A good day for a film franchise to die hard?

Jai Courtney in A Good Day To Die Hard. Image courtesy of Fox International.

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane in the fifth of the Die Hard franchise – A Good Day To Die Hard. But is this a case of the “same shit” happening to the “same guy” once too often? The mojo review.


Director: John Moore

Stars: Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Amaury Nolasco

Screening: general release

Rating: ★★


In Die Hard 2, protagonist John McClane asks a fair question. “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” But despite the implicit admission that the idea of a Die Hard sequel was unlikely, the series has kept going.

A Good Day To Die Hard is the fifth film in the franchise, and sees Bruce Willis’ infamous McClane following on from where Die Hard 4.0  left off, proving for the second time that the best way to win the affections of your children is to destroy a city and kill a bucket load of scumbags, all in the name of justice.

This time around McClane is off to Moscow to find his son, Jack, played by Australian actor Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, Packed To The Rafters), only to find that his seemingly runaway son is now working for the CIA, and much like Lucy (May Elizabeth Winstead) in Die Hard 4.0, John ‘Jack’ McClane Jr. is less than impressed to see his father.

From this point on the action comes thick and fast, but despite some brilliant camera work and exceptional effects most of the action seems forced and desperate.

The film seems to rely too much on outrageous situations and explosions instead of the perseverance and detective work of McClane from previous films, and whilst Willis’ performance is as convincing as it was in previous films, the script seems to constrain him.

Moments of sentimentality are thrown in between, and even during, gun fights as John Sr. attempts to reconnect with his son, posing the question: Has Die Hard gone soft?

Themes of father/child relationships are prevalent throughout the entire film, even in the villains. As the film progresses and Jack McClane becomes more willing to hang the law in the name of justice, the focus begins to shift from Willis to Courtney, and even hints that Courtney may take the lead in any future films.

This is not a bad film per se. The plot twists are interesting without being overly complex and the actors all do quite well, however with the Die Hard formula now being recycled a fifth time it seems a little tired, and efforts to keep it fresh seem ridiculous and unnecessarily extravagant.

If A Good Day To Die Hard were the beginning of a new franchise, or a standalone action flick, it might be better received, but with such an iconic bloodline this film falls short of expectations.

Perhaps it’s time for this cowboy to ride off into the sunset. But regardless of where the series goes next one thing is evident: profitable franchises die hard.

Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney as John and Jack McClane. Image courtesy of Fox International.