“A Good Day to Die Hard” is the worst of the “Die Hard” movies, not because of its restrictive 12A rating, nor its over-reliance on computer-generated effects, but because it is the first instalment in the 25-year franchise to treat its audience with open contempt — here is the “Die Hard” for the “Transformers” crowd, all flashing lights and no brain activity. That’s not to say that none of its four predecessors are guilty of similar crimes — “Die Hard 4.0” certainly could have done with a bit more brain power — but there’s something especially insulting about this fifth entry’s lackadaisical, almost perfunctory attitude towards anything not directly involving an explosion or a helicopter, or indeed a helicopter that’s exploding.
That’s an image that’s stuck with the franchise ever since its first appearance in John McTiernan’s classic 1988 original, as Agents Johnson and Johnson’s FBI chopper was swallowed up by a rooftop fireball. It reappeared several times throughout Renny Harlin’s airport-bound 1990 sequel “Die Harder,” albeit with winged aircrafts, did so again at the end of McTiernan’s 1995 threequel ”Die Hard with a Vengeance,” and then popped up again in Len Wiseman’s 2007 fourquel “Die Hard 4.0,” as Bruce Willis’ maverick cop John McClane took out an attacking helicopter with an airborne police car. “I was out of bullets,” was his smirking quip. (Continue Reading…)