I remember almost feeling like the first two were Christmas movies, to be watched year after year during the holiday.
The fourth entry, “Live Free or Die Hard,” was probably my least favorite, but still quite enjoyable. But what it did do was signal a change for the franchise.
Bruce Willis played John McClane in all the films, but with “Live Free or Die Hard” Bruce Willis started playing Bruce Willis in a “Die Hard” movie.
Well, that’s the way I saw it.
Everything Willis does in movies now all seems confusing. Willis is always playing Willis in everything from “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” to “R.E.D.2” to “Expendables”.
Same Bruce Willis; different guns.
So, when I watched the trailers for “A Good Day to Die Hard” I wasn’t too thrilled about the movie.
But, deep down inside, thoughts of part 1 and 2 started to get my adrenaline pumping, and eventually I got excited to see it.
Until I saw it.
After the opening seconds, I realized that John McClane is no more. It’s only Willis doing what he does and saying McClane’s lines.
Even if they just gave him some hair it would help. He was always balding in the first three anyway.
So the movie starts, and McClane just found that his long-lost son is in trouble in Russia. And, because it’s Willis, he goes to Russia to: (A) help him out, (B) bring him home, (C) enlist his son’s help in searching for John McClane or (D) stare at his son getting taken away and do nothing.
It’s sort of all the above.
The thing about McClane is that he’s human. He’s a cop. He has a family. He fights like hell to survive for his family and keep everyone safe. He hates bad guys.
Willis is a superhero. Stuff blows up around him, and mountains of bullets get fired at him in almost every movie, but he never even gets a scratch. Ok, sometimes he does, but still.
So, in this movie, he’s flipping cars, blowing stuff up, firing big guns and fighting radiation. He does it all.
And it’s boring.
Every action shot seems like it’s trying to be cool and ground breaking. The camera zooms in and out for no apparent reason. Willis mutters something about the story between gunfire.
And I think the production was trying to see how many cars they could destroy in one movie because, for some reason, we’re treated to a boring, long car chase where I’m pretty sure almost 1,000 cars were wrecked, smashed, spun, flipped and crashed.
And it should’ve been cool.
The plot’s way out there, too. It turns out his son isn’t a bad guy, but he works with the CIA and is really helping this guy who we think is good but may be bad, while helping out these other government types do something...
I give up.
It’s probably not that complicated, but I was too busy trying to figure out why the computer effects were so bad.
Or why there are so many extremely slow motion shots that don’t mean anything.
It felt as if the director wanted to stop and say, “Look what we did! Isn’t that cool!” But the whole time, you’re staring at a computer-generated Willis in slo-mo flying through the air and you’re noticing how fake it really looks now.
In case you missed what I’ve been saying, the action is pretty terrible by the way.
I love me some “Die Hard,” but this movie made me want to run out and buy the old ones and wash out the bad taste this one left behind.
Willis is in no way a bad actor; he was great in “Looper,” but that one looked like it was made with love and someone actually cared for it.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” looked like a cash grab for everyone involved.
Willis did say that he has another “Die Hard” movie in him, and the franchise isn’t dead yet, but it’s on it’s death bed with the Grim Reaper tickling its tootsies.
I just hope Willis will make one more to right all the wrongs this movie made.
And maybe Willis should watch the classic “Die Hard” movies to get back into character.
And maybe grow out his hair.
“A Good Day to Die Hard” is playing at the Rio 6 Cinemas in Beeville.
Paul Gonzales is the entertainment writer at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 116, or at thescene@mySouTex.com.