In Moscow, Viktor Chagarin, a high-ranking, but corrupt, Russian official plans to incriminate former billionaire and government whistleblower Yuri Komarov in an imminent rigged trial unless Komarov hands over a secret file believed to contain evidence incriminating Chagarin. Separately, Jack McClane, who has been arrested after an assassination attempt, negotiates for a shorter sentence by offering to testify against Komarov. Meanwhile, Jack's father, NYPD Detective John McClane, who has not been in touch with his son for several years, has learned his son is in trouble and travels to Russia to help. As John arrives and approaches the courthouse where Komarov is on trial, a bomb explosion, orchestrated by Chagarin's henchman Alik, occurs in the courthouse and Jack breaks free with Komarov. Seeing his son, John confronts him, but their dispute is cut short as Alik and his men chase them in a US Cougar MRAP through the streets of Moscow. John, Jack, and Komarov manage to escape.
Hiding in a safe house, John finds out that his son is a CIA officer and has been on an undercover operation for the past three years. Jack's partner, Collins, demands the file's location from Komarov so that the CIA can bring Chagarin down. Komarov eventually agrees on condition that he and his daughter are given safe passage out of Russia. Collins is eventually shot and killed while the McClanes and Komarov come under heavy gunfire from Chagarin's men, but they escape. They make their way to a hotel in the city to fetch the key to the vault containing the file. There they meet up with Komarov's daughter, Irina, as earlier planned. John grows suspicious of her shifty behavior, and is proven correct when Alik and his men burst in and tie John and Jack up, while Komarov is taken as a hostage, and Irina confesses to informing on them for the "millions of dollars" to be gained. Jack breaks free of his ties and kills the nearest guards using a Russian gun-knife, allowing the two to kill most of the men. Alik and Irina, with Komarov still their hostage, return in a Mil Mi-24 helicopter and try to kill them, but the two escape a second time.
That night, the two steal a car full of firearms and drive to Pripyat, Ukraine, where the vault with the file is located. However, Komarov, Irina, and Alik have preceded them. In a twist, the file is revealed never to have existed: the drawer with the file supposedly inside is in fact a secret passage to a Chernobyl vault containing €1 billion worth of weapons-grade uranium. Once inside the vault, Komarov kills Alik and calls Chagarin to gloat and to listen as Chagarin is killed by a henchman of Komarov's.
At this point, John and Jack enter the vault, discover Komarov's true plot, and capture him. Irina, with another henchman, comes to her father's aid. As they attempt to escape, Jack follows Komarov, while John goes after Irina, who is escaping on a Mil Mi-26 helicopter. Irina tries to protect her father by firing the helicopter's guns at Jack. John is able to bring the helicopter out of balance by driving a truck out of the hangar section, still shackled by a chain, via the open rear ramp; he is later thrown off into the building. Komarov remarks that Jack will get to watch his father die, prompting Jack to hurl him off the rooftop into the path of the spinning helicopter rotors, killing him. As Jack and John reunite inside the building, Irina tries to avenge her father by ramming the helicopter, now out of ammunition, into the building in a suicide attack. Father and son survive by leaping off the building into a large pool of water, as the helicopter crashes and explodes, killing Irina. In the end, the McClanes return home and reunite with Lucy McClane on the tarmac.Bruce Willis as John McClane, an NYPD detective in Russia to find his son, John McClane, Jr.
Jai Courtney as John "Jack" McClane, Jr., the son of the senior McClane and a CIA operative on a mission in Russia.
Sebastian Koch as Yuri Komarov, a powerful Russian terrorist who's a political prisoner and Irina's father.
Yuliya Snigir as Irina Komarova, Yuri's daughter
Sergei Kolesnikov as Viktor Chagarin, a corrupt, high-ranking Russian official.
Radivoje Bukvić as Alik, Chagarin's main enforcer.
Cole Hauser as Mike Collins, a CIA operative and Jack's partner.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy McClane, McClane's oldest child and Jack's elder sister.
Amaury Nolasco as Murphy, an NYPD detective and McClane's friend.
