting because my tastes tend to fall way over on the DIE HARD side of things in any aspect of filmatism you care to name. Also, I tend to dislike Spielberg in general; any other match up wouldn’t have favored him:

    THE THING over E.T.
    THE MATRIX over A.I.

  200. RRA: RAIDERS. I love them both, but more so than any movie I can think of Raiders is what I’d consider a “perfect” movie.

  201. So I noticed the more recent comments seem pretty forgiving of DH5, possibly in light of severely diminished expectations (“I actually kinda liked it/it wasn’t that bad!”) And I gotta say, I agree. It’s a perfectly serviceable Redbox/Netflix rental. Sure, we should expect more from a Die Hard, strive for excellence, etc…but I gave up on the hopes of another good Die Hard somewhere during the first 10 minutes of DH4 (which I hated on first watch but saw again later and kinda liked as well). Sure, McClane doesn’t act like McClane, but he wasn’t even McClane in the third one (he was more like Joe Hallenbeck from The Last Boy Scout) and that movie was still good.

    The action scenes were pretty good from home, I don’t doubt all you guys had a terrible time in the theatres, but I’m wondering if a smaller screen helps (unlike something like Transformers 2/Quantum of Solace where the action was incomprehensible in the theatre and at home). The practical (or at least practical looking) destruction in the car chase was pretty rewind-worthy, as were the two obviously CGI-assisted helicopter scenes. I’m pretty sure there’s no hand to hand fight in this movie, they dropped the ball on that one.

    I weirdly didn’t mind the lack of a strong villain – it reminded me of how people act like the Bond movies need to have a strong villain every time, when quite a few of them have surprise twist villains. But on the other hand, it sucks that there’s finally a Die Hard villain where I couldn’t name the actor or even the character’s name with a gun to my head. (I actually don’t think I could name ANY of the character’s names besides the McClanes, now I think about it).

    The plot also veers into Orci/Kurtzman territory (I love having that shorthand available to use) with the double-double crosses and overly simple yet overly complicated plot, but for some reason I didn’t mind because…. the short runtime? The fairly high action to exposition ratio? The pretty good father-son chemistry? I’m not going to lie, the whole “You know son, I had a pretty good day.” “Yeah me too, dad.” “Good, now let’s go kill some motherfuckers” exchange was kind of sweet and hilarious (Too bad there’s like 30 motherfuckers running around and we only see them kill 2 of them.)

    I don’t know, I’m kind of like Majestyk – there’s no real defense for this movie, it just kinda worked for me too. I’ll still see the next one, and I do get the feeling after Fast 5 and Avengers and Resident Evil 5, etc…they’ll bring Holly around and bring it full circle, and this one will seem better in retrospect.

  202. “So I noticed the more recent comments seem pretty forgiving of DH5,”

    Denialism can be a bitch.

  203. I gave this movie about 10 minutes. The look of it was putrid and low-rent. The action was muddy and incomprehensible. The taxi-driver-singing comedy was cheesy and cheap. Bruce Willis seemed tired. I’m glad I waited for the DVD and didn’t endure this in the theatre.

  204. Finally saw this one… Such a shame. Did they only have Bruce for half the filming? So many scenes are shot with no establishing shot and staged so that Bruce is off to the side of everyone. They cut away to him, but you rarely see him in the same space as anyone else. There are almost no over the shoulder shots or two shots. It’s all close ups and medium close ups on characters in isolation from one another. And the ADR. Oh lord, the ADR.

    I actually liked the big car chase and didn’t really have trouble following it, except when they cut in to the drivers cabins. There was no sense of weight or connection to the outside world. It was like they filmed the cut always before they filmed the action and then just inserted the former at random within the latter.

    There are some very pretty shots in this movie. The director/cinematographer clearly knows how to shoot a movie, they apparently just chose not to.


  205. So I saw it yesterday, since it finally arrived on German Pay TV (which is a good indication for how little excitement I had for this movie) and I’m not saying that I liked it, but I liked it much more than part 4. Mostly because McClane Jr was the 2nd best sidekick John ever had. But seriously, it was ultimately forgettable.

  206. It’s funny how I praised it the night I watched it, but after a while, I finally realized how bad this movie truly was. A lot of people may knock the fourth film, but I personally never thought it was bad. Was it different than the previous three? Yes. Did it show McClane in a different light than before? Yes. Was it bad? I wouldn’t say so. As a Die Hard movie, it was lackluster, but at least John still went through some tension that he endured in the first three. Sure, the cop car/chopper bit was a bit over-the-top, as well as the aircraft sequence, but tell me that the fire hose bit in the first one wasn’t? What about lighting a streak of gasoline into an airborne plane? What about throwing a bomb out of a subway train car?

    What differs the fifth film compared the first four was the shaky camera, the fact that McClane is superhuman, the fact that McClane doesn’t care about killing random civilians on a Russian freeway or the fact that the father/son relationship is hardly explained. At least we knew some of Lucy’s reasons for her distaste in her father in the fourth film and slowly started coming around at certain situations. You mean to tell me that even after a reconciliation with his own daughter that it took a long time to try to reconnecting with his own son? He didn’t even know his own son was CIA? Plus, even when John tried helping Jack, his son still gave him a long of resentment towards him.

