Die Hard 5 Even More Fun In Its Home Release

Courtesy:  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A Good Day to Die Hard was met with less than critical acclaim with it premiered in early 2013.  The fifth movie in the Die Hard franchise, viewers and critics alike largely panned the movie.  Critics and viewers gave reasons that largely centered on the movie’s writing and its general story as the reason for its lack of entertainment value.  The reality is that there was nothing wrong with the story or the writing behind Die Hard 5.  The real reason that it largely failed to garner big numbers is one that people refuse to admit to for whatever reason.  The real reason that it fell short can be summed up in one word.  That one word is relevance. This critic personally noted when Die Hard 5 premiered, that had this installment in the series traded places with its predecessor, it might very well have been released to much bigger response.  That is because relevance brought down both movies.  Die Hard 4 was ahead of its time.  And because director John Moore and company were paying homage to the original movie in the Die Hard series, most audiences and critics could not relate.  Most of those same audiences and critics likely hadn’t seen the original Die Hard, either.  So, that might explain that much.  Those that are more familiar with the series maybe simply couldn’t see the forest for the trees.  That would be the most sensible explanation for that faction of viewers.  Now that Die Hard 5 has been released to DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, maybe those same audiences and critics will give this movie the second look that it deserves and see it for the valuable addition that it is to the Die Hard series.

Die Hard 5 is a fun trip down movie memory lane.  Audiences that know the series’ history and already have an appreciation for this movie will agree to this.  Those that are new to the series and those that perhaps saw this movie for what it was, will hopefully see this especially in watching the bonus features of the new Die Hard 5 home release.  The best point at which to start in this argument is the making of feature, aptly titled, “Making it Hard to Die.”  This hour-long plus feature goes into massive depth, showing just how much work went into bringing this story to life.  Viewers are taken behind the scenes and behind the cameras in an in-depth discussion of everything from the movie’s special effects and visual effects to the weaponry and even aircraft used this time around.  There’s even a section of this feature that, led by obvious fan boy and director John Moore, discusses the use of actual explosions and stunts versus the full on use of CGI.  It was wonderful to hear Moore note just how important it was to the movie in the grand scheme of the Die Hard franchise to use actual stunts and explosions in balance with the green screen instead of simply going entirely the green screen/CGI route.  Understanding this, audiences will hopefully gain at least some appreciation for this movie and everything that went into its creation.  It is, of course, just one of the bonus features that make the movie even more enjoyable the second time around.  Another factor that will hopefully help add to the movie’s appreciation is the feature on the movie’s big car chase.

The discussion on the early chase scene between John, Jack, and his Russian counterparts will instantly conjure thoughts of Steve McQueen’s famed car chase scene in Bullitt.  Just as interesting in this feature is the notation that the sequence was both physically and digitally storyboarded.  This is so impressive in that so many studios have done away with actual physical storyboarding and gone digital.  It is nice to see that hand drawn art still has at least some place in the movie industry today.  All of this is one more step back in time and one more element that creates even more appreciation for this latest installment in the Die Hard franchise.  If this and the extensive making of feature are not enough, then audiences can also check out the “New Face of Evil” feature that focuses on Kamarov and his daughter or the feature, “Two of a Kind” that focuses on the relationship between John and Jack or even “Back in Action”, which focuses on the development of John McClane from the original Die Hard to this point decades later.  All of these bonus features come together with the story to make Die Hard 5 a movie that while it isn’t the best of the series, is still a fun movie.  And hopefully after seeing it, those same people that criticized it before will agree that it’s so fun that it’s worth well more than just one watch.  It’s a movie worth watching any time audiences want a real action movie.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered from the 20th Century Fox store at http://www.foxconnect.com.

Die Hard 5 Better Than Many May Think

Courtesy:  20th Century Fox

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

Action movies are meant to be an escape from the rigors of everyday life.  They are meant as a chance for audiences to turn off their brains if only for a couple of hours and be taken into the world of the fantastic.  Keeping this in mind, one has to wonder if the masses of audiences and critics who panned the latest installment in the Die Hard franchise went in with an open mind or with an agenda and a preconceived notion set in their minds.  While it can be agreed that A Good Day to Die Hard–or as it will henceforth be known, Die Hard 5 or DH5–is not the best of the Die Hard franchise, it also is not the series’ worst. None of the series’ movies is really the worst per se.  Die Hard 4 was a movie ahead of its time.  It came out at a time when cyber terrorism wasn’t necessarily a worldwide problem yet.  So considering this, had Die Hard 4 and 5 switched places, audiences might have been more receptive to both movies, even with the character of Jack McClane (Jai Courtney) still being an issue.

If one goes into Die Hard 5 with an open mind and the ability to suspend one’s disbelief, then one will see just how much it got right.  That’s not to say that it was perfect.  Again, there was the lingering issue of explaining away Jack.  But the script’s writers, Skip Woods and Roderick Thorp do make a valiant attempt to explain away that plot hole.  Anyone who has watched the bonus features in the recently released 25th anniversary Blu-ray set will recall that the previous Die Hard movies were each penned from completely separate literary sources.  More than likely this movie was, too.  So taking that into account, the issue of Jack’s noted absence throughout the previous films can be forgiven.  Now, having gotten past that issue, the only real issue that perhaps got in the way of Die hard 5’s success was its rapid fire pace (no pun intended).  The story starts rather abruptly, and never really slows down.  The constant action and the twists and turns peppered throughout the story might have been enough to leave some viewers dizzied and confused.  That in turn might have been enough to justifiably leave some audiences turned off.  While it is justified, it is the only factor that can be said to be a justified negative to Die Hard 5.

Having gotten the only justified negative out of the way from this movie, one will see just how much writers Skip Wood and Roderick Thorp got right.  As fast paced and dizzying as the story is, those who go into the movie with an open mind and a desire to escape will appreciate the twists and turns peppered throughout its near two hour run time.  There are just enough twists and turns to keep audiences think they know what’s going to happen, only to go in the exact opposite direction.  And while many prematurely called the very premise of John McClane going to Russia unbelievable, let alone him facing a terrorist from the Cold War era USSR.  But again Wood and Thorp did quite the job explaining this away.  Again, a big part of being able to believe this goes back to having seen Die Hard 4.  Had Die Hard 4 and 5 switched places, this plot element might have been easier for audiences to accept.  As soon as audiences understand and accept all of what has been noted, it makes enjoyment of the movie–explosions and all–that much easier.  In turn, it makes the movie as a whole that much greater of an escape.

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