A bad way to Die Hard

die5Last night we were over the in-laws, and they put A Good Day To Die Hard on the telly, bless them. Well, I of course saw this once before and as Sean Connery would be amongst the first to remind me, never say never again. So there I was, a captive audience for a study of how not to handle a franchise.

Considering how much of a genuine classic the original Die Hard is, its doubly sad to  be reminded how the mighty had fallen with this entry. Maybe we are all guilty these days for simply wanting ‘more’. Rather than let a great film stand on its own, we always want more; a second, third, fourth film of the same. Perhaps its simply an attempt -usually in vain- to rediscover and re-experience that joy of something great and original, rare such as it is. Naturally as far as the studio is concerned, it has had a hit and wants another.

But its always difficult to rekindle/recapture that magic. You can try put a fresh spin on things, raise the stakes by making it bigger/faster/louder. God knows the Bond franchise, Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator…  Die Hard isn’t alone in having inferior sequels or stumbling fortunes.

So while fans bad-mouth the creative team and studio bigwigs behind the film, and the Crown Prince of Smug, Bruce Willis, phones in another jaded performance, maybe we should examine our own role in ever-declining franchises. If we walked out of seeing a great film without immediately thinking about going to see the sequel, then maybe we would see better, and more original movies. Why, after all, do we think we have a right to another, better, Bond? Does there even have to be another Bond, another Die Hard?

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2 thoughts on “A bad way to Die Hard

  1. It’s funny to think sequels were once considered to be definitely lesser things — not just creatively, but that they were guaranteed to gross less money too. I guess video started that change, or maybe it was Star Wars. I don’t think anything’s going to change in the near-term, anyway — where’s the incentive?

    1. I agree there is no change in sight. And while its wrong to say there’s no decent original films released anymore, all these sequels and reboots must have an impact on originality and quality. I remember when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979, it seemed really strange (as the films title would itself suggest) making a film based on a tv show. These days anything goes, but I remember that back then cinema had an air of sophistication and quality and television was sneered at. How things change!

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