"KEEP BUSTIN'."

Holy Cow! It’s Vern’s Review Of LIFE FREE OR DIE HARD! Did He Like It Or Not?!?!

SPOILER ALERT !!

Hey, everyone. ”Moriarty” here.

I haven’t seen this one yet. Almost went to a midnight show tonight, but it just didn’t time out right. But honestly, you guys don’t care what I have to say about this. You probably don’t care what Quint or Harry have to say, either. Or Capone. Or Massawyrm. Or anyone here at the site except for one man… the guy whose original rant about the PG-13 rating ended up summoning Bruce “Walter B” Willis out of the ether in one of the craziest talkback moments of all time.

Yes, that’s right. It’s time for Vern’s review of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. Which means it’s time for me to piss off and hand over the stage to him:

“No one has that power. There is a much more powerful guy in Hollywood, and his name is Rupert Murdoch. It’s his corporation. I only work there.” –Bruce Willis to Vanity Fair, on not being able to do an R-rated DIE HARD

“This city is like a big CHICKEN, waiting to get PLUCKED.” –SCARFACE, edited for TV version

Fellas–

DIE HARD, the motion picture, characters and their likenesses, are the copyrighted intellectual property of the Twentieth Century Fox Corporation. To them DIE HARD is a franchise, a license, a property, a brand, a tentpole, a consumer product, an opportunity for cross promotion with Arby’s and whichever candy bar it was. To them DIE HARD is a dollar amount for an opening weekend, a domestic gross balanced against a marketing budget. But to the rest of the world, to the people with beating hearts, DIE HARD is something more.

Live Free or Die HardThere’s alot of ways you can interpret those two words. I used to think it had something to do with the saying “old habits die hard.” But it sounds more like a command, like it’s telling you to DIE HARD. If you believe in something, die standing up, die with your boots on. Or in this case with your shoes off. Die hard.

I never really thought of it as a noun, like “John McClane is such a die hard,” but that might make the most sense. If you look up “die hard” on dictionary.com (this new one’s about computers so why not) it tells you it’s “a person who vigorously maintains or defends a seemingly hopeless position, outdated attitude, lost cause, or the like.” Obviously that describes McClane to a T. He’s a die hard who dies hard.

Whatever the title was originally supposed to mean, over the past almost two decades it has taken on a new meaning. Of course you’ve got the “DIE HARD on a blank” method of describing a movie where one man is forced to sneak around whatever the blank is to foil a terrorist attack. But to me anyway DIE HARD is more than just a premise or a formula. DIE HARD describes the attitude and tone of the movie. Like John McClane, DIE HARD has little patience for bullshit, a high tolerance for pain, and now it has a machine gun, ho ho ho. There is no such thing as DIE HARD lite, or DIE HARD medium, or a DIE HARD that pulls a few punches. There is only DIE HARD. You can’t put DIE HARD in a box or a cage, because we have known from the beginning that walls cannot contain DIE HARD. To my dying day, whether that day is hard or regular, I will remember the newspaper ad that promised “It will blow you through the back of the theater!” and included a diagram of how exactly this would work. You hear that? DIE HARD is not balls to the wall action – DIE HARD is action that actually knocks your balls THROUGH the wall. That’s just how it works. Be careful with the balls.

But now here we are in 2007 and even Walter B. Willis, John Ma(gunshot)Clane himself, cannot sneak around and pick off Fox executives one by one to foil their plan to build walls around DIE HARD, or to reinforce the back wall of the theater so nobody gets blown through it. As you can see in that quote above, Bruce felt an R-rating was a seemingly hopeless position, but he did not vigorously defend it like a die hard. In that article there’s a funny story about a Fox executive giving Bruce notes about the Kevin Smith scenes and Bruce listens and then says, “Let me ask you a question: Who’s your second choice to play John McClane?” Unfortunately it was a bad play, he should’ve saved that card for the rating.

Because I believe they really did make a DIE HARD movie here. Obviously, it’s not as good as DIE HARD. Nothing is. But if you like the sequels, this is in the same tradition, and it earns the description DIE HARD. Almost. I think. In my PG-13 DIE HARD rant I asked Fox, and by extension all mankind, not to be Ellis, the smarmy yuppie sellout bastard who tries to betray McClane to Grueber to save his own ass. But clearly those mister falcons are Ellis. Every last one of them is Ellis, holding the can of Coke and giving the thumbs up and everything. But they don’t want to be Ellis, they want to be Grueber, so they are holding the real LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD hostage, saving the real movie that has blood and falcon-bombs for DVD so at that time you can be blown through the back of your apartment and lose your security deposit.

So, my friends, I dearly wish we were not in this ridiculous situation. I wish they had just done the right thing and released the movie as it was obviously meant to be, so I could recommend this movie without reservations or caveats or what have yous. I mean how ludicrous is it that we are actually put into the position of explaining how a flippin DIE HARD movie is “really violent… for PG-13!” and “pushes the limits… of PG-13!”

It’s preposterous and it’s sad and it’s a bad omen that we have found ourselves here, but it could’ve been worse. The movie could’ve sucked. But I am relieved to be able to tell you that, despite everything going against it, LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD is a pretty damn entertaining movie. It could and should be harder. But it’s fun, it has a good villainous plot, it has many intense and well constructed action sequences, and other than the rating and Kevin Smith it manages to overcome most of the worries I had about the movie.

Hey, you skipped over all that preamble stuff to find out if I liked it or not. That’s cheating. Show me some respect man I’m a god damn artist. I was trying to create suspense and what not.

Anyway I guess I might as well go through piece by piece.

JOHN McCLANE.

I think they could’ve done more visually to show us this is our man John McClane. I understand the baldness, but he’s wearing sort of a hip leather jacket that does not remind me of that working joe we love. So he looks different, and we must assume that he has become a Jehovah’s Witness since there is no mention of his alcoholism, he never smokes and somebody cleaned his mouth out with soap. It’s sad, like how Prince stopped swearing so he doesn’t perform “Sexy MF” anymore. Good for you, John, getting off the booze, but we want to hear that song. Are you worried your grandma is watching this or something? You’re not as fun that way.

So that makes it hard to recognize McClane at first, but this is definitely McClane, with the same sense of humor, cynicism and with the WITH A VENGEANCE powers to manipulate vehicles and withstand vicious falls and hits. The super hero business comes in mostly at the end when they get to that jet fighter you probaly saw on the commercials – that was a pretty big leap into ridiculousness. The rest of the movie is a little more grounded, in my opinion. And I’m happy to report that unlike WITH A VENGEANCE there is not a moment when you think he should just go home and let the professionals take over. This time around the philosophy is that if somebody else could do it he would be happy to go home, but he knows nobody else can do it. The fact that he is the one chasing these “cyberterrorists” and doing a better job than all the other government agencies seems absurd, but they use the almost-convincing trick of mentioning Hurricane Katrina. When you think of it that way you realize hey, it’s true, maybe McClane really is the only one who’s gonna have his crud together.

