Die Hard takes the fifth

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

T’S been 25 years since Bruce Wil­lis brought the char­ac­ter of John Mc­Clane to the big screen in the ex­plo­sive ac­tion film Die Hard.

But the fran­chise shows no signs of go­ing into re­tire­ment with the fifth film – A Good Day to Die Hard – rolling into cinemas to­day with guns blaz­ing.

Wil­lis jokes he’s not cer­tain why the fran­chise keeps go­ing, but he says ev­ery­one knows it’s time to do an­other Die Hard movie when some­one comes up with ‘‘a com­pli­cated ti­tle that no one un­der­stands’’.

‘‘We had just got­ten to where we thought we un­der­stood Live Free or Die Hard and now we have A Good Day to Die Hard, which I have to ad­mit I’m a lit­tle baf­fled about,’’ Wil­lis says.

Wil­lis does have some se­ri­ous ideas as to why Die Hard won’t die. It isn’t all of the ex­plo­sions and big stunts; it’s a good story with a theme of fam­ily.

In A Good Day to Die Hard, Mc­Clane trav­els to Rus­sia when his son Jack (Aussie Jai Court­ney) is ar­rested and ends up in the mid­dle of an in­ter­na­tional sit­u­a­tion.

Then there’s John Mc­Clane. Wil­lis says peo­ple can re­late to the char­ac­ter be­cause he’s a guy who thinks he has ev­ery­thing in con­trol – but doesn’t.

His fi­nal the­ory: The Die Hard movies are like a big roller coaster. They of­fer thrills and ex­cite­ment with a hint of dan­ger that make them a fun ride. Cre­at­ing that ex­cite­ment is the goal each time Wil­lis slips back into the John Mc­Clane role.

Di­rec­tor John Moore views the Die Hard movies as mod­ern-day West­erns.

‘‘ Die Hard is a bril­liantly scripted, bril­liantly plot­ted thriller. It has some ex­plo­sions. But, ul­ti­mately, its plot is al­ways ori­ented like a West­ern,’’ Moore says.

‘‘A man comes to town. He’s out­num­bered. He has moral­ity on his side. He uses in­ge­nu­ity and de­ter­mi­na­tion to do the right thing. It’s got more John Wayne than any­thing else.

‘‘It’s about a guy whose do­ing some­thing morally cor­rect for his fam­ily, as op­posed to stop­ping sub­ma­rine plots. It’s al­ways been about his fam­ily.

‘‘Peo­ple strug­gle to un­der­stand why Die Hard is such a stand­out ac­tion film. It’s be­cause it isn’t an ac­tion film. It’s a West­ern.’’

The films have of­fered hints to the West­ern her­itage from the first film. Mc­Clane’s fa­mous catch phrase of ‘‘Yippee-Ki-Yay (ex­ple­tive deleted)’’ was a line Wil­lis im­pro­vised as a re­sponse to the film’s vil­lain, Hans Gru­ber (Alan Rickman) re­fer­ring to Mc­Clane as a cow­boy.

And cow­boys get men­tioned in the lat­est film as the chief rea­son why the vil­lain hates Amer­i­cans.

No mat­ter the rea­sons, the Die Hard fran­chise just keeps go­ing – much to the sur­prise of Wil­lis.

‘‘No one ever knew at the be­gin­ning that we were go­ing to be do­ing five of th­ese films,’’ he says.

‘‘It’s a strange, great hon­our to get to run down the street and do what we do and make it look fun and scary, some­times, and in­ter­est­ing and still have the core of the char­ac­ter there.’’

opens to­day.

Bruce Wil­lis, Jai Court­ney and Se­bas­tian Koch star in

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