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Film / A Good Day to Die Hard

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A Good Day to Die Hard is the fifth movie in the popular Die Hard franchise.

In this installment, an aged John McClane goes to Russia to get his son Jack out of prison, where they get involved in stopping a terrorist plot.

A Good Day to Die Hard provides examples of:

  • Action Duo: McClane and his son Jack.
  • And This Is for...: Irina says, "This is for you, Papa," as she crashes her helicopter in an attempt to kill the McClanes at the end.
  • Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster: Komarov appears to be a helpless prisoner, but he is manipulating Chagarin and the McClanes to free himself and gain access to a stash of weapons-grade uranium.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Komarov reveals that the file is kept in a radioactive vault where the bad guys can't get at it. They chopper in a tank full of a chemical which when sprayed around the place somehow removes the radiation so that everyone can take off their gas masks.
  • Artistic License – Geography: McClane and Jack drive from Moscow, Russia, to Chernobyl, Ukraine, in what appears to be only a few hours. Without passports. (The cities are 530 miles apart by road, and there's a national border between them.) Ukraine and Russia are famously happy to let people just cross their borders, Niagara style. Very friendly. Smoochies.
  • Artistic License – Military: Moscow has one of the most paranoid air defense and military response protocols in the world. Somehow, none of these are present when an American drone is flying over the city or when a rogue attack chopper is shooting buildings in said city up. Not to mention the lack of anything other than a few police units responding to what would likely be seen as a terrorist attack.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics:
    • It's mentioned that the Chernobyl disaster happened as the result of Komarov using the reactor to produce weapons-grade uranium. Ironically, for as badly-designed and dangerously unsafe as RBMK reactors like the ones used at Chernobyl were, producing weapons-grade uranium is something they were designed to do, and wouldn't have resulted in a meltdown.note  Additionally, any weapons-grade uranium would have degraded to the point of uselessness (except possibly for building a dirty bomb) over the course of nearly three decades.
    • The gas used decontaminate Pripyat is a whole other can of worms. The only way such a thing would even begin to work would be by stabilizing the radioactive isotopes to the point where they no longer gave off radiation — which, even if it didn't violate the laws of physics in numerous ways, would also render the uranium they were trying to retrieve inert, and thus useless.
  • Avenging the Villain: Irina, of the Daddy's Little Villain variety.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • McClane and his son Jack. It was Jack that showed resentment and distance, to the point of regularly calling his father by his first name. However, they patch up their differences and are seen hugging each other and Lucy in the final scene.
    • A corresponding villainous example in the endgame twist, which reveals that Irina was on her father's side the entire time.
  • Badass Biker: Irina is introduced climbing off a motorbike in very form-fitting leathers.
  • Bait the Dog: Komarov.
  • Beard of Evil: Komarov.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Irina Komarov and her father, Yuri. Irina does most of the work for their plan — however, it's mostly Yuri's plan.
  • Blatant Lies: Jack calls out desperately for his dad when they both almost die at the end.
    McClane: D'you just call me "Dad"?
    Jack:' No.
    McClane: Yeah, didn't think so.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: John and Jack use a mook as a shield — he's wearing a bulletproof vest which adds to his protective ability, but so are the other mooks who are quickly knocked down by the duo's bullets.
  • Busman's Holiday: Lampshaded in the end.
    Jack: Do you go looking for trouble or does it always just seem to find you?
    John: You know, after all these years, I still ask myself the same question.
  • The Cameo: Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane, who appears at the very beginning and very end of the film (dropping off and picking up John — and eventually Jack — from the airport).
  • Car Chase: A really, really long one.
  • Car Fu: Occurs three times during the Car Chase. It ends up destroying 132 vehicles at a cost of 11 million dollars.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Mostly because Jack takes his dad's phone and stomps on it.
  • Concealment Equals Cover: Several cases, but the standout one would be the filing cabinet that somehow fends off a gas explosion.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The teaser features Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, which was prominently used in the first film.
    • The tactic of shooting nearby glass to inflict pain upon John in the first film by Hans Gruber is now used by the McClanes on the villains.
    • The death of the villains is a combination of tributes to Die Hard 1 and 3, involving a spectacular flailing fall, being chopped to pieces by a spinning motor AND an exploding helicopter.
    • John pulling shrapnel out of Jack while bonding with him is similar to how he bonded with Al 25 years earlier over the radio as he pulled broken glass out of himself.
    • When he's discovered in the bunker near the end of the film, Komarov (who had been speaking in his natural voice up to this point) makes a show of acting scared, much like Hans Gruber did when he pretended to be "Bill Clay" in the original film. He also tries moving towards a nearby gun and when that fails uses his radio to summon help. In addition, the shot where Komarov falls off the building towards the helicopter blades evokes Hans' death scene from the same film.
