‘Die Hard’ series refuses to die softly

By David L. Combest

February 27, 2013

In 1979, Roderick Thorp wrote the sequel to his novel “The Detective”. The sequel follows Joe Leland (the main character from “The Detective”) who is visiting his daughter at her office Christmas party where she works for Klaxon Oil Corporation. Terrorists take over the skyscraper as they plan to steal documents that will expose Klaxon’s shady actions. Joe slips away to fight them off one at a time as he sneaks around the building. If this story sounds familiar, you might know it as the best action film ever, “Die Hard”.

The history behind the adaptation is a very interesting one, and if you’re ever bored it’s worth a Google. Nevertheless, “Die Hard” has found its way into our hearts and for a good reason; it is a great film. It is one of the best action films ever and a very memorable movie, with the broken glass scene, the friendship between two cops as John McClane saves the day, and of course, the famous line, “Yippee-Ki-Yay…” well, you know the rest.

I love “Die Hard” and am a die-hard fan (see what I did there?) It is a fresh and original movie. It even seems somewhat plausible not to mention the perfect blend of both action and nail-biting suspense. As the “Die Hard” series continues, one wonders if new entries can really hold up against the first “Die Hard”. The answer is debatable, but I think the second and third films were done very well. I will even take it a step further and say that the fourth one was a good addition to the McClane saga.

The question then becomes, “What about the fifth installment of the ‘Die Hard’ series?” Well, to be honest, I have mixed reviews on “A Good Day to Die Hard”. I’m a “Die Hard” fan and I want to like the film, yet there is a sense of emptiness to it. If this were just another action film with a story separate from the “Die Hard” universe, it would be a pretty good one. If you are looking for action-packed scenes, it is definitely something to see.

“A Good Day to Die Hard” falls a little short when compared to the other four movies. Storyline-wise, you feel like the movie takes place after many unseen events. You could also argue they could have made the movie longer so there would be time to explore the broken relationship McClane has with his son. Once again, the storyline is strong for another action film. It even has a great plot twist! You see McClane fighting off the bad guys in Russia alongside his son, but you don’t get to see much depth within his character or his son’s.

The movie is entertaining and worth the money, but keep in mind that it is not going to have that “Die Hard” feel like the first four (the fourth installment might also have lost some of the essence but kept enough of it to be a good fit in the series). The action scenes are good but they make you think, “Oh, come on! There is no way they would live through that!” Then again, many action movies have that theme, don’t they?

So while “Die Hard” may not be as strong as the last four films in the series, the action present in the film and its relation to the McClane saga makes it a good end to the series.

“Die Hard” has had a wonderful run and it’s time for McClane to finally enjoy being able to go somewhere without running into international trouble. If they do make a sixth one it might not be bad, but it will be a far cry from 1988 when McClane first shot unto the silver screen and became a pop culture icon.