A Good Day to Die Hard is a 2013 action-thriller film directed by John Moore, written by Skip Woods, and the fifth installment in the Die Hard series. Bruce Willis returns as John McClane, starring alongside Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch, and Yuliya Snigir.
The movie is widely considered to be the worst entry in the entire series. It earned a 14% on Rotten Tomatoes. The general consensus is that while none of the sequels are as good as the original movie, they are still very enjoyable, which is not the case with this movie. Willis has since disowned the movie, admitting that it isn't good.
In Moscow, Viktor Chagarin, a high-ranking, but corrupt, Russian official plans to incriminate former billionaire and government whistleblower Yuri Komarov in an imminent rigged trial unless Komarov hands over a secret file believed to contain evidence incriminating Chagarin. Separately, Jack McClane, who has been arrested after an assassination attempt, negotiates for a shorter sentence by offering to testify against Komarov. Meanwhile, Jack's father, NYPD Detective John McClane, who has not been in touch with his son for several years, has learned his son is in trouble and travels to Russia to help. As John arrives and approaches the courthouse where Komarov is on trial, a bomb explosion, orchestrated by Chagarin's henchman Alik, occurs in the courthouse and Jack breaks free with Komarov. Seeing his son, John confronts him, but their dispute is cut short as Alik and his men chase them in a US Cougar MRAP through the streets of Moscow. John, Jack, and Komarov manage to escape.
Hiding in a safe house, John finds out that his son is a CIA officer and has been on an undercover operation for the past three years. Jack's partner, Collins, demands the file's location from Komarov so that the CIA can bring Chagarin down. Komarov eventually agrees on condition that he and his daughter are given safe passage out of Russia. Collins is eventually shot and killed while the McClanes and Komarov come under heavy gunfire from Chagarin's men, but they escape. They make their way to a hotel in the city to fetch the key to the vault containing the file. There they meet up with Komarov's daughter, Irina, as earlier planned. John grows suspicious of her shifty behavior, and is proven correct when Alik and his men burst in and tie John and Jack up, while Komarov is taken as a hostage, and Irina confesses to informing on them for the "millions of dollars" to be gained. Jack breaks free of his ties and kills the nearest guards using a Russian gun-knife, allowing the two to kill most of the men. Alik and Irina, with Komarov still their hostage, return in a Mil Mi-24 helicopter and try to kill them, but the two escape a second time.
That night, the two steal a car full of firearms and drive to Pripyat, Ukraine, where the vault with the file is located. However, Komarov, Irina, and Alik have preceded them. In a twist, the file is revealed never to have existed: the drawer with the file supposedly inside is in fact a secret passage to a Chernobyl vault containing a large amount of weapons-grade uranium. Once inside the vault, Komarov kills Alik and calls Chagarin to gloat and to listen as Chagarin is killed by a henchman of Komarov's.
At this point, John and Jack enter the vault, discover Komarov's true plot, and capture him. Irina, with another henchman, comes to her father's aid. As they attempt to escape, Jack follows Komarov, while John goes after Irina, who is escaping on a Mil Mi-26 helicopter. Irina tries to protect her father by firing the helicopter's guns at Jack. John is able to bring the helicopter out of balance by driving a truck out of the hangar section, still shackled by a chain, via the open rear ramp; he is later thrown off into the building. Komarov remarks that Jack will get to watch his father die, prompting Jack to hurl him off the rooftop into the path of the spinning helicopter rotors, killing him. As Jack and John reunite inside the building, Irina tries to avenge her father by ramming the helicopter, now out of ammunition, into the building in a suicide attack. Father and son survive by leaping off the building into a large pool of water, as the helicopter crashes and explodes, killing Irina. A few days later, John and Jack return to New York and reunite with John's daughter - Jack's sister - Lucy McClane on the tarmac.
Why it Sucks
- The usage of academy ratio (1:85:1) is widely criticized, since the previous movies were shot anamorphically (2:39:1).
- Missed the spirit of the franchise. For instance, John, who is portrayed as a snarky anti-hero who still cares about people in the previous movies, gets turned to an unlikable hero who has no qualms about attacking and outright (nearly) killing innocent bystanders.
- Poor acting, especially from Courtney.
- Lazy dubbing work. At least one line from the movie is literally ripped from the fourth movie, complete with the exact same audio.
- An unbelievably weak story with, among others, terrible exposition scenes that feel convoluted, and a poor plot twist complete with unsubtle foreshadowing.
- Shamelessly rips off scenes from the previous movies. The villain dies exactly the same way as Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) from the first movie (falling from a building), complete with the exact same facial expression and soundtrack.
- His daughter's death is also a cheap rehash of Simon Gruber's (Jeremy Irons) demise from the third movie (helicopter crash).
- The twist of Komarov and Irina being revealed to be evil all along is frustating after the film has spent so much time focusing on Alik and Chagarin as the main villains.
- Writer Skip Woods and Fox tried toning down the film's tone for a younger audience which is ironic as the film is rated R nonetheless in comparison to its predecessor, Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0 from 2007, which was rated PG-13 which despite being somewhat watered down itself, was still good as the other sequels (but not as good as the original) as even it stayed true to it's roots.
- Another "Bad Russians vs. Good Americans" plot.
- The freeze-finish ending with the McClanes reuniting is a sharp contrast to the pull-back endings from the first four films.
- The film's Directors Cut actually removes footage, including all appearances and mentions of Lucy McClane, even though the bits between her and John were some of the few moments that felt like the previous films.
- The action scenes are good for what they are.
- Some of the fight scenes are good as well.
- Bruce Willis is still awesome although he seems tired out.
- The storyline was derived from a rejected, early script for Live Free or Die Hard/Die Hard 4.0, which according to Willis, doesn't feel like a Die Hard movie at all.
- Aaron Paul, Liam Hemsworth, James Badge Dale, Paul Walker, Ben Foster, Shiloh Fernandez, Milo Ventimiglia, Paul Dano, Steven R. McQueen, D.J. Cotrona, and Justin Timberlake were all considered for the role of Jack.