  • Cool Car: MRAP vs. a Mercedes G-Wagon.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Several instances throughout the movie. John himself qualifies on a mental level — it's almost as if he more than expected to have to take down another terrorist group this time (after twenty years, he'd have to be terminally stupid to not see it coming by now).
  • Creator's Culture Carryover: When they're driving into Pripyat, there is a sign with the town's name and population, which has 50,000 crossed out by graffiti. Such signs are only common in North America.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The bad guys have a compound that "neutralizes the radiation" at Chernobyl. Why the Russian/Ukranian governments haven't just used this yet is never addressed. Why they need to sell uranium to terrorists to make money rather than just sell this magical chemical... is also never addressed.
  • Cutting the Knot: Jack is arguing with Komarov over what security is in the hotel, when they see John bribing an employee for his access card. Later Jack is trying to break into a car, when John turns up having stolen the keys.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Irina turns out to be Komarov's daughter and henchwoman, who had no qualms trying to kill the heroes via helicopter in the finale.
  • Dark Action Girl: Irina. Turns out daddy's been grooming her to help him take over Russia and she can handle some shit.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Chagarin. He's a patsy. Komarov and Irina have been playing him for who knows how long.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Chagarin betrayed and got Komarov arrested. After he kills Alik, he calls Chagarin, who gets killed afterwards by one of his men.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Irina. You think she's working with Chagarin against Komarov, and she pretends to be on Komarov's side in order to lure him out. On the contrary! Turns out that she's really working for daddy dearest after all!
  • The Dragon:
    • Irina is somewhat this for Yuri. They work together and she does a lot of the work due to him staying hidden, however, she does answer to him in the end.
    • Alik for Chagarin as the leader of the men Chagarin sends to stop Jack and Komarov.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: By John McClane. He pumps a shotgun (which, alas, he never gets to use) once in the elevator, then pumps it again when the bad guys show up. This should have ejected at least one unfired shell.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: John and Jack narrowly defeat Irina and Komarov, and repair their estranged relationship. The final scene is both men meeting Lucy at the airport and walking off, hugging each other and laughing for the first time in the series.
  • The Elevator from Ipanema: A Russian version of the song is heard when McLane, Jack and Yuri are riding the elevator to meet with Irina.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Chagarin's betrayal of Komarov by letting him be arrested by the Russian police.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of Alik's men is hesitant to bomb the courthouse because the car bomb drivers are still inside. This falls on deaf ears as Alik simply tells him to give him the detonator.
  • Evil Gloating: After being ordered to execute our heroes, Alik wastes time talking about how he hates Americans, giving Jack time to saw through his bonds.
  • Final Boss: With Yuri dead, Irina is left as the final antagonist the boys must face.
  • Foreshadowing: When Chagarain visits Komorov in the prison, Komorov plays a white chess piece before flipping to the black chess side of the board. This hints at his duality later in the film.
  • Friendship Moment: McClane strikes up a friendship with his cab driver in Moscow by trying, and failing very badly, to speak Russian, then compliments the man on his singing. The driver pays him back by telling him he's better off walking with the way the traffic is and refusing payment because "You like my singing!".
  • Generation Xerox: Jack. He's every bit as badass as his father is and he easily qualifies as the most competent and useful sidekick John McClane has ever had — to the point where there are times in the movie where John himself seems more like the sidekick.
  • Helicopter Blender: Jack throws Komarov off a building and he gets shredded in the rotors of an out of control helicopter.
  • Hellish Copter: How Irina dies.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Happens several times, as John is not quite in his own jurisdiction and therefore cannot do the Flashed-Badge Hijack:
    • First John steals some poor sap's old truck when he goes chasing after Jack.
      John McClane: Call a cop!
    • Then he runs out into the road trying to get someone to stop their car and ends up getting knocked over by a Mercedes SUV. When the owner jumps out and starts abusing him in Russian, John punches him in the face and makes off with his car.
      John McClane: You think I understand a word you're saying?!
    • Later when they need another car, Jack nicks one from outside a Mafia hangout, knowing the trunk will be full of weapons.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Turns out that Komarov is at least partially responsible for the Chernobyl meltdown.
  • Hollywood Fire: Flames from a large gas explosion triggered by a hand grenade wrap around our heroes, but they're not singed.
  • Indy Ploy: Given that its John McClane, this should come as no surprise. Lampshaded on two different occasions by John and Jack, once in the ballroom, the second as they're about to go into Pripyat.
  • Karma Houdini: The henchman Komarov sends to assassinate Chagarin is unaccounted for at the end of the film.
