To celebrate the home entertainment release of A Good Day To Die Hard , Total Film was given a crash course in learning to drive… John McClane-style.
Now, five films into the explosion-heavy action franchise, you’ve probably realised that McClane isn’t the subtlest wheelman, and if there’s one area in which the fifth film delivered, it was in the crunching car chases.
To get a taste of the movie’s Moscow-based motoring, we headed over to Mercedes-Benz World in Surrey to learn how to: pull a 360˚ spin, how to ride a 4x4 over troublesome terrain (including, yes, up and down stone steps) and how to drive in a stunt-pod.
What’s a stunt-pod? It’s a modified car developed by picture vehicle coordinator Alex King, and it involved putting the driving wherewithal on top of the car (picture a giant go-kart), so that a stunt driver could tear around the track, while Bruce Willis (or a TF writer) could pose in the driving seat, while being filmed from all angles.
We got to ride in the ‘fake’ driving seat, with Willis’ stunt double, Larry Rippenkroeger, calling the shots from above, as well as getting behind the wheel of the pod ourselves. If our go-kart skills already left a little to be desired, the stunt-pod cranked that up several notches. Stiff steering, temperamental acceleration and the face-splattering bugs added up to a nightmarish experience akin to retaking your first driving test. In a go-kart. With Bruce Willis’ double in the examiner’s seat.
And just for giggles, a couple of Mercedes-Benz stunt-drivers (one of whom put pedal-to-metal in Fast & Furious 6 ) tore us round one of their tracks in a couple of their most powerful models, for a mocked-up car chase. For an action movie junkie, it’s a ridiculous thrill, with the fun factor outweighing the fear. It’s only when you step out of the car, woozily-headed and wobbly-legged, that you realise the impact it has had on your body.
To round out the day, we got to take the G-Wagon (a 4x4 used by McClane in the movie) around an automobile assault course. We’d like to take the credit for driving it up and down huge sets of stone steps and pinning it to the side of a sheer drop, but when you’re behind the wheel of one of those beasts, it seems the car does all the work for you (thankfully).
For a taste of what we go up to on the day, and to see the stunt-pod in action, watch the video below:
A Good Day To Die Hard is out now on DigitalHD download, Blu-ray and DVD.