Die Hard is one of those rare action movie franchises that actually had longevity. It started off with a classic – which might actually be the single greatest action movie ever made – and followed it up with three sequels that failed to live up to it, but still had their own merits and were worth the price of admission.
And then we had A Good Day to Die Hard, a terrible movie with an incoherent plot that, worse yet, completely misunderstood its lead character, John McClane. Still, Die Hard 6 is in development. So, here are 5 Reasons We Need To See Die Hard 6 (And 5 Why We Don’t).
10 Don’t need: The studio’s idea for it is bizarre
The producers of the Die Hard franchise and the studio heads have come up with a premise for the sixth Die Hard movie that sounds utterly bizarre. The title they’ve come up with is McClane – it doesn’t even have Die Hard in the name – and it will combine a sequel story starring Bruce Willis with a prequel story starring a past version of himself on the beat in the 1970s.
9 Need: The series needs to go out on a high
Since the Die Hard franchise has gone on for so long, it’s gotten to the point where if it ends, it needs to end with a bang. If there’s going to be a movie describing itself as the final film in the franchise, it has to be pretty darn good.
Die Hard with a Vengeance has been the best of the sequels so far, and if the series had ended there, it would’ve been a satisfying finale. Except it didn’t end there. If there’s no Die Hard 6, then that finale was A Good Day to Die Hard, which would be a great shame, because it failed John McClane.
8 Don’t need: Building on the franchise’s mythology isn’t necessary
The plan with the sixth Die Hard movie is to build on the franchise’s mythology by giving John McClane an origin story, but it’s not necessary to build on this franchise’s mythology. The John Wick movies have been doing this, but they’re set in a secret society that exists across the world.
McClane is just an average guy who often finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. This isn’t the MCU. This is a franchise built around pumping out action movie premises over and over again – it doesn’t need to be explored or expanded in any way.
7 Need: Who could resist seeing Bruce Willis back in the role of John McClane?
At the end of the day, as much as movie fans might complain about the Die Hard sequels, they can’t resist seeing Bruce Willis in the role of John McClane.
He seemed to have given up in the fifth one, as he looked disinterested for most of the movie, but he really played McClane as he always had in the belated fourth movie, showing he still has the ability to recapture the magic that made the character such a delightful breath of fresh air back in 1988. If Willis is playing McClane in this new movie, whatever the movie itself ends up being, fans won’t be able to resist flocking to theaters.
6 Don’t need: We already know John McClane’s origin story
The Die Hard producers want to give us a prequel and a sequel in the same movie, like The Godfather Part II, but the difference is that while we didn’t know Vito Corleone’s personal history and had a lot to learn from that expansion of his story, we already know everything we need to know about John McClane’s backstory.
The first Die Hard movie covered it all subtly in the dialogue – we don’t need a forced, on-the-nose movie adaptation of some subtle exposition. McClane is a New York cop whose wife’s career took her to L.A., so he was torn between his family and his city and he chose his city, leading to tension with the family. We don’t need to see that in a movie, because we already know it happened and saw the aftermath.
5 Need: It could make up for A Good Day to Die Hard
The last Die Hard movie we saw, A Good Day to Die Hard, was the franchise’s worst installment by far. It saw John McClane travel to Russia to help out his son, an undercover secret agent who’d gotten involved with some bad dudes.
Throughout the movie, John tore through the streets of Moscow with a truck, picked up giant assault rifle and blew a bunch of guys away, jumped through several windows from a moving helicopter, and survived a trip to Chernobyl. McClane used to care more than that. In the fifth movie, he’s very vacant – and invincible. Die Hard 6 could redeem that movie’s missteps.
4 Don’t need: No one else can play John McClane
The prequel component of Die Hard 6 is what concerns a lot of fans. It means that a younger actor will be cast in the role of John McClane, sort of like a reboot that still has Bruce Willis in it. The problem with that is that no one else can play John McClane. In fact, audiences won’t even be willing to give the new actor a chance.
Just look at poor Alden Ehrenreich. For all intents and purposes, he did a fine job of playing young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story. But audiences refused to embrace him, because that’s quintessentially Harrison Ford’s role. The same goes for McClane. McClane is Bruce Willis and Bruce Willis is McClane.
3 Need: It could be a comeback for John McTiernan
John McTiernan, who helmed the first two Die Hard movies, used to be one of the foremost directors of action films in Hollywood, and he’s been in need of a comeback recently. All we’ve heard so far is that Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman was attached. Wiseman’s a fine director, but he never got the character of John McClane, or the unique feel that makes the Die Hard movies special. The studio should bring back John McTiernan for the big Die Hard finale.
McTiernan recently spent ten months in prison on federal charges that he committed perjury, lied to an FBI investigator, and wiretapped two people’s phones, so Hollywood has been reluctant to let him back into the inner circle. But he’s the only filmmaker who ever fully understood the John McClane character.
2 Don’t need: The writers that have been hired mainly write horror
Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes have been hired to work on the screenplay for a sixth Die Hard movie, but all of their previous credits are horror movies: House of Wax, The Reaping, The Conjuring series etc. Some of those were good scripts, especially the more recent ones, but writers who specialize in one genre rarely successfully make the jump to another one.
The skills required to write horror can’t be easily transferred to writing action. As Shane Black will tell you, writing a really good action movie takes a very specific set of criteria that horror writers will simply be unaware of.
1 Need: The action genre as we know it is dying
Action movies about a gruff, reluctant hero taking on a bunch of bad guys – like the old-school Stallone/Schwarzenegger movies – are a dying breed. Recent examples of hit old-school action movies include Taken and John Wick, but they’re few and far between. The action genre has been traded in for big-budget sci-fi blockbusters with action set pieces, as well as occasional postmodern winks-to-the-audience like The Expendables movies.
Die Hard 6 would be a great opportunity to give the world an old-school action movie like Hollywood used to make in the ‘80s and ‘90s. It all depends on how it’s directed, but at least the opportunity is there.