MAC KID.

I was as worried as anybody. I don’t think McClane needs a wacky sidekick. I like McClane isolated, using a radio to talk to his allies on the outside or to taunt his adversaries. The guy doesn’t need company. And if he must have a sidekick, how are you gonna top Samuel L. Jackson? You’re not. This comic relief sidekick crap is more like the UNDER SIEGE movies, where Casey Ryback has to protect Erika Eleniak and Morris Chestnutt and teach them how to shoot a gun. Luckily, Justin Long (who plays a hacker McClane is protecting from people trying to kill him) is much less annoying than either one of those characters. In fact, I thought he was pretty funny, and he was only saddled with a couple chunks of computery exposition crap.

DAUGHTER.

This is another one straight out of UNDER SIEGE. PART 2: DARK TERRITORY, that is. In that one Katherine Heigl played Seagal’s estranged niece, who knows a few moves courtesy of her uncle, tells the bad guys they’ve messed with the wrong guy and mends her relationship with him as he saves her life. Lucy Gennerro/McClane does the same exact thing here, but I didn’t mind. It’s kind of cute to see her take after her old man, her not speaking to him in the beginning is the last remnant of McClane’s screwed up life, and if these bad guys didn’t kidnap somebody in McClane’s family they would be poor bad guys.

THE VILLAINOUS PLOT.

“Cyberterrorism” sounds really stupid on paper and on web, but in the movie I like the idea. Remember, Hans Grueber also had a corny movie-fied computer hacker on his team. These guys have a similar scheme but on a much larger scale. Instead of DIE HARD in a building it’s DIE HARD in a country. Early on they manipulate the traffic lights to cause massive pileups all around Washington DC. McClane gets out, stands on top of his car and looks at the chaos as far as he can see in every direction, and it is a genuine “oh shit” moment. Later these jerkwads use the magic of the digital age to trap our guy in a tunnel between four lanes of traffic going both ways. The cybervillainy even creates some atmosphere in the scenes where they drive or fly through cities with all the lights turned off. Kind of eerie, kind of pretty.

And by the way, these aren’t just computer guys, they also have a team of badass mercenaries. Which brings me to…

THE HENCHMEN.

I read Quint’s review and I totally disagree with the guy, and especially on this front. I think the henchmen in this movie are topnotch. Maggie Q plays a sexy cold-blooded badass like she did in M:I:3 and DRAGON SQUAD (executive producer: Steven Seagal), and she has a great fight with McClane that is sort of a symbolic fight between modern action movies and the old style. (Don’t worry, no wires as far as I noticed.) But my favorite henchman and one of the big surprises of the movie was the one apparently called Rand.

When the mayhem first starts, the movie is DIE HARD-in-a-dude’s-apartment, but when it moves outside is when you notice Rand. There is a really gimmicky but excellent shot of this guy jumping around, swinging across fire escapes and what not, and the camera follows his every move. It’s very modern in that it’s such a precise camera move that was either done digitally or with a very fancy computerized camera rig. But it’s old school in the sense that you can tell exactly what’s going on, it’s not disorienting. Then you get a clear look at Rand’s face and I realized holy bananas, that’s that dude from DISTRICT B13! Cyril Raffaeilli is his name. He’s the guy that played the cop, not the founder of free running guy, but he does those kind of moves, and he is the stunt co-ordinator for many Luc Besson movies. When I realized it was him I had to think wait a minute, did he do that fire escape stunt FOR REAL? Because I bet he could.

Rand has a couple close calls with McClane but he keeps surviving. One of my buddies said he was “lucky,” and Quint said he was “ridiculous.” Both wrong. What he is is a die hard. A guy who vigorously maintains such hopeless positions as “if I get thrown from a car I think I can roll with the punches” and “if my helicopter blows up it would be a good idea to jump out.” But he says those things in French because he is from France, where people run up walls and jump off buildings and know how to fall safely.

With these two characters you get a little martial arts, a little parkour, but neither enough to seem like they’re showing off or trying to make it too modern. And McClane’s tackle em, choke em, toss em down stairs, hit em with cars style of fighting wins every time.

TIMOTHY OLYPHANT.

Okay, I can’t deny it, he is not an iconic villain like Hans Grueber, or even a fun over-the-top one like Eric Bogosian’s Travis Dane in UNDER SIEGE 2. He has some good moments, especially when he gets the upper hand enough to dare McClane to “go ahead, say something funny.” He’s pretty good with the “I’m smarter than you” vibe, but it’s hard to compete without a British accent. People are saying he is underwhelming, that’s fair enough. I don’t agree that he’s bad, though.

KEVIN SMITH as “Warlock”

on the other hand, this mickey fickey is freakin terrible. I said before that I didn’t blame him for taking the job, because who could turn down a chance to be in a DIE HARD movie? But now that I’ve actually seen it I feel like he had a moral obligation, as a fan of DIE HARD, to tell them they were flippin nuts to want to put him in the movie. This is the one out and out embarrassing scene in the movie. Partly because the “nerd who collects star wars dolls in his mom’s basement” joke is so melon farming obvious and lame, but mainly because the guy does not know how to act in a serious movie. He delivers a “just how badass is this guy?” speech about the villain in the same “funny” tone that he does the “funny” speeches in his movies. It’s completely out of place and momentarily derails the movie. They might as well have had Carrot Top, or Eddie Murphy in a fat suit, or Robin Williams on one of his spaz out trips. Or even a puppet. I know the original had Argyle for some wacky comic relief, but at least he fit into the world of the movie and was introduced at the beginning instead of at a crucial dramatic point in the story. To put it in terms “Warlock” could understand, he is the Jar Jar of this movie. The only genuine laugh in his scenes is when McClane threatens to beat him to death but (SPOILER) sadly he does not beat him to death, at least not in the PG-13 version. A HUGE missed opportunity there. He doesn’t even get killed by the bad guys. Total bummer.

Director LEN WISEMAN.

I gotta give credit where credit is due. Wiseman gets the award for performing beyond expectations. I am not a fan of the UNDERWORLD movies and could not figure out why they would hire some dungeons and dragons nerd to do a DIE HARD. And I’m not saying the guy is John McTiernan quality, and I’m sure I’m gonna get plenty of guff for saying this, but I honestly think he did a good job. Walter B told us that Wiseman brought John McClane into the 21st century, and thankfully that didn’t mean any of the following things it could’ve meant: shaky cameras, quick cuts, Avid farts, whooshy camera sounds, wire-fu, matrixy outfits, electronical music, rockin guitar soundtrack, bullet time, gratuitous CGI. Yeah, there’s a “modern” feel to some of the color tinting and there are some fancy camera moves here and there, but – praise be Jesus – the Lord heard my call and made an action movie where for once I CAN TELL WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON! You guys can have your Michael Bay. Please, for God’s sake, take him. I don’t want him near my movies. Wiseman, at least in this movie, is Vern-approved. He designs his sequences in such a way that you can follow the geography of where the people are, where the vehicles are, what is headed in what direction, etc. These are images that involve you in the action instead of make you dizzy or explode in your face. And Wiseman uses these images to create tension and excitement in the audience. You know, like they used to do in action movies.