Roman Luknár as Anton
Ganxsta Zolee as MRAP Driver
Production was formally announced in 2010, with X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The A-Team writer Skip Woods confirmed as the film's screenwriter. Noam Murro was originally attached to direct the film but left production to direct the 300 prequel, 300: Rise of an Empire. John Moore was subsequently drafted in to replace him.
The film was originally titled "Die Hard 24/7". The media speculated that the film would be a crossover between the Die Hard and 24 series, with Kiefer Sutherland to reprise his role as Jack Bauer alongside John McClane. This was never confirmed by the studio, and the film's title was later revealed to be A Good Day to Die Hard—with no further mention of any involvement from the 24 series—with a release date of February 14, 2013.
Bruce Willis returned as John McClane, and has expressed a desire to shoot A Good Day to Die Hard and a sixth installment in the series before retiring the character.
When casting the role of Jack McClane, the studios considered several actors, including Liam Hemsworth and James Badge Dale, before ultimately settling on Australian actor Jai Courtney. Mary Elizabeth Winstead also appeared in the film, reprising her role as McClane's daughter Lucy. However all her scenes were cut from the Extended release.
Sebastian Koch played the film's primary antagonist, Yuri Komarov, while Yuliya Snigir and Cole Hauser featured as secondary characters Irina and Collins. The cast was completed by actors Amaury Nolasco as a friend of McClane, Pasha D. Lychnikoff as a taxi driver, and Megalyn Echikunwoke, Anne Vyalitsyna, and Ivan Kamaras in smaller roles.
Production began in Hungary in April 2012, with the capital Budapest standing in for Moscow. A military shooting range near Hajmáskér was used for shooting live ammunition, while vehicular stunts were shot at the Hungaroring, a Formula One racing circuit in Mogyoród.
In July 2012, a fire broke out on the set while shooting an aerial stunt, though no one was injured and shooting resumed after a short delay.
In creating the film's visual style, Moore wanted the camera work to be almost entirely handheld, using three 4 Perforation 35mm Arri cameras equipped with long lenses to capture tight close-ups, for Moore explained, "McClane is in a strange world, with little or no initial control over his environment. He's unable to anticipate things as he normally might. He's caught off guard, and we want the camera to mimic that surprise and confusion." Moore also chose to create as many of the film's effects on camera as possible, only using visual effects to enhance elements or paint in backgrounds.
A specially censored version was prepared for theatrical release in the United Kingdom, which was cut for language and violence in order to attain a 12A at the request of the distributors. The U.S. version is rated R and is uncut. The film's audio was mixed in Dolby Atmos surround sound. In February 2013, director Moore began work on a director's cut, which was later released on Blu-ray.
Marco Beltrami, who had composed the soundtrack for the previous film, Live Free or Die Hard, returned to score A Good Day to Die Hard. Beltrami again incorporates Michael Kamen's material from the first three films into his score. Beltrami only had six weeks in which to write the music, and new scenes were still being shot as the music was being recorded. In the end, he wrote around 120 minutes of music, with 80 of those minutes making it into the final film. The soundtrack album was released on February 14, 2013 digitally and in retailers by Sony Classical. Five orchestrators were involved: Pete Anthony, Jon Kull, Dana Niu, Rossana Galante, Andrew Kinny. The orchestra was conducted by Pete Anthony.
The score was programmed by Buck Sanders, with additional music composed by Marcus Trumpp and Brandon Roberts.
All music composed by Marco Beltrami.
On January 31, 2013, 20th Century Fox held a special tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Die Hard series by unveiling a mural of a scene from Die Hard (1988) on Sound Stage 8 of the Fox Lot. Afterward, the premiere screening of A Good Day to Die Hard was shown. Two additional premieres were held in Europe leading up to the film's commercial release: one in Berlin, Germany on February 4 and the second in London, England on February 7. A Good Day to Die Hard was commercially released first in Indonesia on February 6, 2013, and then opened in certain East and Southeast Asian territories on February 7.
