With a score of just 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, "A Good Day to Die Hard" is the worst reviewed film in the franchise by a Nakatomi Plaza-sized margin of almost 40 points. 23 critics on our own Criticwire Network give the film a lowly D+ average. It was the best of days to 'Die Hard,' it was the worst of days to 'Die Hard.'
John McClane fans were understandably alarmed by the bad notices, and as a fan of the series to this point, I feel their pain. But I must admit I'm still somewhat saddened by the reaction on Rotten Tomatoes' "Die Hard 5" message board, which has mostly turned into a referendum about how critics "don't get action movies." Here is a sample of their reactions:
"whats wrong with the critics? saw the movie yesterday and i think it was awesome! the action was great and fun,bruce willis always has some good punchlines and even the son was a ok charakter...all in all a enteraining an good fun movie,the only letdown was the villian. its a shame that people cant enjoy a mindless action movie anymore these days...i give it 8/10 points,i you like action movies then you will enjoy this one." -- Christian Kneier
"Critics are just doing what they're paid to do: Review movies and sound cynical while doing it." -- Dan Everett
"I do not care critics. I still like it." -- Himanshu Pant
"Critics don't get action movies. I love tools like Ryan who think plot and character development are better than explosions and violence on some objective scale, you know it's just as valid for someone to say they didn't care for There Will Be Blood because there isn't enough explosions or violence as it is for you to whine that the new Die Hard doesn't have enough plot or character development, but we'd both have to tell each other we're watching these movies for the wrong reasons and move on. There aren't enough genre critics, they're all just Drama movie fans who think their input matters on everything." -- Joshua Tetreault
"13% critics liked it, 82% general public...I trust the public. Movie critics are an age old idea gone bad. We don't need them. They are horrible at reviewing films and quite frankly they almost always get it wrong. The public just needs to go to the movies and enjoy them. I can count on one hand how many movies the critics hated that I hated too. It just doesn't happen." -- Michael Leonard
There might be something to the idea that action movies are devalued by certain segments of the critical population. But there is such a thing as a bad mindless action movie -- and "A Good Day to Die Hard" is it. A good mindless action movie might be something like "Live Free or Die Hard" -- which, by the way, got an 81% on Rotten Tomatoes. Apparently critics do get some action movies (there was this other one recently called "Skyfall" that they seemed to enjoy as well). Action fans -- and I consider myself one -- still need standards.
More importantly: if you trust the public, if movie critics are an age old idea gone bad, why are you wasting your time on a website devoted to film criticism? I get not agreeing with critics. I get thinking they're out of touch with popular tastes. But if they're so irrelevant, why bother?
Read more comments from Rotten Tomatoes' "A Good Day to Die Hard" forum.