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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: A Good Day to Die Hard

June 16th, 2013

A Good Day to Die Hard - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack

The Die Hard franchise has been around for 25 years. The first Die Hard film cost less than $30 million to make, but earned $80 million. This is $150 million, if you take into inflation. The most recent installment was Live Free or Die Hard, which didn't quite live up to expectations. A lot of people thought that perhaps the franchise was running out of steam, or perhaps it was just a product of its times and it was no longer relevant today. Was A Good Day to Die Hard able to revitalize the franchise? Or is there something seriously wrong here?

The Movie

We are first introduced to Yuri Komarov, a Russian billionaire who was arrested, mostly as a political prisoner. It seems Yuri has a top secret government file that Viktor Chagarin (Sergei Kolesnikov) wants. Viktor is potentially the next Secretary of Defense. He offers Yuri a deal: Hand over the file and he's free to go. Meanwhile, we see a covert operation in which a man kills an associate of Viktor and is quickly arrested.

It is then we meet John McLane and we learn the assassin was his son, Jack. He heard Jack was in trouble and used his old cop connections to find out exactly what. When he learns Jack is in a Russian jail, he immediately heads to Russia. He sees his son being led into the courtroom, with Yuri, but while the trial is going on inside, John sees something suspicious taking place outside the courthouse. Three car bombs are detonated and in the chaos, Jack escapes with Yuri. However, the people who set of the bombs were not working for them, but for Viktor.

After an extended escape scene, by extended I mean by the time it is over, it is half of the film's running time up to that point, we learn that Jack is a C.I.A. agent and he's working to rescue Yuri from the country and he's pissed off John is there, because his father is screwing up the plan. At the moment, they are on plan B. The three of them go to a safe house where they meet another C.I.A. agent, Mike Collins, who is Jack's partner. There they plan to get the file from Yuri before escaping Russia. However, Yuri refuses to bargain for the file, not until he can get to his daughter, Irina. Before they can figure out the details of this new plan, Viktor's men attack and Mike is dead and John, Jack, and Yuri are again running for their lives.

They have to get to Irina, but what they find when they get there is certainly in spoiler territory.

A Good Day to Die Hard earned terrible reviews, and I'm not surprised that happened. There's very little in this movie that worked and it is easily the worst in the franchise. There's certainly none of the trademark charm of the earlier films to be found in its 101-minute running time. Bruce Willis seems tired and his performance lacks the energy it had in the previous films, and Jai Courtney isn't able to pick up the slack. The villain in this movie isn't even close to Hans Gruber. Finally, the plot is thin and a mess.

There are some good action scenes in the movie, but the plot that holds them together is not interesting enough.

The Extras

There are plenty of extras on the DVD and the Blu-ray, starting with an audio commentary track with John Moore, the Director, and Mark Cotone, the Assistant Director / Associate Producer. Up next are 14 minutes of deleted scenes. The biggest extra is Making it Hard to Die, a multi-part, 60-minute making of featurette, while there is a second 26-minute making of featurette, Anatomy of a Car Chase, which focuses on the car chase. Two of a Kind focuses on the father / son relationship. Back in Action looks at Bruce Willis returning as John McLane. The New Face of Evil looks at the villains in the movie. There are two featurettes on the special effects, Pre-Vis and VFX Sequences. Up next is Maximum McClane, which is three minutes of clips from the franchise. Finally there are two image galleries for Storyboards" and Concept Art Gallery.

There are no exclusive extras on the Blu-ray, but the technical presentation is excellent. The clarity is amazing, as is the level of details. There were some stylized effects for the colors and because of this, the colors are not as great as they could be. You can't blame the transfer for this issue, on the other hand. The audio is even better than the video with no real issues to talk about. The dialogue is very clear, while there is a lot of activity in the surround sound speakers. The activity includes lots of directional effects, pans, etc. and a very active bass.

At the moment, the Blu-ray costs just $13 on, or a dime more than the DVD.

The Verdict

A Good Day to Die Hard is just a generic action film that doesn't have the humor of the previous installments, nor does it have the charismatic villain that made the earlier movies so good. The DVD and the Blu-ray Combo Pack are loaded with extras, so if you liked the film, it is worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, A Good Day to Die Hard, Die Hard, Alan Rickman, Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Sebastian Koch, John Moore, Mark Cotone, Jai Courtney, Yulia Snigir