A Good Day to Die Hard, the much-hyped action sequel directed by John Moore and starring Bruce Willis as veteran cop John McClane, opens in cinemas today. But the press got its first look at the film last night, and as reviews of the movie begin to appear online, it’s safe to say no-one is shouting “Yipee ki-yay!” about this one…
The Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin gave the film three stars and said: “Like its title, A Good Day to Die Hard feels like a cut-and-shut job. The contoured bonnet is an enjoyable romp, but it has the dented rear end of a clunky thriller.
“Perhaps it would have been easier to swallow as a standalone action film, shorn of the Die Hard brand and the skewed expectations that go with it.”
Writing in Empire, Kim Newman also saw the fifth Die Hard movie as something of a disappointment. He awarded it two stars and said: “Besides the flagging enthusiasm of star Bruce Willis… this [film] is handicapped by a misunderstanding of what made the first three work.
“A few reasonable action sequences are mired in family soap, making this A Good Day To Call It Quits.”
The Huffington Post’s Christy Lemire wondered half-seriously whether A Good Day to Die Hard might actually be some kind of parody. She said: “John McClane used to be a cowboy. Now, he’s a cartoon character.
“A Good Day to Die Hard is pointless and joyless, a barrage of noise and chaos, an onslaught of destruction without the slightest mention of consequence.”
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter took a similarly dim view, noting that while “the main aim clearly was to create as many action scenes as possible”, John Moore “has directed these sequences in a way that makes the incidents look so far-fetched and essentially unsurvivable that you can only laugh.
“At 98 minutes, this is by far the shortest of the Die Hard films, the rest of which run more than two hours. But it ends not a moment too soon.”
Likewise, The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Philips said A Good Day to Die Hard “isn’t just the weakest of the ‘Die Hard’ pictures; it’s a lousy action movie on its own terms, even without comparing it to the adored 1988 franchise launch.
“This movie barely tops 90 minutes minus the end credits, and everybody coming out of the screening the other night couldn’t believe it wasn’t a lot longer. A lotlonger. It felt that way.”
Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times called the movie “uninspired,” USA Today’s Claudia Puig described it as “obnoxious, over the top and often dull,” and Variety’s Peter Debruge opined that the fifth Die Hard movie is “expendable” with “a sub-par plot that feels suspiciously like someone tried to plug McClane into a preexisting screenplay.”
Indeed, the kindest sentiment expressed about A Good Day to Die Hard thus far comes from Daniel M Kimmel of New England Movies Weekly, who conceded that while “it’s probably a good day to end the series at last,” A Good Day to Die Hard “is an action-packed and entertaining finale.”
Alas, on the basis of these reviews, it seems A Good Day to Die Hard might well result in A Bad Day at the Pictures for action fans…