It seems that John McCLane can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. A Good Day to Die Hard is the fifth time something happens which he wasn’t expecting. No matter the situation it seems he’s able pull himself through. He has slowly turned from an unlikely hero into an invincible Rambo and it seems that in each subsequent movie everything needs to get bigger. Initially it was just a skyscraper, then it was an airport, a whole city, America and now Russia. McClane heads there when he hears his son is in a lot of trouble and as things go he winds up in trouble himself.
In the previous movies there was a very clear villain and a real threat, but here it is more about preventing something from happening (in the loudest way possible). They have to help political prisoner Yuri Komarov (Sebastian Koch (who to me looked like Antonio Banderas with the beard he has)) get to documents in order to expose a high ranking Russian politician, Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov). The movie has some twists in store, but since time is never spent on fully developing the characters you never seem to care enough about any of them.
To me the series is about a normal guy getting into an unexpected situation. The thing is that I never got that feeling with this movie, it just didn’t feel “realistic” any more and was basically a very generic action movie. I wasn’t a fan of the fourth installment and that’s the case with this movie as well. The story just was too weak and no amount of action could make up for it. I must admit I really enjoyed the chase scene at the beginning of the film, but when McClane starts putting other people’s lives in danger by driving over other cars I felt this wasn’t a Die Hard movie. The character has always been about saving lives, not putting them in danger. Something I also missed was the likeability of the character, there really were no funny wisecracks and the constant remarks about him being on vacation (which he wasn’t since he came there to help his son) didn’t fit and got boring quickly. I haven’t even talked yet about this movie inventing something to neutralise radiation at Chernobyl, it is too ridiculous. The relationship of McClane with his son never feels real and the story itself never engages. I’m honestly not looking forward to another installment, which apparently Willis is interested in. If it ever gets made it shouldn’t be bigger, it should be a movie on a small scale (taking place on a boat or a train) and take it back to what made the Die Hard movies enjoyable in the first place, because it wasn’t “make it as big as possible”, it was all about one vulnerable man fighting against odds which weren’t in his favour but he somehow managed to beat. A Good Day to Die Hard is too far removed from that.