Brief: A Good Day to Die Hard
A Good Day to Die Hard
Somewhere along the way, the Die Hard movies lost the thread. What began as a movie about a guy in the wrong place at the wrong time, improvising his way out of a bad situation, has turned into yet another action franchise headlined by an unkillable super hero. John McClane is hit by a car no less than three times during this movie, and just gets up and keeps moving. He is thrown off of buildings, and doesn't really take a hit. He doesn't even bother to dive for cover when a bunch of nameless thugs walk in. He doesn't need to. The McClane of A Good Day to Die Hard is more unkillable than the titular cyborg in The Terminator, and that makes this far and away the franchise's nadir.

When Alan Rickman (playing all-time great movie villain Hans Gruber) called McClane "John Wayne" in the first film, it was clever and menacing; when a carrot-nibbling villain declares, apropos of nothing, that he hates all Americans, "especially cowboys," it feels like a lazy set up to a punch line we all know is coming. I guess that's what becomes of a character when they are transformed into an icon. As a culture, we no longer need John McClane, blue collar action hero. We need him as a catch-phrase spouting super cop, whose only real worth is to take a beating on the way to a decent-sized box office. Call me old fashioned (plenty of people hurl that at McClane in the movie, though he's less old-fashioned than prone to shooting everyone around him), but I preferred a John McClane who could die. Turns out that made me root for him to live.

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