And that brings us to the main reason why this movie is worth watching: there really are some kickass action sequences. I am not saying this in a “there is a big explosion and it is AWESOME!” kind of way, I am saying that I love this character of John McClane and when he headbutts a guy or skids across pavement or falls down an elevator shaft it makes me grit my teeth. I usually hate it when people compare a movie to a “ride” or a “rollercoaster,” but that’s really how I felt watching this, there are many thrilling action sequences that if they don’t send your balls through the back wall at least bounce them off the wall a couple times. It kind of feels like when you’re on a rollercoaster hanging over a ledge staring straight down, and your heart beats fast and you can’t help but smile. This movie gave me that feeling many times and, despite all my misgivings, I gotta be thankful for that. CASINO ROYALE is probaly a better movie overall, but to me this was more thrilling. Not that there’s alot to compare it to, but it’s the best action movie of this type in quite a while. Watching this movie you almost forget that they don’t make movies like this anymore.

misc. notes

* The bad guys don’t seem to bleed. There is one guy that gets shredded almost FARGO style, he bleeds a little, but you’d think there’d be a geyser. I almost wish they would’ve done green blood, that would’ve been funny. For the most part I was not bothered by the lack of blood though, because the number one rule is MCCLANE GOTTA BLEED, and he does indeed do all the bleeding in this one. There is one climactic moment though, and you will know it when you see it, where something pretty damn badass occurs, but the biologically impossible lack of blood actually made me think wait a minute, did a misinterpret that, is that not really what happened? So that wasn’t good.

  • Also I coulda done without the helicopter scene. McClane flies a helicopter which they use for quick transportation and to set up a joke that he took lessons to overcome his fear of flying. But there’s no urgency to it, he doesn’t really need to fly it, and it doesn’t even lead to an action scene. So that was kind of dumb.
  • The jet sequence has some phony looking digital effects, but most of the movie feels pretty organic. If you think this one is too digital you are pickier than I am. (And they don’t look any more phony than Bruce propelling away from the explosion in part 2).
  • I love the title LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD but it doesn’t have much to do with the movie. It does take place on Independence Day, though. But it’s not at all like the movie INDEPENDENCE DAY.

Before seeing the movie I figured this had to be the last DIE HARD. I’m not sure how many people are still interested in DIE HARD, and of those that are I know alot of them that lost interest once they heard it was PG-13. And then next week you got that exploding robot movie coming out, it’s the same rating so that’s gonna suck away alot of the audience. (and I do mean suck.)

But now that I’ve seen it I don’t know. My experience was the opposite of Quint’s – the audience was clearly into it, with lots of clapping and laughing and cheering. And maybe normal people don’t care or notice about the PG-13 like we do. Maybe the world needs a shot of McClane in whatever strength they can get it. I’m sure some of my talkback pals will be disappointed in me for writing a mostly positive review and think I sold out or that I’m trying to be nice to Walter B so he’ll send me the uncut version and autograph my cassette tape of The Return of Bruno. But I’m just being honest. I hate what they did with this movie. But I liked this movie.

Okay, Bruce said this is maybe better than the first one, that’s not even close to true. But it’s an enjoyable action movie in the midst of a long enjoyable action movie drought. It could catch on. So I ask you, Walter B, if you’re out there, and if you ever choose to DIE HARD again. Think of us die hards. I won’t even say you owe us one – you owe YOU one, because I know you want it too. You can do it. We believe in you. If you can jump off the side of a building tied to a firehose I think you can get those Dwayne T. Robinsons over there to understand that DIE HARD must go out with a children under 17 not admitted without a parent or guardian style bang. The backs of the theaters won’t know what hit em. You’ll make a movie like this times ten, and across the planet we’ll all be yellin MOTHERFUCKER so loud it’ll drown out all the gun shots in the world.

thanks Bruce,
Vern

Originally published at Ain’t-It-Cool-News: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33162

View the archived Ain’t-It-Cool-News Talkback

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 27th, 2007 at 6:23 am and is filed under Action, AICN, Bruce, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

93 Responses to “Holy Cow! It’s Vern’s Review Of LIFE FREE OR DIE HARD! Did He Like It Or Not?!?!”

  1. Just watched this again for the fourth or fifth time. I truly do love this movie. It’s the weakest of the series, but that’s like saying Lucy Lui is the ugliest Charlie’s Angel. You know she’s still hotter than you deserve.

    Vern, I know you hate Kevin Smith, and that’s fair, but I don’t think he detracted from the movie at all. In fact, I think his presence added to one of the movie’s main themes: nerd self-hatred. No celebrity better exemplifies the foibles of the modern man-boy better than Kevin Smith. Throughout the movie, there are examples of the geek generation proving itself ineffectual and emasculated. They play with dolls, they never leave the house, they hate getting their hands dirty, they have no tolerance for pain or discomfort, and all they care about is meaningless bullshit. The whole movie is Smith’s generation (mine too) beating itself up for not being as manly as older guys like McClane. From the villains to the sidekicks to the FBI, there isn’t a character in the movie who lives in the real world and has any code of honor. Life is all virtual to them, an abstract fantasy. My favorite little moment is when McClane asks the FBI leader to give him his word that he’ll save his daughter. The guy looks taken aback. My word? What does that mean? He’s used to dealing with computers and bureaucrats, not a sincere, earnest individual talking to him man-to-man about life-or-death shit. You can see the shame on his face as he realizes that while he’s been dicking around with his computers, this guy has been out there putting his actual ass on the line. Suddenly, the world isn’t just a flow of data on a computer screen. It’s a place where real people are in real danger. Same thing with Smith, who has all these delusions about what an outlaw he is and how he shouldn’t help “the Man” (whoever the fuck that is), but McClane yanks him back to reality. His daughter is REALLY at risk. This is all REALLY happening. Life isn’t a fucking video game, and it’s McClane’s job to teach all these nerds that.

  2. Yeah, it’s just too bad they got Kevin Motherfucking Smith to play the guy.

    I actually just came here for the sole purpose of reading the Kevin Smith paragraph, as it was axed from YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER in my opinion. I understand the prudence involved in the decision to take it out, but I still think it’s kind of a shame. Aside from that though, upon finishing this book I must say that it truly does represent a comprehensive look at the best of your work and the key tenets of your philosophy. I’d read most of the reviews in there already, but it was fun revisiting them and stumbling across the reviews (and movies) that were totally new to me. I hope the book is doing well. And just because it isn’t said enough, I’m glad you kept at this shit and have this corner of the internet here for all us junior scholars to discuss the films of cinema. Cheers Vern

  3. I have not got “Yippie Ki Yay” yet. But I largely agree with Majestyk’s perceptive analysis there. I enjoyed this one, despite its glaring flaws. Bruce Willis is John McClane in this one in the same sense as Tom Cruise is Ethan Hunt in Mission Impossible: 2 and 3. (In other words same actor, completely different character.)

