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Yippie Kay Yay, Another Die Hard

“Don’t ruin my movie!!!!!!”

John McClane is bringing his non-dying back to the big screen Valentines Day Weekend 2013.

While this should be exciting to Die Hard fans like myself, the news surrounding A Good Day to Die Hard doesn’t exactly point to it as anything more than another shameful abuse of a classic franchise.

Another Die Hard was inevitable after Live Free or Die Hard grossed more than $384 million. There was even serious talk of a Die Hard/24 cross-over movie with John McClane and Jack Bauer teaming up to not die. Seriously.

But now Fox and star/Executive Producer Bruce Willis have a screenplay (with a non-Bauer storyline) and for some reason signed John Moore to direct.

Moore is no stranger to stunt flicks, already giving us gems such as Max Payne, Behind Enemy Lines, and The Flight of the Phoenix. Unfortunately, Moore’s movies aren’t especially memorable, so that doesn’t exactly bode well for the McClane family.

Despite his sketchy resume, Moore allegedly won Willis over with his passion for the McClane character and his desire to tone down the CGI and keep it a stunt-laden movie. I just hope that means McClane won’t be launching cars into terrorist helicopters or out-running fighter-jets in a truck on the highway.

It’s so absurd, even Bruce can’t look

A Good Day to Die Hard plot details remain secret, but it’s known that John-boy will be taking his thieving-terrorist stopping show to Russia to save his son from some trouble. John McClane, all-American hero, and his son fighting in Russia.

(****For the record, in Russia, they refer to the Die Hard franchise as A Tough Nut To Crack.)

The screenplay was written by Skip Woods, and while I’ve liked his other films, (X-Men Origins:Wolverine, Hitman, Swordfish, The A-Team) they’re all known more for their stylish action than the stellar writing.

Hans, bubby…Alan Rickman is the white knight of the Die Hard baddies.

A Good Day to Die Hard should just return to what makes Die Hard special; you know, completely unlike Live Free or Die Hard.

Sure Live Free… was fun and killed at the box office, but the only thing Die Hard about it was the name on the box. When I see Die Hard roll in the opening credits, I expect to see an action movie about a relatable wise-cracking cop stuck in a claustrophobic situation taking on bad guys who disguise a major heist with terrorism. I don’t want to see a stone faced robot who can dodge missiles, hovering jets, and bullets with ease.

Much like Terminator: SalvationLive Free or Die Hard adds nothing to the mythology or cannon of the series, and would be a much better movie on its own without the franchise tag. Live Free… completely abandoned all that made the original movies unique and turned John McClane into a less-lame than Vin Diesel XXX.

Besides making McClane cliche, the biggest “mistake” made by Live Free or Die Hard was freeing McClane from a claustrophobic environment and letting him roam around the country like Carmen Sandiego. Now he’s heading to Russia, but I doubt Russian Totalitarianism is going to be a metaphor for a skyscraper. They are so going to mess this up for all of us.

So cool.

I still remember how mesmerized I was when my parents took me to see the sneak preview in 1988 (parents who take their 10 year old son to see a rated R movie is another story). I was the coolest kid in class for a couple days as I recalled the tale of guns, explosions, evil Germans, (and a quick flash of boobs!) to my friends at school. They couldn’t grasp the concept. We were raised on He-Man and Schwarzanegger, but John McClane was a normal guy who looked like my Dad.

How John McTienrnan saw an action hero in the quirky Bruce Willis, I’ll never know, but his comedic background gave him the timing to pull off the (previously) campy action one-liner better than anyone in the business. Willis also perfectly captured the fear and pain that John Every-man would face in these terrifying situations.

I wasn’t the only one influenced by the movie; so was all of Hollywood. After Die Hard came a load of “normal guy stuck in a claustrophobic situation with terrorist” rip-offs: Die Hard on a Boat (Under Siege), Die Hard on a Bus (Speed), Die Hard on a Train (Under Siege 2), Die Hard on a Plane (Exective Decision, Passenger 57), Die Hard on a Prisoner Plane (Con Air), Die Hard on the President’s Plane (Air Force One) Die Hard in an Arena (Sudden Death), et al.

Fortunately, Die Hard 2: Die Harder  (in an airport) is one of my favorite sequels ever, and Die Hard with a Vengeance (stuck in NYC) is close to supreme awesomeness in its own right.

Skip Woods and John Moore certainly have their work cut out for them. Especially if they want to keep the series afloat.

It’s been widely discussed that Fox is ready to take the franchise in a different direction, and the fact that they’re currently looking for a “star” to play the younger McClane shows they’re dreaming of spin-off/sequel dollars.

(****another note, Live Free… was supposed to feature McClane’s son, but somehow they decided it was better not to waste the lineage on Warren P Cheswick Justin Long.)

“Don’t look know, but there’s a silly plot contrivance around the corner.”

A Good Day to Die Hard will basically be a test run for whether or not Fox can hand the day-saving over to a younger McClane. Its much like how Jeremy Renner is testing for the reins to the Mission Impossible franchise, but hopefully won’t bomb like Spielberg/Lucas’ failed annointment of Shia Labeouf’s in Indiana Jones.

So who’s in talks for the role? Names like Paul Walker, Paul Dano, Aaron Paul, Ben Foster, Milo Vertamigalia, and even Tim Tebow have been floated. Unfortunately, Tim Tebow would rather save the world one Filipino circumcision at a time (“Yippie Kay Yay, Mother Nature”) and the others (with all due respect to Aaron Paul) can’t carry a tent-pole film on their own.

That leaves Paul Walker. Walker is an awesome choice if you really want your movie to suck. The only time Paul Walker is enjoyable on screen is on Expedition: Great White, and that’s only because he might get eaten by a shark. Now they’re going to use him to jump the shark.

Either way, I just have my fingers crossed that John Moore really is a fan of the films and will treat the material with that fan-boy touch it sorely needs.

Then I can stand up and cheer at the end like as a kid when McClane’s limo driver, Argyle, sent me out of the theater with “If this is their idea of Christmas, I gotta be here for New Years.”

(***Note to Fox, PLEASE make A Good Day to Die Hard take place on New Years.)

But if they ruin this movie, I’m coming up with a Simon Gruber-style revenge plot to bring down the entire studio. Ok, now I’m excited.

Yippie Kay Yay, I’m in.

“Hey McClane, they going to let you have hair in this one?”

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2 Comments

  1. Did I read correctly that you thought “Swordfish” was a good film? It only got one star, and that was strictly for the Halle Berry topless scene!

    • Big difference between a “good” movie and an “enjoyable” one. Swordfish was enjoyable, for sure, but certainly not making any top 10 lists…though I do love the Halle scene, as well as the one where Travolta forces Jackman to work while coppin a BJ.

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