A Good Day to Die Hard, the latest installment in Bruce Willis’s Die Hard action franchise, has received a largely frosty response from critics.
“Last is least,” bemoaned the Hollywood Reporter, while The Scotsman called it a “limp parody” of the 1988 original.
“The sense of exhilaration and fun that marked the best of the series has gone unaccountably AWOL,” opined Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times.
A Good Day to Die Hard, the plot of which sees Bruce Willis’s John McClane travel to Russia, is out now in the US and UK.
Reviews were not published until the day of release at the request of 20th Century Fox, the film’s distributor.
Bruce Willis has reprised his signature character, a wise-cracking New York cop with a talent for foiling complex criminal schemes, on four occasions since his introduction in the original Die Hard movie.
His latest outing, directed by Ireland’s John Moore, sees him join forces with his adult son Jack (Jai Courtney) to protect a Russian whistleblower with links to a nuclear conspiracy.
According to USA Today’s Claudia Puig, the “obnoxious, over the top and often dull” result constitutes “a feeble attempt to rehash action-hero glories”.
“Opening this bullet-riddled snoozefest on Valentine’s Day [14 February] seems particularly wrong-headed,” the reviewer continued.
“A trip outside the US does the franchise few favors,” wrote Empire‘s Kim Newman, saying the film’s “few reasonable action sequences are mired in family soap”.
Yet the film did get a kinder reception from the Daily Telegraph’s Robbie Collin, who singled out “a roaringly silly car chase which lasts around 15 minutes” for qualified praise.
“The special effects sequences are put together with some ingenuity,” agreed The New York Times‘ A O Scott.
“But everything that made the first Die Hard memorable – the nuances of character, the political subtext, the cowboy wit – has been dumbed down or scrubbed away entirely.”
While promoting the film in London last week, Willis confirmed he would be back for a sixth installment but would not be drawn on plot details.
“I heard there is a group of bad guys that hang out in the Seychelles,” he joked to reporters.
“So we should go there and just get a tan.”
Die Hard films to date:
- Die Hard (1988), directed by John McTiernan, with Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
- Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990), directed by Renny Harlin, with Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Sadler
- Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995), directed by John McTiernan, with Bruce Willis, Samuel L Jackson, Jeremy Irons
- Die Hard 4.0, aka Live Free Or Die Hard (2007), directed by Len Wiseman, with Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
- A Good Day to Die Hard (2013), directed by John Moore, with Bruce Willis, Jai Courtney, Sebastian Koch