In the United States and Canada, the film was distributed to 2,328 theaters for night showings on February 13. Select theaters also held a one-time special marathon of all Die Hard films to lead up to A Good Day to Die Hard's nationwide release, with Bruce Willis making a personal appearance at one of these marathons in New York City to thank fans. The film then expanded to a total of 3,553 theaters, including IMAX theaters, on February 14.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 14% based on 217 reviews, with an average rating of 3.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A Good Day to Die Hard is the weakest entry in a storied franchise, and not even Bruce Willis' smirking demeanor can enliven a cliched, uninspired script." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 28 out of 100, based on 40 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". On both websites, the film ranked lowest among the Die Hard films. Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale, the lowest score of the franchise.
A. O. Scott of The New York Times described A Good Day to Die Hard as "a handful of extended set pieces—each more elaborate and therefore somehow less exciting than the last—linked by a simple-minded plot and a handful of half-clever lines." Though complimenting the special effects, he criticizes the direction of John Moore, the lack of style, and writes that "everything that made the first Die Hard memorable—the nuances of character, the political subtext, the cowboy wit—has been dumbed down or scrubbed away entirely." Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter expressed similar sentiments, particularly of the direction, for which he says that Moore "has directed these sequences in a way that makes the incidents look so far-fetched and essentially unsurvivable that you can only laugh". Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a 2/5 and remarked that it lacked "inspiration", and that the onscreen rivalry of Willis and Courtney was "more irritant than enticement." Richard Roeper, standing in for Roger Ebert on Ebert's website, rated the film one and a half stars out of four, criticizing the implausibility of the action sequences, as well as the film's lack of sufficient characterization for McClane and the villains as compared to the other films in the series. He says that "McClane has been stripped of any real traces of an actual three-dimensional character," and that the film "never giv[es] us a chance to get the least bit involved with any of these characters."
Among the rare positive reviews, Robbie Collin for The Telegraph remarked that "Yet even though the ride finally stalls, A Good Day To Die Hard has been thrustingly outrageous enough in its earlier moments to coast to the finish line on momentum.". Chris Tookey of the Daily Mail tabloid paper described the film as "...as stupid in its way as The Expendables 1 and Taken 2, and nowhere near the quality of the first three Die Hards. But if you approach it as I did, in a mood for preposterous action and massive explosions, it does deliver escapist entertainment and it’s mercifully shorter than Die Hard 4. In a week as bad as this in the cinema, it is the only new movie I would have paid to see." Tookey then gave the final verdict as being "Entertaining, but dumb." along with a 3/5 star rating. Daniel M. Kimmel, writing for the New England Movies Weekly, found the film to be better than Live Free or Die Hard and states that the car chase scene "is well worth the price of admission." With a 3.5/5 rating, Kimmel summed up his review saying, "it's probably a good day to end the series at last, but it's an action-packed and entertaining finale." Rick Groen of The Globe and Mail criticized the action scenes as being "messy", but concluded his review saying that the film "continues the franchise without undue embarrassment." Peter Howell of The Toronto Star remarked that Willis and Courtney made a strong estranged family duo and that the film had a nice drinking game routine going for it with how many times McClane exclaims "I'm on vacation!" during the running time.
A Good Day to Die Hard grossed $67,349,198 in North America and $237,304,984 in other territories for a worldwide total of $304,654,182, roughly three times its $92 million budget.
In North America, A Good Day to Die Hard grossed an estimated $840,000 from its night showings at 2,328 locations on Wednesday, February 13, 2013. The next day, at an additional 1,225 locations, the film managed to accumulate $8,239,116, opening at #2 behind Safe Haven. However, for the whole 4-day Presidents' Day weekend, A Good Day to Die Hard opened in first place with $28,640,657, bringing its total at that point to $36,879,773.
Overseas, A Good Day to Die Hard grossed $10,860,000 in its first weekend. Opening in seven Asian markets at 1,182 locations a week before North America's release (February 6–7) to take advantage of the Chinese New Year holiday, the majority of the film's gross came from South Korea, with the film also setting a Fox record in Indonesia and a series record in Hong Kong.
A Good Day to Die Hard was released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 4, 2013. There is an extended cut that is only available on the Blu-ray version. It features a longer car chase through Moscow and some other slightly extended scenes. It also completely removes Lucy from the film.