Comedy superstar Kevin Hart makes the return to the episodic series in Roku’s Die Hart. The series comes from Derek Kolstad and Tripper Clancy and follows a fictionalized version of Hart as he attempts to land the action movie role of a lifetime. The audience first meets this version of Hart as he prepares to go on a morning talk show to promote his latest film that has Hart teaming up with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson for the sixth time.
Hart wants to be taken seriously as an actor, but after some shenanigans on the talk show turn into a PR nightmare, Hart realizes it’s time for a change. Hart’s agent is able to book him a meeting with renowned action director Claude Van De Velde, who informs the actor he wants Hart for the lead in his next film. However, Hart must complete an action hero school, taught by wildman Ron Wilcox (John Travolta).
One of the writers (Tripper Clancy) for Die Hart is behind the 2019 comedy Stuber, and the other (Derek Kolstad) wrote the John Wick trilogy. While the director Eric Appel made a name for himself directing episodes of numerous television sitcoms. Hart is no stranger to playing fictionalized versions of himself. The comedian portrayed “himself” for five seasons on the faux reality show Real Husbands of Hollywood and briefly in the 2013 comedy This Is the End.
The version of Hart in Die Hart though, ties into where he is in 2021. Earlier this summer, Hart showcased an authentic range in Netflix’s Fatherhood. So, with Die Hart (a play on the 1988 Bruce Willis classic), I see what Hart is trying to accomplish. Hart has excellent chemistry with John Travolta, and the two play well off each other’s strengths. With Hart’s zany antics, that haven’t grown tiresome for me, and Travolta’s natural screen chemistry that’s still there. The second episode introduces Nathalie Emmanuel as Hart’s classmate, who is in training for similar reasons. Josh Hartnett and Jean Reno also show up for brief cameos, adding to the fun.
Die Hart runs for ten episodes, with each serial running less than ten minutes. The series initially made its debut last year on the now-defunct short-form streamer app Quibi. This past January, Roku acquired Quibi’s entire library and rebranded all their shows as Roku Originals. I, personally, never made the time to check out Quibi during the initial launch.
I do know that Quibi’s content was made specifically for mobile devices. Therefore, the format of episodes in 10 minutes or less instead of the usual half-hour TV episodes or two-hour films took some getting used to for me. Hopefully, at some point, Roku will splice everything together and create one short movie, which may help the narrative flow better.
Nevertheless, I did finish Die Hart in one viewing, and the show gave me enough chuckles that I can give it my recommendation.
Final Grade: B-
Die Hart is streaming on Roku now