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A movie like A Good Day to Die Hard ought to either hire someone who can write catchy dialogue and at least superficially plausible characters or just let the real artists, the stuntmen, run the whole picture. No Humans Allowed.
At 98 minutes, this is by far the shortest of the Die Hard films, the rest of which run more than two hours. But it ends not a moment too soon.
It took 25 years, but with the fifth and latest entry, "A Good Day to Die Hard," the series has finally devolved into joyless sludge.
Few fans of the series would disagree that this sclerotic fifth installment should probably be the last.
New York Times:
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.
Wall Street Journal:
For anyone who remembers the "Die Hard" adventures at their vital and exciting best, this film feels like a near-death experience.
It's "A Good Day to Die Hard," aka "We've Got No Story To Speak Of But We Do Have an Infinite Special Effects Budget and We're Not Afraid To Spend It."
Until now, the sequels have gotten away with the cynical franchising of John McClane, but A Good Day To Die Hard, the worst entry in the series by far, exposes the hollowness and stupidity of McClane 2.0.
While some of the sequels have been entertaining enough, "A Good Day to Die Hard" signals that it may be a better day for John McClane to retire.
Unnecessary but not unwatchable, this maintains a brisk pace as it moves through the familiar action set pieces, most of them decently orchestrated.
A Good Day to Die Hard isn't just the weakest of the Die Hard pictures; it's a lousy action movie on its own terms.
If there's something crassly opportunistic about exploiting a real life disaster on the scale of Chernobyl for cheap thrills, that's part and parcel of the film's cynicism.
Christian Science Monitor:
John's appeal was always his ordinariness, but director John Moore has him surviving more explosions than Wile E. Coyote, and with hardly a scratch.
Dallas Morning News:
It's all more than a little silly, but Willis' presence at least provides undercurrents of easy jocularity.
All Die Hard movies lack sense -- that's a given. This one lacks personality. And that's unforgivable.
Die Hard 5 leaves room for McClane to make a few jokes about his thinning hair and to rue that he wasn't a better father when his kids were growing up. Oh, boo-hoo. Now go kill some more scumbags.
Every action scene is telegraphed, and most of the dialogue is irrevocably stupid.
Los Angeles Times:
True, a lot of stuff gets blown up and stunts that must have cost the Earth appear with startling regularity, but the sense of exhilaration and fun that marked the best of the series has gone unaccountably AWOL.
This is the first Die Hard movie to run well under two hours (the incomprehensible final 30 minutes have been so furiously chopped, they deserve their own show on the Food Network).
Frenetically directed by John Moore from a sketchy script by Skip Woods, A Good Day to Die Hard has the dubious distinction of making John McClane unlikeable. He's had some bad days in the past, but this one finally got him down.
At this point, "Die Hard" no longer describes the franchise. It describes the fans who are still willing to turn out for the noise and nonsense.
This is the Magpie School of action filmmaking: Anytime things start to make so little sense that you might lose the audience, just throw something shiny up on screen to distract.
New York Post:
Mr. Willis has said in interviews that he's open to a sixth "Die Hard" film. Next time, Bruce, please read the script.
A Good Day to Die Hard wants to be a movie about family values - a father and son, bonding over bullets and bombs - but it's really just about the value of a box-office franchise, and its value is on the wane.
I guess the people making A Good Day to Die Hard don't understand that mortality is one of John McClane's most endearing qualities. Turning him into a cyborg with a sense of self-deprecating humor makes this a low point in the series' history.
McClane has been stripped of any real traces of an actual three-dimensional character. We feel as if we're watching Bruce Willis in a Bruce Willis movie in which Bruce Willis can survive anything while taking out the villains, video-game style.
This series needs to die here. That would be something to "Yippee Ki-Yay" about.
Pretty much three well-staged action sequences strung together with the dumbest imaginable connective tissue.
San Francisco Chronicle:
Willis may not be the film's saving grace, but he is some kind of grace nonetheless, really the only thing in the movie.
Minneapolis Star Tribune:
If Harvard Business School wants to do a case study on how to debase a once-respected brand, they needn't look any further than the Die Hard movies.
Globe and Mail:
A quarter-century after it began, A Good Day to Die Hard continues the franchise without undue embarrassment.
Willis and Courtney make a strong match, believable both as fractious family members and also as sarcastic adversaries forced by circumstances to work together.
While the first Die Hard was a Swiss watch of precise plotting and layered character development - the next three installments could, at least, tell time - A Good Day to Die Hard makes lots of noise but little sense.
As workmanlike as men in fluorescent tabards repainting the white lines on the North Circular on a wet Tuesday.
A Good Day to Die Hard is pointless and joyless, a barrage of noise and chaos, an onslaught of destruction without the slightest mention of consequence.
Generally speaking, the action elements aren't the problem here. They're certainly loud enough. It's the obligatory intra-family squabbling and preposterous plotting that threaten to derail this nonsensical sequel.
No two viewers will assemble the same narrative from this Rorschach of running men, crashing glass, and hollered exposition.
New York Magazine/Vulture:
I didn't think it was physically possible to doze off at a movie as loud as A Good Day to Die Hard, but for a few moments my mind found some distant, peaceful refuge.
Both assaultive and tiresome, "A Good Day to Die Hard" barely registers on the action movie Richter scale. It goes bang, it goes boom, and then it blessedly goes away.