The sequel to the much-loved original – Die Hard

Share on social media
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Watching a sequel to a much-loved favourite film can occasionally be a way to rekindle a lost love for film. Yes it can, I read about it somewhere. There’s a popular and mostly accurate school of thought that says that all movie sequels are awful, but even so, sitting down for a couple of hours with characters that you know and love can be a bit like slipping on a comfortable old sweater. Sure, it’s got a few holes in it these days, and it could probably have done with a wash before you lovingly rubbed your face against it, but it reminds you of a simpler, happier time. A time when the jumper was a genuinely magnificent piece of clothing

In a less roundabout and jumper-related way, this is the fundamental problem with A Good Day to Die Hard. The original film invented almost everything good about the action movie genre – the average cop turned into a superhero by circumstance; the highly-trained SWAT team who ultimately turn out to be less capable than said average cop; the suave, well-spoken intelligent bad guy; said bad guy being played by Alan Rickman. But 25 years is a long time in movies, and indeed in just about anything other than geology. It’s long enough for John McTiernan to go to jail, Bruce Willis to lose all his hair, and Bonnie Bedelia to vanish off the face of the planet. Most importantly, it’s long enough for John McClane to become a completely different character

In Die Hard, Bruce Willis was Officer John McClane, an ordinary off-duty police officer in the wrong place at the wrong time. In A Good Day to Die Hard, he’s Badass John McClane, the bulletproof wisecracker who deliberately puts himself in harm’s way to rescue a never-previously mentioned son who looks more than capable of taking care of himself. All comfortable jumper-related bets are off. Suddenly the film has to stand on it’s own two feet rather than getting a free pass as the follow-up to one of the best movies of all time. And it stands on those feet rather less well than it’s battered, bruised and bombed star

In place of the tropes that it’s esteemed prequel invented, here we have the tropes of the Bad Action Movie. Russian stereotypes. Guns with the infinite ammo cheat switched on. Complete disregard for the laws of physics (the opening car chase), chemistry (“It neutralises radiation. Trust me!”) and geography (from Moscow to Chernobyl – a 12-hour drive, even without the Russian traffic that was brought up as an important plot point minutes earlier – without having a wash, a change in time of day, or a long-overdue father-son conversation and man-hug that the entire film seemed to be building up to). That thing where you need to switch the volume up to hear the conversations, then switch it down again to avoid being deafened by gunfire. A Good Day to Die Hard shares many properties with the Bad Action Movie because it is one. Die Hard 2: Die Harder proved that it was possible to be a substandard Die Hard movie while still being a decent action film, and that was the bar that I had set for this film. Bruce Willis and his merry band of accompanying nonentities limboed comfortably under it

I should have been prepared, of course. Almost a year since the film’s release, and the mighty Guyznite still haven’t deemed it worthy of adding a verse to their Die Hard song. Even Live Free or Die Hard got a verse, and that was terrible


Share on social media
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

2 thoughts on “The sequel to the much-loved original – Die Hard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *