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The fifth installment of Bruce Willis’ career-making ‘Die Hard’ franchise, ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’, hit theaters February 14, 2013. Unfortunately, seasoned moviegoers know February is the dumping ground for lazy, unimaginative, sloppy action flicks. ‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ is without a doubt the final nail in the coffin for Detective John McClane, and Toonari is here to explain why the franchise needs to bite the dust for good. Mild spoilers ahead.
John McClane has nothing left to offer the audience
The original ‘Die Hard’ was a hit: the snarky New York officer ran around kicking butt, getting beaten up, and generally pissing off one of the greatest film villains of all time. John McClane is a household name because of his lack of respect for authority, his foul mouth, and his easy trigger finger. By the fifth film, McClane is no longer an honest, lucky guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. He comes across as boorish and arrogant in the Moscow setting. His character works so much better in the previous films, even in the lukewarm ‘Live Free or Die Hard,’ that in the fifth movie he seems like a hollow shell of himself.
The writers keep giving him annoying sidekicks
One of the reasons why ‘Die Hard’ was so awesome is because it was one guy hopelessly outnumbered by bigger, stronger, badder German mercenaries. Adding a foil to John McClane is unnecessary (with the exception of Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) in ‘Die Hard 3’ because he was funny, useful, and a great character). Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) is nothing more than a younger, less interesting shadow of his father and served absolutely no purpose other than to bounce dialogue off of his much cooler predecessor.
The villains cannot hold their mud compared to Hans Gruber
By far, this new villain is the weakest threat of the bunch. The first ‘Die Hard’ characterized Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) so well that he is almost as much of a household name as McClane. He was vicious, articulate, and cunning. The new villain is dull, has weak motivations, and is stuffed full of clichés. Even worse, the villain in the trailer is not the true villain and dies in the third act with no build up. The real villain is revealed in the last thirty minutes of the film,but it does not add anything to the story.
The films are almost entirely independent of each other after the third movie
The first two ‘Die Hard’ sequels worked because they made references to the original and tied back into the story relatively well. However, the fourth and fifth films barely string anything from the previous flicks together, aside from a brief cameo by McClane’s daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Jack McClane’s continuous digs at his dad for not caring about national security make no sense when John McClane stops cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel (Timothy Olyphant) from stealing millions of dollars that would have collapsed the U.S. government. Additionally, McClane’s previous cohorts are forgotten. The audience never finds out what happened to Al (Reginald VelJohnson), Zeus, Matthew (Justin Long) or any other characters who made it out of the earlier movies alive. It is foolish to continue making movies without referencing the characters who helped make them worthwhile.
The filmmakers seem to misunderstand why we love the ‘Die Hard’ series
There are a plethora of reasons why the first ‘Die Hard’ is an American classic. The action is relatively realistic and superb, the stakes are high, and the dialogue is wonderfully irreverent. It is an incredibly memorable film because it presented a great character with plenty of flaws, a nasty villain, an engrossing heist, and a metric ton of violence and profanity. By the fifth film, it is impossible to see any of the enjoyable aspects of the franchise any longer; it has been bogged down with sickening clichés and an invincible main character with no involvement in the story. McClane has no motivation to hunt down the villain in ‘Good Day’, and that is one of the movie’s worst flaws.
With any luck, this ‘Die Hard’ will be the last, as many reviews reflect our aforementioned issues with the flick. It is safe to say that McClane should lay down his gun and retire before he starts making the audience wish they would die. Hard.