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In certain circles, John McTiernan’s Die Hard with a Vengeance is viewed as the best of the five-film franchise. Better than the original. Those people are insane (and insanely wrong), but they are the ones who’ll be most excited by the rumor that’s making the rounds this morning.
A tweet posted by Latino Review’s scooper Elmayimbe claims that 20th Century Fox is on the hunt for new Die Hard story pitches, with one specific caveat:
We really want to go down this road? The most recent Die Hard movie, the Russia-set A Good Day to Die Hard was a travesty that completely forgot all of the reasons why fans have grown invested in Bruce Willis’ vulnerable anti-hero, John McClane, over the years. We don’t want to see an unstoppable killing machine, barking at faceless goons that he’s supposed to be on vacation. We want to see a resilient but human McClane outsmarting a worthy foe. He’s lethal, yes. But he’s also smart. And running through the remains of Chernobyl and hanging on to the back of a helicopter is not smart.
Arguably, the last time Willis tapped into the true vein of the Die Hard spirit would have been 1995’s With a Vengeance, which teamed him with his Pulp Fiction co-star for a time-bomb chase around New York City. The difference might have been having original Die Hard director John McTiernan back behind the camera. Is it possible to get the recently-released ex-con McTiernan back to the franchise to deliver some level of closure for McClane?
The story reminds me of a screenwriter named Ben Trebilcook, who recently pitched a spec script for a sixth Die Hard that he claimed would bring McClane to Japan on the 30th anniversary of the Nakatomi Plaza attack. He told WhatCulture that he penned what could be the final Die Hard story, and his treatment had a major role for Jackson’s heroic sidekick.
But is this the right path? Starting with Vengeance, the Die Hard series has worked hard to pair McClane with a partner, from Justin Long’s computer geek in Live Free of Die Hard to his bland son, Jack (Jai Courtney), in the abysmal Good Day. Willis can not feel good about ending his signature franchise on a film that earned 14% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and only $304 million in worldwide grosses. It sounds like Fox is going back to the well. Will bringing Jackson back be enough? Should McTiernan return, as well? Or should they pull the plug and walk away? Weigh in below.