Not everyone knows Kevin Hart starred in a TV series which follows a fictional version of himself as he learns how to become an action star. Die Hart was released in 2020 on Quibi as 10 minute shorts, and to find an edited together movie on Amazon Prime is more of a reminder. That’s because Die Harter is set to debut on Roku on March 31.
From the official synopsis:
After achieving his dream of becoming a bona fide action hero in Die Hart, Kevin Hart now wants to cement his legacy as the greatest action star of all time. He’s developed a concept for a revolutionary movie where the action is so unscripted and unexpected that even Kevin won’t know what’s coming next. But his myopic dream comes with a blind spot, and he soon finds himself the victim of an evil revenge plot, orchestrated by someone from his past.
In the sequel, Kevin must enlist the help of his favourite co-star Jordan King (Nathalie Emmanuel, returning for season 2), his over-eager assistant Andre (Ben Schwartz), Andre’s mom Cynthia (Paula Pell), and legendary Hollywood stuntman Mr. 206 (John Cena) if he wants to survive.
Fans can see the work that was originally designed in this release. Despite the movie making huge leaps concerning character development and downplaying the violent bits, I didn’t mind them at all. That’s because I have a reasonable recall of the series to help fill in those gaps.
The 112-minute version still had me laughing all the way to the inevitable–can he become a leading man? After a meltdown on a local talk show, famous director Claude Van De Velde (Jean Reno) decides to give him a chance. The problems he faces is in whether he can be tough when needed. He’ll have to go to school for that, and get to learn Ron Wilcox (John Travolta). Throughout the series, he’s rough on the trainees, but when reality presents itself, I was rolling on the floor with laughter when at long last, I see some of that character from long ago shine through. I’ve been following Travolta’s career since Welcome Back Kotter, and to see him deliver a Vinnie Barbarino moment was a wish come true.
When we get led on that the action star training school Wilcox is running has difficulties and there are threats in store, just how well Hart deals sends him in a tizzy. There’s another aspect which I won’t spoil, but we’re teased at why Hart was recruited in the first place. Van De Velde wants to make a comeback since he was the guy who directed those action movie hits of yesteryears.
Also, Die Hart follows down a similar line as Amazon Prime’s Jean-Claude Van Johnson. This series follows the titular life of an action hero as played by Jean-Claude Van Damme trying to be a secret agent again after retirement. But he’s not as fast on his feet as before; in this world, this muscle from Brussels needs to consider why he’s still in this game. Is it for fame or delivering justice?
In contrast, Kevin’s manic exuberance gets played up for different reasons. Can he become a different kind of talent that he’s not? Now that he wants to prove himself further in a second season (unlike Jean-Claude’s show), I can’t wait to see how Cena will be integral to helping this character grow. He’s often the straight man, and to see him exercise his funny bone is worth tuning in for. When considering his performance in Playing with Fire and The Peacemaker, to watch him in another comedy is sure to be just as nuts.
4 Stars out of 5