    Having watched it again, I think Kevin Smith is pretty bad. I didn’t notice it before, but Vern is right. What I DO think is really bad, though, is Olyphant as the villain. I mean, I honestly believe this guy is one of the most charismatic character actors of his generation – why the fuck would you ask him to play a total non-character like this? He hasn’t got a hundredth of the genuine menace he had as Todd Gaines in “Go”. Gotta go with the haters on this one, he’s bad enough that he drags the movie down. On the flip side of the coin, I had no problems with Justin Long, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, or Maggie Q. (I know a lot of people hated their characters as well.)

  4. I just hated this movie. And I mean really hate. I didn’t like it when I saw it the first time, but then I decided to give it a second chance later, but then I was almost crying. No, seriously. After I admitted a while ago that I ask my sister for help whenever I see a spider and am able to enjoy the housewife stories in THE UNIT, I should probably say something that restores my manhood on this websight, but I was so pissed off that I had to restrain myself from crying! The movie has so many flaws, Kevin Smith is maybe the least problematic of them! (and hey, he is only in one or two scenes anyway.)
    I think the best thing I can say about xXx 3: LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD, is that Len Wiseman turned out to be a surprisingly good action director. As stupid and cartoony the action scenes were, they were at least very well directed. So if this movie has one reason to exist, it’s to show us that the guy who is responsible for the horrible UNDERWORLD movies, has some potential.

  5. So i hated this one the first two times I saw it, but revisiting it now, it’s definitely grown on me. The villain is still weak, and the tension and pacing don’t even compare to the first 3. The scale is so much bigger but it doesn’t seem as intense and there’s still too much flab going on. Plus I don’t care what anyone says – purposely aiming a car to hit a tollbooth and knock a helicopter out of the air is way stupider than ejecting out of a plane to escape grenades or jumping off a roof with a firehose attached to your waist.

    The entire Cliff Curtis “this is above your paygrade” stuff dragged the movie down, even though Majestyk’s take on the purpose of his character to contrast with McClane makes me appreciate him somewhat. I also still don’t like the climax – the real climax involving the jet seems to be cut and pasted from a different movie, and then it just ends with a whimper.

    I actually think Justin Long is terrible here even though I normally like him – he has about 15 sarcastic one-liners too many – it’s almost the exact same performance as Ryan Reynolds in Blade III but not as funny. Kevin Smith wasn’t as bad as I remembered, even though his part doesn’t make sense – McClane calls him for help by saying “They’ve got my daughter!” and that kind of wakes him up from his anti-The Man sentiments and he helps Bruce. But he already knew they took his daughter because he was there when they did it!

    Anyway, Bruce is better than I remember too – at first i thought he was too stoic and basically didn’t act anything like McClane, but he’s actually fairly chatty and honestly the change in character from DH2 to DH3 was way more drastic. Plus little moments like his “that’s what makes you that guy” refrain w/ Long at the end, and his line about eating lots of meals by himself were great.

    All in all, it’s a solid two-and-a-half star movie. As much as it’s a step down from the other 3, we’ll still be very lucky people if Die Hard 5 is as good.

  6. The early bad reviews published so far for A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD have been discouraging.

  7. Yeah, but on the other hand, a surprising amount of people liked xXx 3: LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD.

  8. I saw A GOOD DAY a few days back. It’s pretty good in my opinion. Though the version i saw was PG-13.

  9. I sense a storm coming.

  10. I read somewhere that McClane can actually fly in this one. Can anyone confirm this?

  11. You mean like Superman? No, they didn’t turn him into THAT kind of invincible action hero, but in sits in a helicopter in one scene and explains that he took flight lessons to lose his fear.

  12. *HE sits in a helicopter

  13. And yeah, it’s going to be a 12A. Goody! They may as well call it A Good Day To Down Load.

  14. CJ, I was just making a superhero gag about the new one, but I worded it wrong (should have said ‘the new one’ instead of ‘this one’). At this point, I wouldn’t be too surprised if they gave him web slingers at least.

  15. It was never that McClane CAN’T fly. He’s shown enduring a ride on some kind of aircraft with a minimum of complaints in every single DIE HARD film. Hell, his character is introduced on a coast-to-coast flight from New York in the first one. He just doesn’t ENJOY flying. But he’s not some pussy like Indiana Jones who’s gonna let an irrational phobia caused by some long-ago childhood incident dictate his options as a grown-ass man. If saving the day means getting on a fucking helicopter, that’s what John McClane is gonna fucking do. That’s what makes him that guy.

  16. Also, I may have to let off a little rant here. It’s not directed at anyone specific, just me letting off steam.

    I’m a little tired of this notion that McClane used to be an “everyman” character and that the sequels have somehow tarnished this legacy by turning him into a more standard action hero. I call bullshit. McClane was never an everyman. When’s the last time any of us, everymen one and all (Mouth excepted), killed a dozen people in a single night? When’s the last time you leapt from the roof of a skyscraper with a firehose loosely tied around your waist, pulled broken glass from your feet and kept fighting, knew how to rig up C4, dangled from an elevator shaft by the very tips of your fingers, or quick-drew your pistol with a bullet in your shoulder and hit a guy dead center in the forehead with a single shot? I’m betting never. And you know why? Because you’re not a motherfucking badass. You are an everyman. Everymen cannot do those things. It would be absurd.

    John McClane is not an everyman. He’s a New York City police detective. He has weapons training, hand-to-hand experience, survival instincts, and an eye for trouble that an everyman does not. All of this exists in the first one, in which it is made clear that, even among other cops, he’s an exceptional case. And as the series continues, he keeps getting into these crazy adventures and surviving, which only broadens his skill set and emboldens him to be even more daring and heroic in the future. It would be disingenuous of him to claim that he’s just a normal guy doing his job when it’s clear that he’s a motherfucking warrior, born and raised. He might bitch and moan a little more than Sly, he might bleed more than Arnold, but that doesn’t make him average. Make no mistake, he’s a guy who can do things normal people can’t. That’s why we watch him, not because he’s just like us. If we were in DIE HARD, we’d have stopped to grab some shoes because we’d be afraid of hurting our widdle feet, and we’d have been taken hostage like everyone else.

    So be glad that McClane is, will be, and always was a badder motherfucker than your garden-variety everyman. There’d be no DIE HARD series otherwise.

  17. Here’s my counter argument:

    I get what you’re saying, Majestyk, but… you know, c’mon.