    I didn’t have to see it a second time to finally realize that this movie was bad. Me and my friend enjoyed it opening night, but it took some time for us to see that it was really bad. I know that there are times when I like to complete my collections of movies of a series. I won’t be doing that with this one. Again, as much as people like to bash “Live Free or Die Hard,” I never had a problem with that movie. I still like to think of it as a Die Hard movie with some elements and I treat it like a standalone action movie. This movie, on the other hand, will not be added to my collection unless I find it for really cheap, but even the chances of me getting it are really slim.

  207. The fire hose bit in the first one was not a bit over-the-top, E-Man.

  208. ” the fact that McClane is superhuman”

    To be honest, I thought they dialed down his superhumanity a lot, since xXx3 a.k.a. Die Hard 4.0.

  209. Well, this is probably the best conversation I’ve seen on the Die Hard series as everyone’s acknowledging the ups and downs as opposed to playing favorites/least favorites.

    I didn’t have much issue with quick cuts, tracking shots, lens flare or slightly shaky moments like most people. I’m mainly the type who dislikes it when scenes are shot in the dark (so part of Skyfall and all of Pacific Rim get thumbs down from me).

    It’s true that McClane was always superhuman but he’s met the same fate much like Rambo where now that he’s truly unstoppable, there is no suspense and all we can hope is that one simply has fun with whatever sequel comes out next.

    The first one was just a great addition to the hostage scenario formula that Dog Day Afternoon and Assault on Precinct 13 started up.

    The second one had a forgettable copy-and-paste but made an impact because it was bringing back the airline terror originally fused together in the Airport disaster series.

    The third one was a rejected Lethal Weapon script and ended up having another underground heist storyline that’s since been duplicated (i.e. Dark Knight Rises).

    The fourth film was a rejected sequel script to Enemy of the State but little known fact is that Kevin Smith, Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Money Train, Hostage), William H. Wisher (Terminator 1 & 2) and Skip Woods (who’s part of his script was later reused for the 5th film) also contributed to it. It ended up also feeling like Swordfish as both villains in either film are radicals wanting the gov’t to answer for it’s sins and are both called “Gabriel.”

    The fifth film basically brought back the like-it-or-hate-it atmosphere of TAKEN 2 and then inserted a Mission: Impossible type storyline while doing another father-and-son storyline similar to Indiana Jones 4 (except not painful to sit through at times, just questionable I’d argue).

    The rumor now is that the sixth and final chapter will have John taking on terrorists (I don’t know if they chose Olympus Has Fallen’s Rick Yune like they claimed or what) at a Tokyo plaza owned by the Nakatomi owner’s grown-up children while also saving his family and the hacker guy who came along for the ride. I hope they do get Powell and Zeus to return though as it just would be rewarding either way (regardless if the actual film still isn’t up to everyone’s level, Sam Jackson needs to step away from the underwhelming superhero films and could definitely revisit this franchise as opposed to the others he stole the show in like Star Wars and xXx).

  210. 10-ish years later, completism and kids got the best of me, and I watched this. With DIE HARD being a Christmas-time movie, we started there around Christmas-time and then kept going forward. Knowing its reputation, we took the time to order PART 5 from the library and wait. Well, it was worth the wait in the sense that I am glad I did not pay any money to watch it.

    People may take some bittersweet encouragement in the fact that one of my kids spontaneously blurted out, “You can’t really follow what’s going on with the action.” I used that prompt as an opportunity to introduce the concept of the ACR. Recognize!

    Nothing to say about this that hasn’t been said, except that I do think Bruce is comparatively engaged and fun here. It really depends on your reference point. He’s like equal parts John McLane and David Dunn of UNBREAKABLE. Like right in the middle of the two extremes of irrepressible chatty-Cathy wise-ass and dysthmic disorder Eeyore. Maybe a notch closer to McLane on this continuum, but definitely somewhat tired-seeming. Far less verbally-socially energetic and engaged than, say, RED, not as bad as some of his later stuff allegedly was. Right about DEATH WISH levels. Which all makes sense timeline-ically, I suppose. There’s a bit of a progression, though I think a lot of it depends on the material or the imagined audience.

    Anyway, the thing about sequels and reboots for me is that they don’t hurt their predecessors if their predecessors work as stand-alone films and are awesome. So, DIE HARD’s legacy is intact, and the sequels are, to varying degree, good or very good action films that benefit from McLane’s presence. And then there’s PART 5 here, which also benefits from McLane’s presence, but the ratio of classic McLane energy to various forms of shoddiness and uninspiredness just isn’t enough in this one. Not even close.

    Same with GLASS. I am pissed that both of these classic Bruce films actually got these last sequels, and in both cases, I think they completely blew it. That’s a fucking travesty. The legacy remains, and I choose to be simply disgusted rather than sad. Meaning I choose to yippie-DIE HARD, motherfucker!

    Vern, thank you for championing this movie and actor over the years. He deserved better than what he got at the end of his career, but he kept soldiering on. And so shall we, come what may.

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