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How To Get Die Hard Back on Track

Image Copyright 20th Century Fox

I love the Die Hard movies, even after all these years. I had doubts about the resurrection of the franchise but impressed at the direction the series took. John McClane appeared truly out of his depth, taking on Timothy Olyphant as a ruthless cyber-criminal (in Live Free or Die Hard).

But this last outing left me cold, with a perpetual sense of 'meh'.

I couldn't understand this, considering the movie followed the Die Hard formula to the letter. Good characters with tough guy banter, one-liners and plenty of combustible items. Some of the action sequences (car chase) felt a little stale but watching Bruce Willis and Jai Courtney go hurtling through windows made up for it. That climax was pretty good, too.

So why, after two outings, was this film so completely mediocre?
Oh, that's it; the thrill is gone.
No matter what situation you put John McClane in, no matter how insane or implausible it is, you know he's gonna survive. That's what he does. That's why it's called "Die Hard".

Seriously, when was the last time you worried that John McClane wasn't gonna make it? For me it was right about the time the boat blew up at the end of With A Vengeance.

The franchise still does plenty of things right, and with a sixth film all but guaranteed at this point, how does Twentieth Century Fox keep the series from spiraling into the Direct-to-Home-Market bin?

1). Change Up The Villain.
John McClane (and family) have faced mercenaries, drug lords, and cyber-criminals and high-class terrorists excuse me, thieves. You know what he's never faced? An enemy whose sole objective was to take him out. (Jeremy Irons doesn't count. McClane was, and I quote, a "little bonus".)
John McClane must've pissed off legions of bad guys by now; what if it wasn't about money, or making a statement, or any of that nonsense? What if the sole objective of this individual was the utter destruction of clan McClane?
And don't make this person gimmicky. Make this person some level-headed, multi-layered character who doesn't get flustered when their henchmen get stylishly knocked off. This character can't be surprised by anything McClane does because they've spent so long studying the man. Their only catch is that no price is too high to see him dead.

2). Drop Us Right In On The Action.
Every Die Hard opens the same; set up the villain, see McClane going about his usual, workaday life, something jumps off, things explode, and we're off to the races.
Don't do that this time. Drop us right into something going boom and McClane bloodied and flat on his back. It's Die Hard. We know what this is about. Get our hearts racing right after the title sequence.

3). Bring In The Whole Family.
Let me be clear. When I say bring in the whole family I mean, if at all possible, BRING BACK BONNIE BEDELIA. Pay her whatever she wants. Just get her back in.
And then treat her character right. After all these years, Holly Gennaro should be, at the least, a senior VP of some major corporation. Her life should be about as far removed from the McClane maelstrom as possible, although of course, she's still in touch with Lucy (and Jack, on a lesser note).
She should be targeted only to have son and ex-husband save her at the last moment. Something of a "Hi, honey." quip would be apropos.

This would be both an action film in the same vein of the resurgent action films that began with the Expendables, and at the same time a tribute to the history this franchise has set up.

They do these things and more, and I'll be first in line for the next Die Hard.

By the way. If they happen to do this, remember you read it here first.

Thanks for reading.


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