Fans of Die Hard should be ironing their sweaty t-shirts and kicking their shoes off making fists with their toes in anticipation of the return of their hero – John McClane is coming back.
If you didn’t know already, the fifth Die Hard film starring Bruce Willis title A Good Day To Die Hard is now shooting and scheduled for release early next year. Bruce Willis is naturally back. Let’s face it, you can’t make a Die Hard film without him. This time Willis’ cop hero teams up with his son Jack McClane to battle bad guys in Russia. The film is being directed by John Moore.
Ok, so if you are at all a regular reader here you know I’m a big Die Hard fan. I wrote a longwinded blog about the entire series years ago and my thoughts on all the films, including my initial reaction about the announcement of Die Hard 5 here.
One of the best summer movie experiences I ever had was sitting in a dark theater in July 1988 watching the original film. Beforehand my friends and I just thought it would be kind of fun to watch the cool guy from Moonlighting in a movie carrying a gun. By the time the film ended we were all blown away after having just watched one of the greatest action films of all time.
So now we’re up to film five. When I first heard rumors about it I admit I was excited. I’m always game for the return of McClane no matter how much I have to suspend my disbelief to accept the premise. But now after shooting has commenced and news coming from the production I’m getting some red flags about this Die Hard and am getting a bad feeling about it.
Again, McClane will be teamed with a partner as they take out bad guys. He’s mainly done this in Die Hard With a Vengeance (Samuel L. Jackson) and Live Free or Die Hard (Justin Long). However, both those characters were not action heroes and were generally panicked passengers along for the ride. Jackson got into the action a bit towards the end, but it was McClane who handled most of the thrilling duties.
Here it seems like it’s going to be more of an action team with McClane and his son. Jack McClane is being played by Jai Courtney and apparently he’s going to be in the same action mold as his dad. Plus, there are rumors that Mary Elizabeth Winstead will make a return appearance as daughter Lucy Gennaro McClane – but I’m guessing that’s going to be a quick two-minute cameo.
Fighting terrorists will be something son Jack handles on a regular basis. According to director Moore “coming face-to-face with international terrorists and bad guys who stay up late at night coming up with clever stuff, is very much a career choice for Jack McClane”.
Is Jack some kind of government agent or something? I’m thinking that might be the case since Moore also described the film as being for “people who get a kick out of the Bourne movies”.
I always get nervous when filmmakers reference other movies when describing their own….it just makes me feel uneasy and it feels they’re grasping at other popular products to sell theirs. Usually after seeing the film and recalling these comparisons that are made during promotions they never match up anyway.
Plus, since when are the Die Hard films like the Bourne movies? I get that McClane is going overseas, but does that mean he has to deal with spies and intrigue?
And I’m worried that his son will get equal action time when I really just want to see his Dad do it all. I don’t want to see Willis get eclipsed by a younger actor who’s there to attract the young demographic to see the movie. No matter how much older he is I’m watching a Die Hard movie for John McClane.
The series has taken a real downturn of the talent behind the camera. A lot of credit for the quality of the first film has to goto director John McTiernan. He, along with the other artists, crafted a beautiful, exciting film in an office building. Renny Harlin I thought did a decent job with the action sequences and widened the scope in Die Hard 2. McTiernan returned for Vengeance and utilized the setting of New York City effectively.
Then we got Live Free or Die Hard directed by Len Wisemen, best known for some of those Underworld films and this years Total Recall. There were a few fun scenes, but nothing on the level of McTiernan’s Die Hard work.
Now we get John Moore whose directing credits include Max Payne, the remakes of The Omen and I think one of the worst remakes ever Flight of the Phoenix. Whoa. I had some things to say about that one.
I thought I was worried when Wiseman was announced as director of number four, but that’s nothing compared to how I’m feeling about Moore at the helm of this.
Despite Moore describing this film as having a huge scale….that statement doesn’t impress me. The film could have this great worldwide, international scope and still suck if not done right. Just because something is big doesn’t mean it will be any good.
He describes having “very big toys” in it. The biggest helicopter in the world, a battalion of tanks, having planes flown in from all over the world, a car chase through Moscow that is taking seventy-eight days to film and a climax that takes place at Chernobyl.
But all that means squat if the guy can’t use it to craft effective sequences that tell an engaging story. You can throw all the toys onscreen you want it still won’t necessarily create an exciting action film. The first film managed to do that by just using an elevator shaft, guns and some bombs.
Nothing – absolutely nothing – on Moore’s resume has given me any confidence he has the talent to make a decent Die Hard film.
Another thing that has concerned fans is what the rating will be for this fifth installment. Most Die Hard fans want to see an R-rated McClane adventure. This was a sore spot in the PG-13 rated Live Free or Die Hard. A softer, less violent McClane escapade won’t be that welcomed by Hard-ites (is that how we should refer to Die Hard fans?). No one wants to see McClane utter “Yippee Kay Yay…..Mister!”.
As of now there has been no news on what the film will be rated.
Willis has said he wants to end the series with a sixth and final entry. If A Good Day To Die Hard is a major disappointment than maybe he should just stop here. But maybe I should just try to have a little more optimism here. I guess I should at least wait to jump to conclusions until I see some footage.
The film is set for release February 14, 2013. Which is another thing that worries me, February is usually a dumping ground for movies that the studio didn’t feel confident releasing in the fall and want to clear out before summer hits. A Die Hard film should be more of a big summer event, not a flick that will compete with bad romantic comedies on Valentine’s Day.
So, any Die Hard fans have any thoughts about this….