  • Like Father, Like Son: John's son, Jack, is working for the CIA and now he's one of those guys. There's a job needs to be done, a lot of scumbags need to get killed, he's a disposable Irish flatfoot. And he can take a hit. He takes an iron rod to the gut and when his old man pulls it out, Jack walks it off. Doesn't even need a whiskey. Then they steal a car and drive to Chernobyl. Just like Saigon, slick!
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Bad guy falling off the roof + high-speed spinning helicopter rotor = SPLAAAAT
  • Made of Iron: Our heroes. Oh God yes. John gets into two serious car accidents within 5 minutes that would kill most people, and has not a single scratch on him.
  • The Mafiya: The guy we're trying to save? Nope. He's the Big Bad it's a big criss cross double cross.
  • McGuffin: The file proving Chagarin's involvement in the Chernobyl accident. Which doesn't exist — Komarov is actually planning to get his hands on a stash of weapons-grade plutonium he had to leave there after the accident.
  • More Dakka: McClane kills several mooks using a M249 machine gun. Also the Hind helicopter that attacks the McClanes.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Irina, who is introduced in a form-fitting leather biker suit.
  • Mugged for Disguise: John and Jack grab a couple of guys on their way into the hotel to grab the file. They get a pair of shotguns and a keycard.
    Yuri: You seem like you've done that before. Is good idea.
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: McClane learns that he inadvertently asked a Russian cab driver "for a bag of hair on the way to the courthouse".
  • Nuke 'em: Chagarin (later Komarov) plans to steal weapons-grade uranium, hidden within Chernobyl.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • The movie opens with John getting some intel from a fellow cop (who tells him "Good luck, Papi." afterward) about his son being in a Russian prison. This ends with John, unmasked and unmuffed, emptying his weapon into a paper target, screaming "Mother fucker God dammit!". Then he catches a plane to Russia, even though he hasn't spoken to his son in years.
    • During the first act chase scene, McClane only cares about stopping the APC and saving his son. He drives himself off the road and flips his car knowing it'll flip the APC. He even walks into traffic and takes a car to the gut so he can keep up the chase.
  • Pistol-Whipping: At Chernobyl, John beats a Mook to death with a rifle butt.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Jack's murder of a man named Anton is what brings John to Moscow.
  • Pun-Based Title: Just like its predecessor. Doubles as a Title Drop:
    Lt.-Cmdr. Worf: Perhaps today is a good day to die!
  • Rooftop Confrontation: The final battle between Jack and Komarov.
  • Running Gag: John McClane's "on vacation".
  • Sequel Goes Foreign: While the climax of the third film took place in Canada, this movie has all the primary action in Russia.
  • Soft Glass: Must be from all the radiation... John gets thrown through a goddamn plate glass window from a helicopter and... nothing.
  • Spanner in the Works: Komarov's plan to have his rival free him from prison and take him directly to his plutonium is interrupted by the CIA trying to spring him (because they also believe the file is real) while the CIA's plan is stymied by John McClane who holds Jack up for a crucial few minutes because he thinks his son is a crook who's getting himself in even more trouble.
  • Spotting the Thread: John suspects something's up with Irina arriving at the hotel despite the traffic. Jack spots a military helicopter on the roof next door and realizes his dad was on the money.
  • Super Window Jump: The heroes jump through the window of a high rise building and conveniently land on a window washing platform.
  • Supporting Protagonist: McClane himself is this, as his son Jack is arguably The Hero of the movie who is on a mission to uncover the terrorist plot in Moscow.
  • Surveillance Drone: An American drone appears briefly over Moscow airspace, before disappearing for the rest of the movie.
  • Taking You with Me: Irina at the end rams her helicopter into the building that the McClanes were in. It fails and her attempted attack on them proves useless.
  • There Was a Door: Jack uses a frame charge to get out of a room while it's being attacked, but from then on our heroes just jump out the window.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Jack McClane is a government spy and just as much of a badass as his dad.
  • Trash Landing: John and Jack escape the villain via Super Window Jump and their fall is cushioned by a layer of trash in a dumpster.
  • Trunk Shot: John gets ahead of Jack by finding the keys to the car he's breaking in, leading to a look into (and out of) the trunk.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee:
    CinemaSins: John already knows Jack is going to shoot out the (conveniently placed) stained glass ceiling without discussing it beforehand.
  • You Killed My Father: It turns out Irina wasn't betraying her father, they were both betraying the CIA and she's really pissed that John and Jack killed her dad. Taking You with Me levels of pissed.
  • Walking Disaster Area: A large chunk of Moscow and pretty much half of its cars get completely destroyed the minute John walks into town.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: At the end of the day, John tells Jack he had a good day running around with his boy and Jack likes to hear it.
    McClane: Okay, let's go kill some fuckers.
  • White Shirt of Death:
    • Komarov was shot once in his arm, but he didn't die while being attacked in the safe house.
    • Mr. McClane himself gets blood on his white shirt as he was wounded several times.

Alternative Title(s): Die Hard 5