Two much-hyped Valentine’s Day releases are earning some of the worst reviews we've seen in months. Critics have few good things to say about high-octane “A Good Day to Die Hard” or the melodramatic “Safe Haven," and the comically scathing critiques are more entertaining than the movies themselves.
Hough and Duhamel in "Safe Haven."
Directed by John Moore, “A Good Day to Die Hard” marks the fifth film in the action franchise. The Bruce Willis flick currently has a 13% rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, making it the worst reviewed installment in the series by far.
Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times is among the unimpressed.
“As written by Skip Woods, 'A Good Day to Die Hard’ is certainly twisty enough, but the pro-forma nature of Willis' performance — even his traditional ‘yippee ki yay’ sounds muted — doesn't help a film that cannot be described as inspired.
“Victory laps can be pleasant enough,” Turan adds, “but if no one's heart is in them, what's the point?”
“Ah jeez. I actually wanted this one to be good,” RollingStone’s Peter Travers said, “Or at least decent. Or at least a reminder of what got us all fired up about the first ‘Die Hard’ in 1988. But ‘A Good Day to Die Hard,’ the fifth in a creatively exhausted series, is total crap.”
NPR’s Ian Buckwalter notes that the film has a few decent moments but doesn’t live up to its predecessors.
“A ‘Good Day to Die Hard,’ the fifth entry in the annals of hard-to-kill New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis), is not that explosively bad movie. It's the decaying radioactive wreckage left behind after that bomb goes off.
“It doesn't even feel like it was ever intended to be a ‘Die Hard’ movie: It's like someone went into that Cold War boilerplate pile, found a buddy-cop script about two mismatched heroes out to thwart the nefarious plans of some generic Russian bad guys, and substituted McClane and his son for the leads,” Buckwalter added.
Critics are less than thrilled about the performances Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel give in the film.
“Duhamel is goofy and harmless, but unlike Ryan Gosling in ‘Notebook,’ adds no texture or subtlety,” Miriam Bale of the Daily News said. “Hough (“Footloose”), while photogenic, is similarly bland.”
Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun Times finds the film’s “twist” ending head scratching and memorable for the wrong reasons.
"This film is nuts. Not in a ‘wacky comedy’ or ‘outrageous adventure’ or ‘insanely effective romance’ kind of way," he wrote. “Nuts as in, either the filmmakers were out of their minds, or they must think we’re out of our minds to buy into this schmaltz. Nuts as in a key character we believe to be pretty much OK turns out to be OUT OF HER MIND."
Despite the negative attention, “A Good Day” and “Safe Haven” have a chance at raking in the big bucks at the box office. Numerous Valentine’s Day releases have been smash hits and these latest V-Day releases have the power to lure audiences.
Since “Die Hard” was released in 1988, the franchise has had a loyal fanbase-- helping to bring the average gross of a “Die Hard” movie over $100 million.
Though the average intake of a Nicholas Sparks movie is a humble $60 million, “Safe Haven” could do as well as previous adaptations of the author’s novels like “The Notebook” and “Dear John.”
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