Bruce Willis returns for a fifth time as New York cop John McClane in an instalment which I desperately hope isn’t the final one in the series because it’s so abysmally bad and you don’t want a series like this to go out on a bad note.
Directed by John Moore (who’s past films didn’t inspire confidence in Die Hard fans when they read his previous credits) the film is way too short to be anything by a mess that lacks character, substance, story, and any degree of enjoyment.
After he’s heard that his son, Jack (Jai Courtney) was arrested in Moscow, McClane flies out to see what’s going on, and bring his wayward son home. Unfortunately for John, Jack isn’t really a criminal, he’s working for the CIA, and he’s on a mission that relates to the Russian underworld, specifically a man named Komarov (Sebastian Koch) and his daughter, Irina (Yulia Snigir).
But even in this Die Hard film things aren’t always what they seem, and the two McClanes are about to have a very bad day.
Despite some solid location work, with Hungary standing in for Moscow, the film does nothing but stumble from haphazard action set piece to another, and none of it seems to work. The other films took their time, building their plot, giving little twists and reveals, and letting the baddies cause some real grief for the hero.
Not this time around.
Sure John gets bloodied and bruised, but only for aesthetic appearances, in the other films, even the fourth, John takes some serious beatings and just keeps going from sheer willpower, this time around he’s more superhero than man and the viewer has an immediate disconnect, because McClane no longer feels like a relatable character, but more of a caricature of what he was and should be.
The film squanders any real opportunity for character development, or even exploring the themes of parents and their children, instead it’s a short, unimpressive slog of a film that I sincerely hope doesn’t sign the death warrant of the series.
We need one more, but it needs to be a two hour action film that is stripped down to the bare essentials. No real big set pieces, but just solid direction, story, and action.
Come on John, one more time.