Are you ready for another “Die Hard” movie? No? What if I told you it won’t feature Jain Courtney? Better, right? But wait, there’s more: it’s a prequel! One that will still, apparently, star Bruce Willis in what I hope will be How-I-Met-Your-Mother-esque bookends.
So many words.
First and foremost – “Die Hard” is dead. It went into critical care after “Live Free Or Die Hard” – a movie I actually enjoyed a little – and officially passed on after “A Good Day To Die Hard.” R.I.P. Die Hard: You were always at your best when you were missing your shoes. At least, I thought so…
According to The Tracking Board, 20th Century Fox has tapped “The Conjuring” duo Carey and Chad Hayes to get the script done. “Live Free Or Die Hard” producer Len Wiseman will produce and direct. I don’t dislike any of these people on any number of other projects. Both “Conjuring” movies are quite fun for a good scare, and Len Wiseman has done okay with “Underworld” – a bit of a guilty pleasure – in the past. Looking at the combined pedigree, however, doesn’t have me feeling like this is a great team to try and reinvigorate the series.
If I had to choose a significant reason I don’t like this at all, it’s the fact that this is going to be a prequel. There’s nothing about the story of John McClane’s pre-Nakatomi Tower life I want to know about. The entire point was that he was basically a beat-cop caught up in something much more extensive than anything he’s been trained for. Are we going to have a “Kramer vs. Kramer” style divorce movie? Are they going to try and pull off a “Training Day” gritty cop drama? The issue as the series went on was that John McClane became a super-human instead of being a regular guy. There was an attempt to catch up with the Bourne-style of action movies, but it doesn’t make sense for this franchise. I get that this might bring him back to his roots, or whatever, but where do you go from there anyway?
Then there’s the matter that the only “Die Hard” movies that were written to be “Die Hard” movies have been the worst movies. The first was a sequel to a book that had a movie made with Frank Sinatra. The second was based – partially – on another book entirely and had its basic premise pulled from it. The third was originally called “Simon Says” and was actually first considered as a movie for the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. The fourth was yet another story retooled for Mr. McClane, originally titled “WW3.com.” This went through plenty of rewrites (it shows) but still came out feeling like a decent callback to the original. John McClane was once-again a fish-out-of-water and had to deal with a situation he was never trained for. “A Good Day To Die Hard” was the first script that, as far as anyone is aware, was written from the beginning as a Die Hard movie. Likely more coincidence than anything, it’s also the worst in the series.
All this isn’t to say that “Die Hard: Year One,” as it’s currently known, will fail strictly because it’s being written as a Die Hard movie. I think it will fail because it happens to be a prequel (strike one), to an ageing franchise (strike two), that’s trying to hold onto its lead after all these years (strike three), and that’s being written by brothers most known for horror (time to move away from the plate). Feel like this one needs to be buried. I’ve made it easy and already have an epitaph ready and everything.