I will cut right to the chase as I’ve wasted enough time already enduring this so-called entry in the Die Hard canon. John Moore, director of such ‘memorable classics’ as The Omen (2006) and Max Payne, rides into the land of 20th Century Fox studios and takes the reigns of all things Die Hard, only to make the marginally decent fourth Die Hard look like the class-act original Die Hard. Moore’s 97-minute implosion stems from an anemic script by Skip Woods who seems to have written an entirely different protagonist, but simply swapped out a name for John McClane.
Where do we find America’s favorite wrong place-wrong time cop, McClane (Bruce Willis)? He’s trotting about Moscow in an attempt to rescue his son, Jack (Jai Courtney), a CIA operative trying to extract an important Russian informant with a target on his back. In the midst of protecting said Russian man, the estranged father-son duo exchange shallow barbs with each other and fire machine guns in all directions. Jack’s mad at Daddy for not being around much. McClane doesn’t get it. Boo-hoo. Do you think the banter is ever as biting and fresh as what we got from Samuel L. Jackson and Willis in the third Die Hard? Heck, I would even take some Justin Long/Bruce Willis banter at this rate. The studio and even Bruce Willis, himself, clearly had no intent to make a worthy installment.
Seriously. The meeting for this movie went something like this. “We have an idea for a Die Hard slogan: Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Russia.” The studio executive says: “I love it. Perfect poster. Green light. Starting shooting tomorrow. Worry about the script when you’re halfway finished.” Willis jumps aboard and zones out the entire time.
Mr. Willis clearly isn’t here to play his most famous character. He simply bobs around the international landscape taking a backseat to his son’s attempts at executing a plan. None of what makes McClane the hero we love exists in this lazy cash-grab featuring a nonsensically convoluted yet surprisingly thin plot that could fit through the eye of a needle. Honestly, the plot is so invisible, you will wonder for what reason all this mayhem took place when the end credits roll.
Yes, we get all the insane action and violence the CGI budget of a $92 million production can offer. But McClane was never much for technology. Willis’ continually yells, “I’m on vacation!” Five times he repeats this. I kept yelling to myself—no you aren’t! You flew to Russia to save your son… What does that have to do with vacation?! I concluded the catchphrase was intended as foreshadowing regarding what Willis was going to do with his hefty paycheck. Consider this cash cow milked.