Why So Many Die Hard Knockoffs Don't Work, According To Skyscraper's Director

Dwayne Johnson Will Sawyer Skyscraper

From the very beginning of the film's existence, many fans (and people involved with the movie) have drawn comparisons between Skyscraper and Die Hard. The Bruce Willis-fronted action classic remains a benchmark for the genre, and it's no secret that many films have attempted to use that formula in a variety of ways over the years. However, I recently had a chance to ask Skyscraper director, Rawson Marshall Thurber, why so many Die Hard knockoffs have failed, and he noted that too many of them have neglected to treat their heroes as real men. In our interview, Thurber explained:

To me, the one thing that the lesser Die Hard imitations have gotten wrong is they steal the wrong thing. Die Hard is great. It's about three jokes short of being a straight-up comedy. Alan Rickman is fantastic. Bruce Willis is fantastic. but what that movie is really about is a guy trying to repair his marriage. That's it. The key of that movie is when Bruce Willis is beaten up. His feet are bleeding. He's in that bathroom. He's talking to Al and he says, 'I want you to tell my wife something. She's heard me say I love you a hundred times, but she's never heard me say I'm sorry. You tell her I'm sorry.' That's what that movie is about. It's about a guy getting his wife back and at the end he does. He earns her love back. That's the mistake a lot of imitations or rip-offs of that movie make. They steal the action and the premise and the spectacle, but they forget the heart.

If you have seen Die Hard, then you likely already know exactly what Rawson Marshall Thurber is referring to here. It's the scene in which John McClane pulls the glass out of his feet and begins to accept the fact that he may not survive Christmas Eve to see his wife again. That's the core of what Die Hard is supposed to be, and as Rawson Marshall Thurber explained, a lot of the lesser Die Hard imitations eventually missed that point by copying the premise or the badass action without also imitating the human hook of the story.

If you want to see the Die Hard scene that Rawson Marshall Thurber is talking about, check out the clip, below!

Skyscraper seemingly learns from these errors by embracing a story about a man trying to get his family back in the face of an impossible situation. The film centers on Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson), a security expert/wounded law enforcement veteran forced to fight his way back into the newly-constructed tallest building in the world when terrorists take over and trap his wife and children inside.

Skyscraper is now in theaters, so make sure to check it out and head over to our full review of the movie to read everything that we here at CinemaBlend have to say about it! Looking beyond The Rock's homage to Die Hard, you can also take a look at our 2018 movie premiere guide to stay in-the-loop on all of the biggest and best films set to debut this year!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.