Quibi’s Die Hart is Kevin Hart playing a fictitious version of himself. The ongoing theme is that he’s looked upon as just a co-star – mainly to Dwayne Johnson. To shed this stigma, he is adamant about being in a starring role and goes to action movie school. There, he meets a highly outlandish and energetic teacher named Ron Wilcox (John Travolta). Wilcox is tasked to get Hart ready by putting him crazy action movies exercises. That way, he can be the leading man in famed action director Claude Van De Velde’s (Jean Reno) next film.
Die Hart has it’s funny moments. Especially, as it throws it’s characters into some absurd scenarios that should be familiar to any action movie aficionado. The Quibi format breaks down this short film into eight-minute episodes – thus, pushes to up the stakes in Stallone-like cliffhangers. However, its story premise muddies up the waters a little. While the setting is fictional, there are many nods to real people and things. Matt Damon and Dolph Lundgren are referenced as previous students. There’s even a visit from a very charismatic Josh Hartnett in one episode.
Kevin Hart’s well-known punchlines are infused in a dummy that he has to rescue. As crazy as things get, Hart is skeptical from the start – about Wilcox’s intentions, in particular. In his apprehension, it puts a spotlight on how unbelievable the backdrop is. Then again, is an action school in the middle of nowhere that has trained the cream of the crop feasible? His continued insistence to get to the bottom of things makes the eventual twist not as notable.
Jordan King (Nathalie Emmanuel), an actress who is also trying to turn over a new career leaf is introduced shortly after. Soon after, Hart gets King in on his paranoid hi-jinks which makes for some laughs as things pick up. Wilcox thinks of King highly – much to Hart’s expense. That’s the thing – as Hart is making a valid attempt in shedding the sidekick moniker he’s acquired, the short film constantly eludes to it. When he eventually gets what he wants, the audience may take on many of the characters’ attitudes towards his career ‘redemption arch.’
Within the Quibi realm, Die Hart escalates to one insane situation to the next. The cast is generally having a good time going from each situation to the next. Travolta shines in his role as the paranoid overseer of the school. Hart and Emmanuel play off of each other well as the reluctant students who have to band together. The format makes for a seamless transition for this as well. If you’re a fan of previous Kevin Hart films, his trademarks are all present. While Die Hart struggles in how it wants to convey the overall point, it is an entertaining watch for all 80’s and 90’s action movie fans to boast.