July 4, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)

Bruce Willis and only Bruce Willis because apparently no one even remotely famous would tie their name to this tragedy of a movie

Die Hard was an excellent movie. Die Hard 2 was a good movie. Die Hard: With a Vengeance felt like it was overcompensating with the title. Then came Live Free of Die Hard, which is not only ridiculously titled, but was a completely unnecessary addition to the "franchise" and movies in general. 

And yet, here were are with the 5th movie, A Good Day to Die Hard. I'm not sure if the creators thought, 'If Fast and Furious can make 6 movies, we can too!!,' but I'm pretty sure it was a factor. Except here's where I defend the Fast & Furious movies over the Die Hard movies.
  1. Fast & Furious (with the exception of Tokyo Drift) doesn't come up with ridiculous ways to incorporate the original title into the sequels so that people will know it's supposed to be a sequel.
  2. Fast & Furious keeps the same plot and all the same characters and actors throughout the movies (again, with the exception of Tokyo Drift, in which the director subbed Paul Walker for some other nondescript, acting-challenged white guy and Ludacris for Bow Wow, as though all black rappers are equally interchangeable). This is what makes it a sequel, as opposed to the later Die Hard movies, where the only similarity is that Bruce Willis' character is named John McClane and stuff gets blown up.
  3. Bruce Willis is considered to be a legitimate actor. He once won a Golden Globe! The same cannot be said for, well, anyone in the Fast & Furious series. (I mean Vin Diesel did win an MTV Movie Award for "best team" with Paul Walker for the first Fast and Furious...) The point is, people don't expect the Fast & Furious movies to deliver the same cinematic quality as a viewer would from an actor like Bruce Willis and a movie spawned from a classic like Die Hard. Which is, I guess, why the creators are able to continue cashing in on the name.

To put this all in perspective, 25 years have passed between the first Die Hard and its latest sequel (I'd love to say it's last sequel, but sadly, I cannot). In the meantime, Bruce Willis has made movies like Red and The Expendables (with a sequel of its own), both of which portray him as an old hit man. To make movies that are so obviously age appropriate, then make this movie is a bit like an athlete moving from the regular tour to the senior tour, then trying to make a comeback, competing against 20 year olds. Except in movies, experience is not a helpful factor in pretending to fight bad guys. That's why Hollywood is able to suddenly sell someone like Shia LaBeouf as an action star (Transformers, and its own sucky sequels) as easily as someone like Jason Statham, who actually looks like he might be able to kick someone's ass.

The low point of it all, though, was when Bruce Willis uttered a "yippie-ki-yay motherfucker." It really just highlighted the pathetic-ness of the movie.

Final word: With every bullet fired, I'm pretty sure the writers were conceding "We couldn't be bothered to write a decent plot, so we'll cover it up with explosions."

Related: turning every movie into a franchise

Also, a look into the next 5 years of movies. "Here's a hint: you've already seen it." Ha.

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