The Die Hard franchise is a collection of five movies that began with Die Hard in 1988. Following the adventures of police detective John McClane, the Die Hard franchise comes in at #15 in my Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Countdown.
The first Die Hard movie has been considered as one of the greatest action movies of all time. Based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever that is actually a sequel to his 1966 novel The Detective. The Detective itself was turned into a 1968 movie of the same name starring Frank Sinatra. After the book “Nothing Lasts Forever” was written FOX studio’s was contractually obligated to offer Sinatra the lead role even though he was 73 years old at the time. Sinatra turned it down.
“Nothing Lasts Forever” story was then changed so it would have no connection what so ever to “The Detective” and was presented as a prequel story. The role was then offered to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he to said no. The script was sent and offered to such actors at the time like Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, and Don Johnson all who turned down the role as well.
Bruce Willis was eventually offered and accepted the role and was paid $5 million to star as John McClane. Willis, more known for his role as detective David Addison on the ABC television series, Moonlighting. The movie studio didn’t feel Mr. Willis would be very appealing as an action hero up on the big screen.
Director John McTiernan chose to avoid making the villains terrorist caught up in politics and was more in favor of making them more common everyday robbers in pursuit of money. McTiernan felt this would make for better summer movie entertainment up on the big screen.
Die Hard received positive reviews from critics. It opened in limited release on July 15, 1988 before getting its general release on July 22, 1988. By the time Die Hard ended its theatrical run, it had earned $83 million in the U.S. alone along with another $57.7 million in international earnings.
Although Die Hard was generally well received the sequels to follow didn’t always measure up. Die Hard 2, received mixed to positive reviews, Die Hard With a Vengeance, also received mixed reviews. Live Free or Die Hard, was touted as being as good as the original, but not a convincing techno-thriller.
A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth movie in the franchise was heavily criticized for becoming nothing more then a generic action movie, losing what some might consider what Die Hard movies are all about.
For the most part the Die Hard franchise as a whole works, it has plenty of action and wise cracks from its star, Bruce Willis. The five films may not be Oscar worthy, but when you go to see a Die Hard film, Oscar is not on your mind. What is on your mind is seeing Bruce Willis, aka John McClane, get out of what would seem be an impossible situation by using plenty of bullets and explosions.
As a franchise it may have finally ran out of gas after the dismal showing of “A Good Day to Die Hard” at the theaters. The original is by far the best as it is with most franchises. The Die Hard movies may not make you think intellectually, but they do a good job of giving you plenty of action and will continue to do so for many years on Blu-ray/DVD and television.
The Die Hard franchise comes in at #15 in my Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Countdown.
New York City Detective John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunatly, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it’s up to McClane to stop them all.
Once again, New York cop John McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time – this time he’s waiting for his wife’s plane to arrive at Washington’s Dulles Airport when he uncovers a plot to sabotage the airport’s landing system. A team of terrorists, led by Col. Stuart (Sadler) is holding the entire airport hostage. The terrorists are planning to rescue a drug lord from justice. The Chief Engineer and the airport’s S.W.A.T. team unsuccessfully try to restore communications with the planes above. Because of this, Stuart crashes a plane. McClane must now try to defeat the terrorists and save his wife before her plane, and all the other planes, run out of fuel.
John McClane is now almost a full-blown alcoholic and is suspended from the NYPD. But when a bomb goes off in the Bonwit Teller Department Store the police go insane trying to figure out what’s going on. Soon, a man named Simon calls and asks for McClane. Simon tells Inspector Walter Cobb that McClane is going to play a game called “Simon Says”. He says that McClane is going to do the tasks he assigns him. If not, he’ll blow off another bomb.
With the help of a Harlem electrician, John McClane must race all over New York trying to figure out the frustrating puzzles that the crafty terrorist gives him. But when a bomb goes off in a subway station right by the Federal Reserve, the biggest gold storage in the world, things start to heat up. McClane has a bad hangover and a bad attitude, and isn’t in the mood for games, especially this one.
NYPD Detective John McClane lives in Brooklyn and occasionally does jobs for the United States Department of Homeland Security, receives a call to bring in a hacker named Matt Farrell, because there has been a breach in an FBI computer system.
Farrell is one of the many hackers who are suspected in the attack, and all known hackers are to be questioned. But after John gets to Matt’s apartment, a group of men show up and try to kill John and Matt, who barely escape with their lives. As it turns out, a group of terrorists led by Thomas Gabriel are systematically shutting down the United States computer infrastructure.
Matt knows enough about hacking to know exactly how Gabriel is shutting down the USA. Gabriel, a disgraced former Department of Defense employee, plans to bring the country to its knees, but he doesn’t count on John and Matt figuring out what’s going on.
Gabriel wants John and Matt out of the way, and for John, the situation becomes personal when an enraged Gabriel kidnaps John’s daughter Lucy. Gabriel may think he now has the upper hand on John, but he has no idea how far John is willing to go to rescue Lucy.
John McClane, for the first time, finds himself on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack – unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.