' ' Cinema Romantico: Not A Good Day To Die Hard (At All)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Not A Good Day To Die Hard (At All)

My friend Daryl had a radical idea. "A Good Day To Die Hard" (out Valentine's Day), the fifth installment of the "Die Hard" saga that began way back in the waning days of the Reagan administration, should end with Bruce Willis's constantly-encountering-massive-trouble protagonist, L.A. cop John McClane, waking up on the tarmac of Dulles Airport in Washington D.C. on Christmas Eve night 1990 right after having cleverly employed his cigarette lighter to blow the airplane transporting General Esperanza, Colonel Stuart and their band of no-good mercenaries sky high.

Now, typically I am anti-"It Was All A Dream!" endings but, hey, this was perfect. And it was perfect because it could at last wipe clean the slate of the "Die Hard" movies to follow. Oh, I suppose "Die Hard With A Vengeance" (1995) wasn't awful - maybe on part with "Die Hard 2" itself - but would you be willing to sacrifice the third one to cancel out the fourth and fifth? Yeah. That's what I thought.

John? Where did the cigarette go?
In 1988 Bruce Willis, see, was John McClane. In 1990 Bruce Willis was still John McClane. I'm not simply referring to the fact that John McClane had some semblance of hair and looked younger and was allowed to smoke and fully complete the phrase "Yippe-ki-ay, motherfucker" (fuck you, PG-13!). No, I'm talking about the shift Bruce Willis made 'round about "Pulp Fiction" where he started speaking in that sort of, shall we say, art house rasp.

In "Die Hard" he did not speak with an art house whisper. He spoke with a Jersey annoyance. And in the trailer for "A Good Day To Die Hard", much like "Live Free Or Die Hard", he's speaking with the art house rasp, much more akin to Lt. A.K. Waters than John McClane.

Bruce Willis is no longer John McClane. John McClane is Bruce Willis.


Wretched Genius said...

I would never sacrifice the third one. I actually enjoyed the 4th, though more as an entertaining guilty pleasure than as a solid entry in the franchise. The 5th looks appalling. In a just world, the franchise would have been handed over to Mary Elizabeth Winstead as John's daughter instead of his son who is barely ever mentioned in the previous movies.

Nick Prigge said...

Truthfully, I liked the third & fourth too. I just think the fifth one looks so horrendous that I would be willing to sacrifice them for the greater good.