  18. Yes. YES! Thank’s Mr. M. Exactly what I think about the sequels, even down to the whole roof jump/window smash scene from the first movie. The notion that first movie wasn’t over the top is pretty ridiculous when you consider the thing’s McClane and the villains do. Hans is basically just trying to rob a vault, but he’s willing to blow up an entire building and murder dozens of people to cover his tracks? McClane can take down multiple younger, better conditioned, better trained expert mercenaries, even with increasing injuries?

  19. Cutting 15 certificate films to get a 12A UK cinema rating seems to becoming a worrying trend.

    Is this all TAKEN 2’s fault? Probably not, but I’m blaming that dull waste of 80 minutes, anyway.

  20. In fact, I’d argue it’s a bit weird how McClane isn’t a more well known figure for his experiences. DIE HARD 2 established that he’s well known from the first movie’s incident from this bit of recognition from Col. Stuart:
    “Oh, McClane. John McClane. The policeman hero who saved the Nakatomi hostages. I read about you in People Magazine. You seemed a bit out of your league on Nightline, I thought. ”
    So that, coupled with him resolved the Dulles Airport thing with the help of a NEWS CREW should have made him more of a media sensation. In fact, I expect that there’s probably Die Hard movies WITHIN the Die Hard universe. At the very least, TV Movies that changed events enough so they wouldn’t have to get his permission to do them. I wonder who played him and Hans?

  21. Perhaps in one of the sequels we get to see that scumbag Thornberg perhaps wrote a book about the Nakatomi and the Dullas airport events and the unevitable movie adaptation we´re being shown is actual footage from DIE HARD 1 and 2 and McClane being angry of how unrealistic the movies are compared to his own experience. Because he is just another everyman and not a godamn superhero?

  22. I think part of the enjoyment of watching the first Die Hard is seeing this New York police detective being forced into this larger-than-life situation and, despite the immense odds against him, pulling off a miracle and saving the day. There’s kind of a transformation taking place; a cocky cop being turned into an Erroll Flynn action hero because of the insane circumstances and his ability to think on his feet and outsmart his enemies.

    Even though McClane really is an action god, there’s still the illusion that he’s just a regular cop. Hell, he himself probably didn’t even know what he was capable of. That illusion is part of the first film’s charm and clearly doesn’t exist anymore by the time we get to Die Hard 4. Now, you could argue that it shouldn’t because he is by now an older and established badass, but it still doesn’t mean that I enjoy watching him be an unstoppable force of nature. I just prefer seeing McClane panicked and scared shitless.

    But hey, most sequels are by their very nature forced and unnecessary, and the Die Hards are no exception. I’m still gonna watch John Moore’s Die Hard, despite the fact that it is a Die Hard movie directed by John Moore.

  23. Thank you, Mr. M. I thought I was going to have to say it. Again.

    Stu, I would love to see the DIE HARDs within DIE HARD. I’m going to say it’s still Bruce Willis and McClane hates that douchebag actor. See, because that would be ironic.

  24. “I wonder who played him and Hans?”

    Stu – Hans was played by William Hurt, and Willis was played by Stallone.

    Actually the fame thing, I could see the events of part 4 being covered up by the Feds and you know what? I could see Willis’ character asking them to do that because after part 3 when a guy was pissed (well sorta) that his brother got dropped off a building in DH1 and knew because of the media…Willis wasn’t up to fighting their brothers/sisters/dads/uncles/cousins’ roommates. (ah thank you SPACEBALLS.)

    Part 3, would Willis have been known for that? For some reason I doubt it, but then again the original ending had Willis get the blame for the cops failing to stop Irons.

  25. This conversation reminds me of how I heard in the Forrest Gump sequel (the book), the movie Forrest Gump does exist and is a big hit and Forrest the character of course meets Tom Hanks. If there was a Die Hard movie in the Die Hard universe, an extra-smarmy Bruce Willis would be the only choice to play John McClane.

    And I agree that he probably got no credit for the events of 3, since the main threat (the bomb in the school) turned out to be a hoax and most of the world was unaware there was even a heist going on.

    I’m actually looking forward to Die Hard 5 even though my expectations are low. The brief glimpses of Willis in the commercials look like he’s chattier and looser than in anything since part 1, which is a good thing in my book.

  26. I was surprised that in Part 4 when Ollyphant is looking up details on McClane so he can fuck with him, he apparently doesn’t find any mention of the Nakatomi incident at least.

  27. Mr M: I think you’re misinterpreting what people mean when they say John McClane is an “everyman”. The John McClane of DIE HARD THE FIRST is a badass who does incredible things, but it’s always made clear that he gets out these situations by the skin of his teeth and always thanks to his ability to take a beating and pure, dumb luck. Even HE can’t believe he pulls that shit off. It’s that attitude that makes him an “everyman”.

    I mean, I can’t do any of the shit John McClane does in that movie (most likely I would be curled into the fetal position, crying like a baby) but when he desperately ties that fire hose around his waist and jumps off a building, having no idea whether he’s going to pull it off, I’m right there with him. He not one of the John Matrices of the world, swaggering around with superhuman strength. He doesn’t have a Seagalian Power of Invincibility. He’s relatable. That quality gets a little lost as the series progresses, pretty much by necessity.

    That said I thought DIE HARD VS RAYLAN GIVENS was pretty good and I’ll watch DIE HARD: MISSION TO MOSCOW too, though I might wait for DVD.

  28. Maybe the CGI is the problem with this realism issue then. (Apologies to Franchise Fred for dwelling on a subject he expressed an opinion on once and then thought he might have to reiterate. Again. Did I inadvertantly bring up a subject that’s already been discussed to death? Apologies, I missed the debate)

    I can buy McClane killing twelve people in a night, jumping off the roof of a building, even fighting on the wing of a plane, because it’s filmed in a way that creates the illusion of reality even though it’s unfeasible in reality. Live Free Or Die Hard had the ropey CGI though that allows McClane to duck from exploding taxis at just the right millisecond with his enhanced hummingbird reactions and to jump from a lorry to a plane to a bridge and generally bounce around the screen like Sonic The Hedgehog and it breaks the illusion to me and takes me right out of the scene. It’s a bit different to picking glass out of his feet. He may as well be wearing the Iron Man costume, hence the joke I made. If the McClane of Die Hard 4.0 fell from the roof of the Nakatomi building, Len Wiseman would probably just have him stand up and then jump back up to the top. Or climb up the side, like Robocop 2 does when it chased Robocop up the lift (elevator) shaft.

    I think bad CGI is the pits, worse even than the shakycam that everyone hates when it comes to action scenes. Not just action either. Dialogue scenes between characters in cars should be banned from CG backgrounds.

    But it doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll end up checking out the new one in all it’s PG/12A rated glory. To answer Karlos, they’ve been pulling this shit in the UK for years. Funnily enough, I saw Die Hard 2 in the cinema in my early teens and remember thinking, “Wow, they’re really pushing the word ‘freaking’ as a swearword alternative in this one. It wasn’t until it came out in widescreen on video that we got the language (and the icicle in the eye, and the throat getting cut, etc).

