[EDITOR'S NOTE: The Mercury's Erik Henriksen has an insultingly easy job: Watch movies, then write something halfway worthwhile about them. THAT'S IT. Somehow, he failed at this—spectacularly—when it came to A Good Day to Die Hard. To make up for his failure, here are Megan Seling's thoughts on the film.]
Generally when I review a film, I have enough of an advance to write a completely unbiased review—none of my friends have seen it, no one on Facebook has posted about how they loved or hated it, other writer’s haven’t published their own reviews, so I can get out all my thoughts before becoming self-conscious about whether or not I'm right or wrong. But since the press screening for the latest installment of the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, was Tuesday night, and then the film showed yesterday as the finale to an all-day Die Hard marathon, I've already seen a bunch of Twitter and Facebook comments about how terrible the film is. Everyone hates it! Like, REALLY, REALLY HATES IT. Which is making me second-guess how good I thought it was.
Instead of questioning myself, though, instead of thinking I’m the problem, I have one question for the haters: WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?
A Good Day to Die Hard is great! There are massive explosions and crazy white terrorists! Glass shatters, bullets fly. There’s a car chase that just might be the longest car chase in cinematic history since The Blue Brothers. John McClane makes corny jokes (as always), and someone in his family is pissed at him (as always), and the bad guys get what they deserve (as always). It’s everything a Die Hard movie should be!
Yes, one could argue (and has argued) that this one is, perhaps, the most ridiculous of them all, perhaps shattering the line between loveable action flick and bloated, unnecessary Hollywood crap. And it is kind of ridiculous that the plot climaxes at goddamn Chernobyl of all places, but what did you expect? It totally makes sense in the grand scheme of the franchise. Just take a look at the evolution:
Where did the first, most beloved Die Hard take place? A single building, Nakatomi Plaza. Die Hard 2? A bigger, more important building, Dulles International Airport. Die Hard with a Vengeance? All of New York motherfucking City. Live Free or Die Hard? The whole goddamn country was under siege! So of course A Good Day to Die Hard goes where it hasn’t gone before, to the location of a historic disaster, where, it turns out, several countries, maybe even the world, are threatened should the bad guys get their way. Of course that’s what it does!
Unlike so many other aging action movie franchises, A Good Day to Die Hard wasn't filled with jokes about how old John McClane is (I'm looking at you, Skyfall—that shit got old), and they just let the old guy kick some ass. McClane did sarcastically say "I'm on vacation" before having to beat someone's face in about five times too many, but what dad doesn't repeat the same tired joke? And one particular death scene wonderfully paid homage to the first Die Hard, before exploding into an even more radical and bloody end. I can say no more! But the whole theater clapped and cheered and it was awesome.
If you didn't already ditch the franchise after Live Free or Die Hard—which, yes, had Timothy Olyphant (swoon!), but also had goddamn Justin Long (blech!) and tried way too hard to be "modern"—then A Good Day to Die Hard won't be the nail in the coffin either. And unlike the rest of you traitors, I won't turn my back on John McClane until Die Hard blasts off into to space or involves aliens (cough cough—Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull—cough cough). That's when shit'll have gotten unforgivably absurd. Until then? Yippee-ki-yay, motherfuckers.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!