Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Die Hard Has Come To This?

The first time I saw Die Hard, I was floored. It was so funny, and so intense, and the action was so good. I understand why Bruce Willis catapulted from a TV star to a film mega-star. I also understand why the Die Hard formula was copied over and over - the insane fight against the odds in a cramped location made for an undeniably engaging experience.

In another post, I might write a lot of words about at least one of its sequels, which grew less satisfying with every film. I might also write about the original film, which I adoringly reviewed two Christmases ago - and I might note that the series is a combination of a disaster pic (e.g., The Towering Inferno) and an action film (e.g., Escape from New York, Lethal Weapon).

The last thing I would do is bag on Bruce Willis for getting older. This is a natural thing, and I'm not that superficial or cheap... Bruce hasn't had a lot of obvious plastic surgery done, nor ever tried to hide his hair loss (he's always looked good, in every phase of his battle with going bald)...

What I can be annoyed by is studios running a franchise into the ground, and/or producing subpar sequels because they know that they'll sell well, even with a weaker script or story than they had before...

And despite all these thoughts, I was walking down the street and I noticed an ad for the upcoming It's a Good Day to Die Hard, and I just had to stop and gasp. The whole Die Hard premise, going by its title, is that one person is so focused and skilled and incorruptible that he will fight for the right cause, right up to his own death. Well, we've gone from a young everyman-hero to a middle-aged guy who looks mildly annoyed.

Yes, in the face of danger and death, John McClane looks... like his sandwich is disagreeing with him. Unlike Arnie or Sly, Bruce Willis has taken lots of cameo roles in films, and has worked in all sorts of pix - sometimes he appears in simple dramas, like The Story of Us, while other times he's in independent and arthouse movies, or even unusual thrillers like The Color of Night. As much as Bruce has played the same role many times, he's also joined riskier projects (e.g., North). But to see this one image as a sign of the action movie to come, I have to say that potential viewers will feel... unthrilled. I sure know that's how the photo above made me feel.


  1. It's appropriate that the image for Willis's face is on a phone booth, since that's notoriously where so many of his recent performances are coming from. You can really tell when Bruce Willis is just paying the bills--if you saw RED, you saw Willis treat the death of a good friend, the outrage of being marked for execution, and the prospect of bedding Mary Louise Parker all with the same slightly annoyed/bemused expression of, "Yeah, sure. I guess."

    It all makes me more eager to finally see Looper, since I gather that Rian Johnson dragged Hudson Hawk out of the phone booth to do a little, y'know, acting.

    1. Well, thank heaven I didn't see Red, then. That's a bit harsh and unfair - the problem is that he's just done these kinds of roles too often. He's probably bored.

      And yes, Bruce acts fantastically in Looper. He's the guy that blew us away in Moonlighting, and was so good in Die Hard, 12 Monkeys, Death Becomes Her (a fine against-type performance)...


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