  29. Crusty: I can see where you’re coming from, but to me, it seems reasonable that a man who’s been through what McClane has been through would get a little cocky about it. I agree that DIE HARD 1 is easily the best, and a large part of that is because Bruce plays McClane so frantic and desperate. We’re really there with him because his emotions are so close to the surface.

    Where we differ is that I like seeing the transformation the character goes through over the course of the sequels as he comes to terms with his lot in life, which is that every few years everything around him will explode and he will miraculously be the last man standing. I really loved the “That’s why you’re that guy” speech in the much maligned LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD because it shows the toll being a badass motherfucker has taken on his life. I mean, it’s absurd that the same shit happens to the same guy five times, but I’m glad they show how it’s changed him. In the second one, he’s confident. He’s done this before. In the third, he’s humbled. Sure, he saved the day, but what have you done for me lately? Past glories do not sustain. The fourth, he’s downright disillusioned. Being a hero has gotten him nowhere, and he just wants to wait out the clock until retirement. From the trailer for the fifth one, it looks like he’s back to being cocky again. And why shouldn’t he? He gets to kick ass with his son. It’s the first time he gets to share what he does best with a loved one without it being a hostage situation. Finally, there might be some balance in the violent world of John McClane, world’s luckiest jinx.

  30. Mr M

    ‘…every few years everything around him will explode…’

    Brilliant.

  31. I just saw the German poster for the new DIE HARD for the first time. It has the (in my opinion) hilarious tagline “Father, son and holy shit!” (“Vater, Sohn udd heilige Scheiße”)

  32. CJ, you are correct. That tagline is hilarious, and also excellent.

  33. I´ll be watching DIE HARD 5 in the afternoon tomorrow. I am really excited about it. I promised myself not to get angry about any movies anymore and just watch the movie and hope its a good ride. Even if it had been a PG-13 DIE HARD that would not hinder my expectations. Stay positive is my new motto. Let´s see if it survives after the show.

  34. I’m seeing it tomorrow morning. One of the benefits of being recently mostly unemployed is that I can actually go see matinees, which in New York City only occur at a single theater chain (AMC) and only if the show starts before noon. I’ll be hitting the 10:45 showing at 34th Street. Kind of a weird time to see a big action movie, but it cuts the ticket price nearly in half ($7.00 instead of the NYC standard of $13.50) and I’ll beat the Valentine’s Day date crowd by several hours.

    I’m glad you’re excited, Shoot. So am I. Honestly, I haven’t been this pumped for a movie since, what? THE AVENGERS? I can’t wait. A new John McClane adventure? Better than Christmas.

  35. Have you guys seen this? (I promise it is safe for work and DIE HARD related)

    http://badassdigest.com/2013/02/12/japan-gets-bizarre-chocolate-bruce-willis-for-die-hard-promo/

    (SPOILERS) Notice in the second picture that chocolate John McClane is standing on a skateboard so they can wheel him around. I hope one day somebody makes a statue of me out of consumable materials and then that statue gets to go skateboarding.

  36. Since we are 7 hours ahead of New York over here and I will be watching it at 1500 hours. That mean it will be about 8 o´clock in the morning in NY. So, technically, I will be first. I also chose to sit on the first row for some reason.i guess I just want to be close to Bruce Willis.

  37. Also, sorry to hear that you are mostly unemployed, Majestyk. But there is a silver lining in everything. And I think this is one of those

  38. I could have seen it 2 hours ago and tell you by know if its good, but I decided to stay home.

  39. CJ- the tagline in Sweden is “Like father,like son,like hell”. Not quite as ingenious as the german, agreed?

  40. It’s not a bad tagline either, but really not as good as the German one.

  41. Shoot: Being unemployed is awesome. I’d been at the same job for ten years, and while it was a sexy-sounding gig that let me interview rappers and print the occasional five-star review of one of Vern’s books, I was pretty goddamn sick of it. Now while looking for steady work, I’m PAing and freelancing and collecting unemployment, which gives me plenty of time to do what I really want to do, which is be a total New York stereotype by sitting in coffeeshops all day working on my novel. It’s the best. I’ll remember these days for the rest of my life.

  42. I remember being unemployed for about 3 years ( 2001-2004), all I did was playing videogames and watching movies.It was a glorious time that I will never forget.

  43. Arrrrggghhh, me maties! There be storm clouds loomin’ on the horizon:
    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a_good_day_to_die_hard/
    As I was totally jacked & ready to see this tonight on an IMAX screen… I am now officially in denial.

    Mr. Majestyk wrote “Better than Christmas”, and that’s fuckin’-A right… but now we are faced with the possibility that maybe Santa’s not coming. Bummer.

  44. I don´t wanna read negative shit,especially not when I have come to accept DIE HARD 4 as kind of a great movie. I trust my own instincts on this one. I know what I like and that is good for me.

  45. Who the fuck cares? Most of the movies I like get shitty reviews, especially action movies. An action movie starts getting good reviews, that’s when I get worried.

  46. The way I feel now,I might be watching DIE HARD 5 with quite the hangover. An Hallenbecksian point of view I might have. With or without a dead squirrel.

  47. No need to get snippy. But for comparison’s sake:
    Live Free Or Die Hard: 81% positive; 206 reviews total.
    A Good Day To Die Hard: 8% positive; 25 reviews thus far.
    See?… that’s not a minor disparity, it’s a fucking chasm, and that concerns me.

    Do as you will.

  48. If you point more statistics my way, I´ll shove an umbrella up your ass and open it.No offense.

  49. Fuck rottentomatoes.com! I don’t mean to be rude, but who uses RT as an accurate barometer to gauge whether a film is going to be good or not? It is especially bad when it comes to genre films. It feels like a website designed for people who can’t think for themselves and need someone to tell them what films to watch and why. I am not saying DH5 is going to be good, but I don’t put any stock in what RT has to say about the film.

  50. Larry, your example is ridiculous. Even if I put any value in the review stats from RT, 25 people is way too small of a sample size to get an accurate projection from.

  51. Shoot—
    Die Hard: 94% positive; 53 reviews total.
    Die Hard 2: 67% positive; 48 reviews total.
    Die Hard 3: 52% positive; 46 reviews total.

    That’s why I think the 8% positive for DH5 is a sign of it being on shaky ground. It’s nowhere close to anything that’s preceded it.

    I don’t take what RT has to offer as being written in stone, but it has proven useful on many an occasion.

  52. I’d never use RT as a measure of whether a film is “good” or not (especially not from a sample size of N=25) but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check it out for any films I’m interested in. It’s like a long-term weather forecast… highly inaccurate and occasionally disastrously wrong, but can sometimes give you a rough idea of what to expect. For instance, if it’s below ten percent then it’s probably hilarious. Unless it’s a comedy.

