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Laremy Legel

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Member of the BFCA and OFCS, writer of criticism, noted interviewer, box office oracle, walker of dog named Bugsy, Qui audet adipiscitur.

Should They Reboot ‘Die Hard’?

Short answer: No. “A Good Day to Die Hard” was so dispiriting that it might be better for us to all simply move on with our lives. “A Good Day to Die Hard” was like that crazy uncle you’ve always loved: He gave you $50 for your birthday every year when you were growing up, and then yesterday he appeared out of the blue with a teenaged bride, talking only in Pig Latin. In other words, the unexpected and tonally unfamiliar fifth iteration of the iconic action franchise was completely inexplicable given the affection everyone once had for the series as a whole. Of course, “A Good Day to Die Hard” is proof enough that Hollywood is seldom compelled by logic, and so the matter of a “Die Hard” reboot is probably more a matter of when rather then if. Reconciling myself to the inevitable, I suggest that the inevitable restart should commence with the following ideas:

1.) Send John McClane Out in a Blaze of Glory

We’ve seen all of our worst fears about the action genre realized this winter. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sly Stallone, Liam Neeson, and Bruce Willis all got old on us. Like, really old. And though everyone is living and staying fit longer, we’ve come to the conclusion that watching 55-year-old fellas run around and grunt gruff lines isn’t fun anymore. Still, Bruce Willis deserves one last moment – one last crash through a plate glass window – if only because it would be a crime to send McClane out on fumes. The new franchise could be set up in spectacular fashion if the opening scene had McClane perishing. It would give the franchise some emotional weight, a feature it has lacked since the original.

2.) Pretend the Son Either Never Existed or Died in a Snowstorm

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If you’ve seen the most recent “Die Hard” then you’re already aware of the Jack McClane debacle. It’s not that the actor wasn’t game, he certainly was, but the memory of his awful dialogue and terrible character development can’t be salvaged. If you want to deal with this in a hilarious (yet humane) manner, just have it be one sentence before John McClane heads off to his death. Something like “Too bad about Jack. He never saw that thresher coming.” Boom, problem solved! After the franchise accomplishes this bit of housekeeping it can comfortably move forward without any baggage.

3. Give me Mary Elizabeth Winstead or Don’t Give Me a Reboot at All

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Wait a beat, why couldn’t the franchise be passed along to John’s daughter? Did you see her in “Scott Pilgrim”? She’s got action chops! Man, now that I think about it, a Mary Elizabeth Winstead “Die Hard” would be something to see. Mmmm, Mary Elizabeth.

You know, there’s a chance I have a really unhealthy obsession with Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Professional liability.

4.) Pick a Real Director

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John Moore’s most beloved film is “Behind Enemy Lines,” and that fan club is about two dozen deep. So yeah, “Die Hard: A Good Day Never Happened” will need to recruit a solid director to replace him. They won’t be able to get J.J. Abrams, but there’s no reason they can’t get the likes of Gareth Evans (“The Raid”) or Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious”). Or what about Kevin Smith, who could do a cameo and earn a mulligan for “Cop Out?” Come back to the light, K-Smith! Whomever they get, that person needs to have solid action experience paired with a strong sense of story. “A Good Day to Die Hard” must never be allowed to happen again. Not on our watch.

5.) Start Small and Realistic (Again)

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Really, most of the “Die Hard” franchise boils down to our appreciation for the 1988 original. We’ve accepted everything that happened after because we all really loved that dude from the first one. Thus, the thing to do is get back to the real “Die Hard,” which was replete with small arms fire and intimate fights with bad guys packing an emotional wallop. There doesn’t need to be a fight scene every five minutes, the joy of the first “Die Hard” was how well it pivoted from calm to lunacy when you least expected it. The idea that action fans have short attention spans is ridiculous – don’t insult the audience by inserting perfunctory scenes that have no cohesive tissue to the movie as a whole.

Yes, the “Die Hard” franchise could come back, and it should come back given the low expectations that will spring forth after the dust settles from “A Good Day to Die Hard.” If they treat the material with respect, and not as another throwaway action film, the audiences will reward them with massive worldwide box office results. The money and the redemption are there for you, “Die Hard”. The question is: Are you going to take it?

Laremy wrote the book on film criticism, and would probably jump through a glass window if given the opportunity.


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Tags: A Good Day to Die Hard, Bruce willis, Die hard, Mary elizabeth winstead, Reboot