Sorry. No. It’s not an On Demand channel featuring all of John McClane’s greatest hits and quips from over the years. That would, indeed, be a thing of beauty. I personally would have the terrorist getting sliced in half by a tow cable near the end of Die Hard With a Vengeance on loop. No, Die Hard 24/7 is the rumored title for the new film, the fifth installment in a franchise that began with what some believe to be the greatest action film of all time. This is according to Harry Knowles, who freely admits it is just a rumor. Don’t take it to heart, but if there is even the slightest hint of truth to this new title, it reveals more about the next Die Hard film than you might think.
Evidently the enclosed area in a confined space of time has been dropped like Hans Gruber 30 stories straight down. With each passing Die Hard film, the area where McClane has had to fight off the bad guys has gotten larger and, particularly the case with Live Free or Die Hard, much more elaborate. With a title like 24/7, you can’t have the film take place over the course of a few hours. This thing is going to be sprawling and, more than likely, will have McClane going nonstop for a full week. Anyone who complains about Jack Bauer being able to hit the bricks without rest or even a trip to the bathroom in a 24-hour period will have their minds completely blown by how long and far McClane can go on only one tank of gas.
Speaking of everyone’s favorite counter-terrorist agent, the title Die Hard 24/7 tells me the producers heard people comparing Live Free or Die Hard to an episode of 24 and didn’t notice the negative connotation. It’s not a good thing that your $110-million film reminds people of a full season of TV compressed to just over two hours. It’s not like Live Free or Die Hard was a runaway smash, even if it did end up being the highest grossing Die Hard film to date.
Which brings us to the comparisons between Live Free or Die Hard and the rest of the franchise. In Knowles’ article, he refers to a recent conversation he had with Sylvester Stallone wherein Stallone says Bruce Willis was impressed by the tone of The Expendables. Evidently Willis was so impressed that he decided the next Die Hard would go back to the R-rated nature the first three films had.
This is all well and good. I didn’t like how PG-13 and plasticized the Die Hard franchise got in that last entry. But, more so than the film’s rating, the tone has to be right. We have to believe this is the same character we’ve already seen mow through terrorists in three previous films and still be able to walk away in the end. We have to be reminded that John McClane is a human being who bleeds, gets tired, gets hurt, and really doesn’t even want to be in the situation he’s in. Throwing in additional F-bombs and showing the terrorists get ripped to shreds isn’t going to cut it. Live Free or Die Hard with the “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” line intact and ample amounts of blood is still a hollowed shell of a film with an indestructible man at its heart.
I guess what this comes down to is an imploration to Bruce Willis and the people behind the next Die Hard film. Judging from what we’ve heard about Die Hard 24/7 (a title which is still just a rumor, mind you), we aren’t sold that it is going to give us the hard-hitting action experience we’ve come to know and love from the rest of the franchise. In fact, it seems like we may be getting more of the same that we got in 2007, only with additional cussing and probably lots more graphic death scenes.
If this title is an indication where your story is headed, you may want to go back to the chalk board and do another outline. Give us a story. Give us a John McClane adventure that deems worthy of the Die Hard name. Give us something made out of metal. We’re in a world where plastic, fast food movies are a weekly occurrence. And yes, some of them are even rated R. We want weight, and sometimes less really is more. 24/7 makes us think you may have forgotten that principle.