  53. I saw it last night. I’m torn as to whether to say anything. I think I’m gonna take the Star Trek approach and not interfere. But I’ll try to have my review up tonight.

  54. According to Starfleet regulations, the Prime Directive can be overriden by the Omega Directive if a highly unstable Omega Particle (or DIE HARD movie) threatens to destroy the entire galaxy (or DIE HARD franchise). In such a case, the Omega Particle must be destroyed regardless of it’s impact on primitive civilisation. But I respect your decision.

  55. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Bruce. Regards

  56. I want to be positive about this stupid prequil business. Len Wiseman is a hack when it comes to scripts but you will be able to tell what you are seeing during the action scenes unlike whatever the fuck was going on during 5. So yeah.

  57. I don’t think there is anything to be positive about. I would be less apprehensive if they were just making another uninspired sequel, but by making a prequel the run the risk of undercutting what makes McClane and his actions in the original DH so heroic and special. Also, no body wants to see a young John McClane with a full head of hair that would just be weird.

  58. I’ve been hearing for the past quarter-century about how every DIE HARD sequel is going to ruin what made the original special, yet every single time, there it remains, the exact same movie, completely unruined, still loved and admired by all. I almost hope this new one succeeds just so I don’t have to hear about it anymore.

    Do whatever you want, Bruce. You don’t owe me or anybody else jack shit.

  59. It does seem like it would be weird for him to have had another crazy adventure early in life and never mention it again. I mean, will they have to change the line in DIE HARD II to “”How can the same shit happen to the same guy three times!? But maybe he gets his memory erased at the end of the prequel or something.

  60. When I first read Len Wiseman was doing a new one I had a little excitement, because he’ll do good action scenes. But reading the description of it it just sounds so wrong-headed. I suspect the “prequel” elements will be a smaller part of the movie than we’re imagining, that it will be some flashbacks to an old case that will be related to whatever is happening to McClane now. But it still seems pretty clueless because you gotta assume they’re looking at STAR TREK and X-MEN and how they were able to continue those series by casting younger versions of the characters. Since DIE HARD does not involve time travel or a long history of pre-DIE HARD adventures there is just no reasonable way to use that for new installments.

    It’s a misguided way to show respect to the institution of DIE HARD, but it’s also an attack on the proud tradition of DIE HARD ripoffs. Nobody wants to see somebody else playing John McClane. So just pick that somebody and have them play Ron DeWayne in this generation’s UNDER SIEGE/SUDDEN DEATH/12 ROUNDS.

  61. Mr. S: Of course it’s weird. It makes no sense. Neither did the comic book they stole this whole idea from. But who cares? This is not a secret truth that has finally been uncovered lo these many years later to change everything we thought we knew about DIE HARD. (“Everybody knows that John McClane was just an everyman on the wrong place at the wrong time. What my movie presupposes is…what if he wasn’t?”) It’s some goofy shit some desperate screenwriters made up so Fox could put more brand-name explosions on the screen. It doesn’t change anything. It might just give us a fun time at the movies, though.

  62. Mr. M, I agree with you when it comes to the sequels and at the end of the day nothing can tarnish the original DH it is that good. However, the point of the original DH is that McClane is not yet the hero super cop he becomes during the course of that film. All the squeals play with the idea of these crazy events once again happening to the same heroic cop and him repeatedly finding himself in similar situations where he must save the day. I could argue that formula is weekend with each additional sequel, because with each successful adventure McClane moves further away from the working class every man that rises to the occasion when the shit hits the fan as he is portrayed in the original DH and continues to morph into a larger than life almost super human action hero that can overcome any situation or odds. Recycling that formula in no way takes away from how good the original DH is, but if they make a prequel where McClane does some badass heroic shit that takes place before the original DH they are undercutting the foundation of what makes McClane such a special character in the first film. You are right at the end of the day the prequel could be a total embarrassment and it would not detract from my enjoyment of the original DH, but they don’t need to try so hard to potentially ruin or uncut fundamental aspects of the McClane character as he is presented in the first film.

    It would be like if they made prequels to the original STAR WARS films and in those prequels Darth Vader was revealed to be a whiny little boy and a moody teenager in his youth, it would not ruin the original films or the character of Darth Vader and how he is portrayed in the original films, but it drastically alters the way audiences look at the character going forward.

  63. Not hating TERMINATOR: GENYSIS has really mellowed me out, you guys. You should try it.

  64. I will only support this if they cast JGL as young McClane and make it a LOOPER tie-in.

  65. Vern, it is my understanding that Bruce will just appear in bookends to set up the flashback that is the movie. Kind of how Harrison Ford showed up as Indiana Jones in that episode of the adventures of young Indiana Jones TV show.

  66. The search for Young McClane begins…

  67. Broddie, they should get Vin Diesel to be young McClane and the subplot to the film could be about his future wife Holly helping him to overcome his steroid addiction.

  68. Crushinator Jones

    October 16th, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Vin Diesel doesn’t use steroids, he runs on adrenaline. Everyone knows that.

    Also, hey, this is an incredibly bad idea. If it produces a good movie well, then, kudos to them But it seems like a really bad foundation to start a film. Like building your castle on a swamp.

  69. The Original Paul

    October 16th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    There’s a DIE HARD prequel planned?

    It looks like I’m gonna have to change my definition of Movie Hell from “Endless Die Hard sequels” to “Endless Die Hard sequels / prequels”.

    Still haven’t seen the last one yet either. Eventually I know I’m gonna have to cross that bridge… but not quite yet. Nope, not yet.

    Reading back over the old comments here, some of them seem eerily prophetic. And I like the idea of McClane’s fame making him the subject of straight-to-DVD DIE HARD movies within the DIE HARD universe. I think we’ve already had the DTV version of Hans Gruber though (he was played by Jeremy Irons).

  70. I tried not hating TERMINATOR: GENISYS, but I just couldn’t do it. Just like I could never figure out how to do those optical illusion things where you’re supposed to stare at it a certain way and it becomes 3D.

  71. The Original Paul

    October 16th, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    Ok, somebody has to do it…

    “It’s a SAILBOAT!!!”

    (Is it in poor taste to quote Kevin Smith-isms in the DIE HARD 4 thread? If so, I apologise.)

    Vern – if you want to not hate GENISYS, my recommendation is to immediately precede it by watching a movie that’s so awful, so wretchedly bad, so dire on every level, that in comparison it makes GENISYS look like… either of the first two TERMINATOR movies. Worked a treat for me. Bonus: you may also end up writing a three-page diatribe on why you don’t like Clint Eastwood any more. So that’ll get your creative energies flowing as well.

