Review: A Good Day to Die Hard (2013): “You know what? Excelsior.”

Good Day to Die HardFor a movie that prides itself on yippee-ki-yay-style action, A Good Day to Die Hard is well-peppered with awkward one-on-one dialogue. The new Die Hard movie has the usual explosions, gunfights, and cliched one-liners—writers replaced John McClane’s usual “I’m too old for this” catch phrases with the more original, “I’m on vacation!”—but those scenes are just toppings on a cake of weird conversations and unnecessary interactions.

The relationship between John McClane and his son, Jack McClane, is like the relationship between Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro in Silver Linings Playbook, except without the emotional nuance and Oscar-nominated performances. Both films contain strained father-son relationships. Both pairs have communication problems. In the opening scenes of A Good Day to Die Hard, John disrupts an elaborate rescue mission by attempting to manufacture heart-to-hearts amid gunfire and car chases. McClane’s journey toward suburban-style parenting is a long one, and his son is more understanding that he should be. More understanding than I was.

A-Good-Day-to-Die-Hard BrosWhile John and Jack gushed about guns and feelings, I imagined what the movie would be like if it really were a blend of Die Hard and Silver Linings Playbook.

John McClane: “Just sit down, come on. Help turn the juju around. The CIA is stupid.”

Jack: “What? Stupid? How is—you know what? Excelsior.”

John McClane: “What the f*** is ‘excelsior’?”

Jack: “You know what I’m gonna do? I’m gonna take all this negativity, and I’m going to use it to find a silver lining. I’ll be the best CIA agent ever. Better than Tony Mendez.”

Good Day to Die Hard PalsI’d watch that movie. Die Hard Playbook. At least that movie would better analyze the father-son dynamic that Die Hard both highlights and under-develops. And maybe it would feature a CarterDanny hybrid, a character played by Chris Tucker who would wisecrack his way into dangerous situations and then sweet-talk his way to freedom. And Jennifer Lawrence would be there. So many possibilities.

John Moore: Director

Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp: Writing

Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney: Stars

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