‘A Good Day to Die Hard’ makes up for plot with savage action

Julia Schaller

Today was not such a good day to die hard after all.
I haven’t seen any of the other Die Hard movies, so I was pretty lost whilst watching this one. Even though I enjoy a good action-packed, shoot-everything-in-sight, fall-out-of-buildings-and-somehow-have-one-scratch, never-look-back type of movies, I found the plot of A Good Day to Die Hard confusing.

Image used under fair use doctrine
Image used under fair use doctrine
The film follows cop John McClane (Bruce Willis, Looper) to Moscow as he finds and helps his insubordinate son Jack (Jai Courtney, Jack Reacher). John hasn’t seen his son in a while and isn’t aware of the work his son is involved with overseas. It turns out, Jack is a spy working for the CIA to stop Russians from obtaining nuclear weapons. The movie focuses on the development of the relationship of John and his son Jack as they battle their enemies together. Although this seems like an easy concept, it took almost the entire movie for me to truly understand what exactly was going on.
While I enjoyed some spontaneous twists in the story, I felt as though the movie was merely an hour-long car chase scene complemented with wild explosives, flying shattered glass, cars flipped off the wazoo and, of course, the people involved barbarically shooting just about every gun ever made.
These scenes, although perfectly savage, were a bit too chaotic as far as the cinematography was concerned. The cinematographer, Jonathan Sela (Law Abiding Citizen), made many quick cuts back and forth between characters, cars and even panorama shots of the entire surroundings, making it difficult to grasp the locations and focus of the scenes. The lengthy chase scenes would then transition into a snippet helping the plot, which was mostly based off of viewer inference anyway.
I appreciated the father-son atmosphere of the film. This isn’t your typical action movie including an inevitable romance scene. This film was purely a movie made for the enjoyment of men, and I loved the fact that the only real relationship in the movie was the love of family.
But, overall, the film was lackluster. Yet, I’ve found I’m quite fond of Bruce Willis. So if you’re in the mood for a movie with maybe too simple a plot, but overloaded with good guy vs. bad guy warfare, and you delight in watching Bruce Willis be a complete and total boss, then this may very well be the movie for you.
By Julia Schaller