  72. McClane’s nascent superherodom might be lessened by the movie most likely not being as huge a production as the last few, both because the fifth one didn’t make as much money as the others and because it won’t have its signature star in the lead. I wonder if he wasn’t willing to do a sixth one for what they were offering (which seems like a very Walter B. thing to do) so they compromised on this partial involvement. Ironically, this might finally be the smaller-scale, DIE HARD 1-style DIE HARD movie everybody who’s most pissed at this idea has always been asking for. And since it doesn’t preclude Bruce coming back for VII or VIII or IX or X—hopefully when he’s at a place in his life when he’s more engaged with his craft in general—it might just be the palate cleanser the series needs to get back to basics.

    I’m trying to stay positive about it. I’ve seen horror franchises I love go through weirder shit than this and bounce back. And if they don’t, well, I already got those movies I love. Nobody ever said I was entitled to more.

    I’ll admit that this is a low point for DIE HARD. But it’ll survive. Perishing easily is not really its thing.

  73. I mean, what if this is the TOKYO DRIFT of the Diehardiverse, you guys? What if it was that?

  74. Given that Frank Sinatra already played an earlier version of Bruce’s character in DIE HARD 0, a.k.a. THE DETECTIVE, the obvious solution is to add in flashbacks of a more youthful singin’, dancin’, and sailin’ John McClane using repurposed footage from ANCHORS AWEIGH and ON THE TOWN and a smidgeon of CGI magic!

  75. It would be funny if they tried to retroactively justify the inconsistencies between (in particular) the last two films and the first, like he gets superpowers in 1979 but wouldn’t be able to use them for 20 years or some shit.

  76. Majestyk, Tokyo Drift took place in the future. Die Hard 6 would have to be the Fast Five of the series.

  77. The Original Paul

    October 17th, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Well personally I’m still rooting for DIE HARD on the moon.

  78. I could perhaps get behind the prequel idea if it was sort of like the Russell Crowe portion of AMERICAN GANGSTER, y’know, the solid ’70s vibe, the police work, good cops clashing with the corrupt system, that sort of stuff, only with McClane instead of Richie Roberts.

    The problem is that a) they’d never make anything remotely like that and b) there’s nobody around at the moment who actually resembles young Bruce, (unless you count Rumer or his other daughters) so even IF they made that movie, it wouldn’t feel like a young McClane living through it.

  79. Paul, I think you are on to something because at this point I feel like Bruce has already made a film that could be be seen an extension of the McClane persona and works as a fitting conclusion to the DIE HARD franchise……….ARMAGEDDON.

  80. The Original Paul

    October 17th, 2015 at 7:20 am

    Charles – that is so wrong, and yet so right.

  81. Didn’t someone here say they wrote a sequel set on the moon?

  82. My idea for a sequel would be that it’s McClane versus Hans Gruber’s son. For some reason Michael C. Hall would be my first casting choice.

  83. The Original Paul

    October 18th, 2015 at 9:13 am

    OnTheWall – I like the casting choice… I definitely think MCH could play a great DIE HARD villain.

    But they’ve already tried to do “Hans Gruber’s relative” before, and it was one of the few things about DIE HARD 3 that, for me at least, absolutely failed. Having got the most snide British guy to play Hans, they then brought in the second most snide British guy to play Simon. And it just came across as really lazy. It wasn’t that Jeremy Irons was bad, it was just that he was so much a poor imitation of Alan Rickman that there didn’t seem to be any reason for him to even be there. The best I can say about him is that he had a few good quotable lines.

    What I’m saying is that, if I have to choose between “yet another Gruber family member” and Matthew B’s suggestion of CGI’d-in Sinatra, I think I’d take the crooner!

  84. With a good enough script he could be a good antagonist to Bruce, doesn’t have to be a DH. I don’t think it would be too hard to go back to that particular well again (I actually like how it was done in 3).

  85. My DIE HARD 6 idea would be an ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13/THE RAID style take on the original DH formula. It’s about McClane celebrating his official retirement (It’s gonna be hinted throughout the movie that it wasn’t his idea) and the few people who still talk to him are there. (Daughter, son, Al Powell, maybe Justin Long and fuck it, even if I don’t think that they became big enough friends to ever hang out with each other, let’s say Zeus Fucking Carver too!) Unfortunately one of his last arrests, uhm, I mean kills before retirement, was a highly ranked crime syndicate member. And of course they are about to get revenge on him and turn the crappy apartment building where John lives into a warzone. Or actually John does that, after the first attempt fails.

  86. Vern’s idea that the flashbacks would be more interwoven makes sense, but given modern day Bruce’s affinity for showing up as little as possible, the two bookends soubds like a sweet deal he’d take. Throw in a producers credit and backend and he still gets a piece of Die Hard.

    Seems directors who can work within those restrictions still get great work. Rian Johnson blocks out scenes so Bruce can do maximum work in minimal time and he comes off great. But how many roles will work that way? Certainly no leads in a movie.

    But prequels are the mortal enemy of Franchise Fred. Wiseman did do my favorite sequel but he also did Total Remake so not sure which is the Wiseman we’ll be getting.

  87. I wonder if this prequel business means the previous rumor that Fox was only considering DIE HARD pitches that brought back Zeus Carver was false or fell through.

  88. I’ll admit I’m an asshole because I unfairly dismissed this back in the day, due to the studio chopping the hard out of DIE HARD (4.0). Gave it a watch last night (the castrated version on bluray…I thought I had the uncut one but I couldn’t find it on the shelf.) It’s a solid entry. Great action for a director I’ve also (fairly, because of those stupid Underworld cartoons) dismissed. The truck/fighter plane scene where McClane jumps on to the pilot-less jet then on to the collapsing freeway was a good call back to the ridiculousness of the ejector seat in DIE HARDER.

    Got the impression from Willis’ performance that he wasn’t too comfortable being paired up with Long (who I usually like), but their chemistry seemed a bit awkward. But it fits the character, “an analogue guy in a digital age”, so maybe I’m just not giving Willis enough credit for being a great actor.

    I read some of the now famous talkbacks with Walter B. If I read right, he said he thought 4.0 was going to be better than/or as good as DIE HARD?? wtf. I liked it more than 2, but that seems like a little bit too much over-confidence.

    Still, great entry, hasn’t changed my love for the series. Will try and track down the uncut version so I can get/stay/die hard.

  89. Len Wiseman is the most underrated action director. I wish he could team up with a good writer to match his skills as a director. The Hawaii 5.0 pilot has some amazing action scenes.

  90. The action for Wiseman’s TOTAL RECALL is actually pretty solid. Wasted in a mostly pointless/forgettable movie.

  91. I’ve never liked UNDERWORLD the first was so bad I quit while I was ahead. Never saw the “uncut” version either but I did see and enjoy the theatrical cut. It’s no DIE HARD NEW YORK but it’s about as good as DIE HARD MIDWEST could get with a 21st century action director at the helm. Definitely leagues ahead of DIE HARD RUSSIA which is the only awful entry in the series and made me appreciate Mr. Bosworth’s effort even more. So I don’t mind that Wiseman will return for DIE HARD 6: THE PREQUEL.

  92. I think the TV he has done has made him a stronger director.

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