There are a ton of reasons that Die Hard became the action classic that it did, but the main reason Bruce Willis' John McClane endured as a movie icon has nothing to do with the violence of the film or the scale of John McTiernan's shootouts: it was his personality. He was a fish out of water -- a New York cop in trendy California suddenly faced with taking out a building full of terrorists. He got through it with a pissed-off sense of humor, not throwaway one-liners, but actual jokes and quips that rounded out exactly who this guy was.
A Good Day to Die Hard, aka Die Hard 5, won't have many of those, apparently. Director John Moore (Max Payne) tells Empire he doesn't think people want to see that side of McClane anymore.
No, because that’s preposterous! I don’t know whether it’s post-financial crash or whatever, but I don’t think people are in the mood for that bollocks anymore. People are well savvy to the cynical reheating of any product, any franchise. Any sh*t won’t do. The bar’s a bit higher.
Say what you will about Die Hard 2 not being as good as the first film, but at least John McClane was still the same John McClane from the first film. He was still talking trash to the terrorists. He was still pissing off the dumber cops around him. He even jokes about how can the same thing happen to the same guy twice, and it all just further made us love that bitter, bald(ing) badass. The same goes for Die Hard with a Vengeance, which actually turned the humor up even more by giving Willis Samuel L. Jackson to play off of.
But Live Free or Die Hard handed most of the comic relief off to Justin Long. And as likeable as Long is, people missed that side of McClane. The movie might not have been a total disaster, but we can all agree any Die Hard should have more John McClane being John McClane and less ridiculous, CGI-enhanced car crashes and fighter-jet showdowns.
Well, fans can agree on that, at least. John Moore doesn't. In addition to a sobering up of McClane's quips, the movie is apparently far more concerned with raising the spectacle bar than the character bar.
The scope along goes from New York to Moscow. It’s very, very international. There’s a car chase through Moscow that’s taking us 78 days to shoot.
A car chase so elaborate it takes 78-days to shoot should be an absolute selling point for most any action movie, but unfortunately John McClane isn't just any action hero. He's not Jason Bourne. He's not Dominic Toretto. Leave those crazy, implausible flights of fancy to the Bourne and Fast and Furious franchises. No matter how big the scale of the effects and the set pieces, unless this feels like vintage McClane, it will actually feel exactly like what Moore fears: a cynical reheating. There's a big difference between reheating and cooking from the same recipe, and hopefully this ends up being more of the latter by the time it hits theaters on Valentine's Day, 2013. So far we're not wildly optimistic, though. What about you?
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