Greetings folks. Every so often I’m going to be writing articles about upcoming films in 2013 giving you all of the juicy information, along with some pre-fabricated opinions of mine of how it may or may not turn out. This is to inform and entertain so please weigh in with your own thoughts and feelings below.
The Die Hard franchise is one of those strange ironic brands that’s namesake could just as easily refer to the brand itself, rather than the iconic steadfast main character of John McClane. You’ll find many people that believe (and wish) that the Die Hard series culminated in a trilogy. Instead, and as much as I try to forget, Hollywood pumped out a 4th Die Hard film with the abhorrent title Live Free Or Die Hard (Die Hard 4.0 in less American territories). Hamfisted jingoisms aside the film suffered from many trite problems that ranged from horrendous, overblown CGI fuelled set pieces, to Hollywood’s infamous computer syndrome (i.e. a few keyboard strokes later, someone wearing glasses can do almost anything), to the curbing of all blood and bad language to satisfy censors so the studio could make the most money on that desired PG-13 rating. Simply put, neutering one of the most acclaimed action franchises of all time is mind boggling.
This film was directed by Len Wiseman, who thus far had only unleashed upon the world the Underworld franchise, why any studio thought he was a suitable fit for the Die Hard franchise is anyone’s guess. Timothy Olyphant played the villain, and sadly, while Olyphant is a great actor on television, he continues to get shafted in the world of film and saddled with weak scripts and lacklustre roles.
Despite this, Live Free or Die Hard made some money, so now we’re inevitably greeted by A Good Day To Die Hard, the fifth entry in the series; which will be released on frickin’ Valentines Day! This adventure sees everyone’s favourite cop (Bruce Willis) head to Russia where his son (Jai Courtney, topless at some point – for the ladies) (?!) has got into some shady business. Turns out, he’s a CIA agent on a top secret mission to stop Russian terrorists who have acquired nuclear weapons – so now McClane and son have to team up and take on an army of generic dudes. Does anyone involved in this film understand what made Die Hard so fucking good in the first place?
Die Hard was about intimacy. It was one relatively normal guy versus a squad of ten. It was intense because McClane loved his ex-wife and wanted to ensure she was safe. There’s nothing too superhuman that occurs and what’s even better is that the number of terrorists are finite. There were ten and each one of them was a fight in itself. As the Die Hard films continued they increased in scale, (as franchises should) but each of them still had a finite number of enemies, the tension between heroes and villains were tangible; until the 4th film pitted together a large group of random, faceless individuals. The 5th film in the series, A Good Day To Die Hard seems to pit the McClane family (Mary Elizabeth Winstead will be reappearing as his daughter in an unknown capacity) against a veritable army, obliterating the intimate nature that the films are so iconic for. On top of that, these films are famous for having great, recognizable actors portray the villains, and yet in the 5th film’s cast list I see no such individual. It’s a real shame as at one point Morgan Freeman or Ben Kingsley were rumoured to be taking up the villain mantle.
Check out the trailer below:
I will admit one thing: I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing Bruce Willis’ cheeky “I’m a badass” smile plastered all over his face. Oh and look kids, there’s boobs! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy… *sigh*
A Good Day To Die Hard is directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods. Their previous credits are unfortunately not inspiring much faith in this project. John Moore is the journeyman director behind The Omen remake and the disastrous Max Payne adaptation, whereas Skip Woods is the writer behind Swordfish, Hitman (Timothy Olyphant get’s shafted by Hollywood twice in the same post), X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The A-Team remake. To put it generously these films aren’t renowned for their quality (in fact the latter three are probably one of the worst films released in their respective years).
However, despite all of this negativity, there is at least one small spark of light – the film will be R Rated, which, if anything, is great news. One of the biggest problems of the fourth film was its rampant and strict censorship, that was a massive departure from the extreme violence of the earlier instalments. While I strongly expect that this will be a “soft R” it’s still something worth being just a little optimistic about. Overall I believe this will be better than Live Free Or Die Hard, though by how much I am unsure.
A Good Day To Die Hard will be in theatres on February 14th, Valentines Day. I suppose it’s a better alternative to the usual vapid romantic comedies that often dominate the theatre at that time of year, but on the same token it seems somewhat telling that the studio doesn’t feel that the latest Die Hard film can duke it out with the big boys in the summer. That, in itself is worryingly indicative of how far this once great franchise has fallen.