Well, I guess everything comes to an end. I think we’re beginning to see the end of the constant parade of shoot-em-up cop movies that captured our hearts and minds in the 1980s and are still being made today. For now.
It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen Steven Segall, Jean-Claude Van Damme, or Chuck Norris get star billing. The Lethal Weapon series is way past its prime. In the past month, Arnold Schwartzenegger’s comeback film, The Last Stand, opened to dismal business, despite some acceptable reviews. The same thing happened with Sylvester Stallone’s Bullet to the Head. Even relative newcomer to the genre, Jason Statham, flopped at the ticket wickets, despite even better reviews than the Schwartzenegger and Stallone outings, the addition of A-list co-star Jennifer Lopez, and director Taylor Hackford, who was Oscar nominated for directing Jamie Foxx to his Oscar in Ray.
Now we come to Bruce Willis and the Die Hard series. The first Die Hard film was not only an action masterpiece, but also an example of terrific filmmaking. In 1988, it reinvigorated the action film, made Bruce Willis a superstar, and raked in millions of dollars. It didn’t hurt that there was razor-sharp direction from John McTiernan, a cast of memorable character actors in support, and featured the best villain of the 20th century as played by Alan Rickman. And let’s not forget that famous quotable tag line, which can’t be repeated on radio, but is still a favorite to this day.
The second film wasn’t bad. It too had a good supporting cast, plenty of good action and stunts, and another of those music tracks that make use of classical as well as Christmas music. Number three, Die Hard with a Vengeance paired Willis with Samuel L. Jackson, but it was obvious the John McClane thing was getting tired. Number four was titled Live Free or Die Hard had Willis palling around with nerdy Justin Long and injected McClane’s estranged daughter, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
Now for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the series, we get A Good Day to Die Hard. To call it haphazard would be pulling punches. The script is laughably bad, the direction non-existent, and not a good character actor can be seen within miles. The scenario has John McClane going to Russia to rescue the son he’s never met, only to find out he’s a CIA agent out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. This loud, dumb, and generally boring retread of plot devices from many different movies is so inept, it’s hard to imagine Bruce Willis agreeing to star. The only good thing to be said about it is that not only is it the shortest of the Die Hard films, it’s probably one of the shortest films released in the past several months, unlike the two-and-a-half hours plus epics that are still on screen. But at even at a mere ninety-seven minutes, A Good Day to Die Hard seems much longer. I think it’s time to let John McClane retire. And I’m sure that if you’re a fan of Willis, the series, or action films in general, you may want to find out for yourself by plunking down your ten bucks for a ticket. However, all I can tell you is…
Yippee Ki Yay… movie goer.