CLASSIC ACTION MOVIE FRANCHISE REVIEWS: DIE HARD!

So i have been getting a lot of great suggestions now on what to do with this blog in the future. Instead of just posting movie posters and the occasional blog post here and there, there will be more variety on here from now on starting with a new segment that is called Classic Action Movie Franchise Reviews, or CAMFR for short (we have got to find a better title). This is where i will look at the entire franchise of a classic action movie. And we are starting with my all time favorite: DIE HARD!

DIE HARD (1988)

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What an absolutely perfect movie this is. Who would have thought that Bruce Willis, who was best known for his comedic persona from Moonlighting and the forgettable Blind Date at the time, would be such an amazing casting decision for a hard R action movie like this? That would be like casting the lanky nerd from The Big Bang Theory in an action movie these days. Well, maybe not. Bruce Willis was always a little tougher than that. But anyway, whoever made that casting decision deserves a medal. Die Hard owes a lot of it’s brilliance to Bruce Willis and his perfect portrayal of John McClane. He is the far opposite of the regular action heroes at the time like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Instead of being a muscle bound mountain of a man, he is just a regular, average Joe in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is the kind of action hero most people could relate to. But Bruce Willis as John McClane is not the only genius casting decision that makes this movie so amazing. There is also Alan Rickman as one of my all time favorite movie villains, Hans Gruber. He is the perfect combo of smart, slimy, cool and vicious. And of course he has the mandatory European accent that all action movie villains had to have at that time. This movie is filled with great characters, but this is an action movie so we have to talk about the ting everyone wants to talk about here: the romance. John and Holly kiss at the end. Now on to the second most important part: the action. Oh my god is the action here amazing! This movie barely takes any breaks after the action starts and the few times it does it’s just to build tension or hear about Carl Winslow, erm, i mean Al Powell shooting kids. This movie has me on the edge of my seat every time i watch it. And i watch it a lot. At least once a year around Christmas i put this on. It’s not only a perfect action movie, it’s also a perfect Christmas movie. But this is starting to turn into a full fledged review of the first movie, and that is not what this is supposed to be, so let’s movie on.

DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER (1990)

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This is a perfect example of a sequel just trying to recreate everything in the first movie and failing. Now don’t get me wrong, this is still an enjoyable action movie, but when it keeps doing the same stuff as the first movie beat for beat, it just makes me want to watch the first one again. But when it’s not just doing scenes from the first movie all over again it does have some cool moments. John McClane stabbing someone through the eye with an ice sickle is something i always think of when i see them every winter. I also like the snowmobile chase in the movie. This movie also manages to go a lot darker than the first movie as well as getting a lot goofier at the same time. While there are horrible scenes like the plane crash, there are also scenes ripped right out of the Looney Tunes like when John McClane uses an ejector seat to get away from an exploding grenade. Overall, this is a decent, but kind of forgettable action movie. It’s the middle child between two great movies. Speaking of…

DIE HARD: WITH A VENGEANCE (1995)

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Now this is how you do a sequel! Take the character we all know and love and put him in a new and exciting situation. Don’t just do the same thing over again. This movie takes John McClane out of a small building getting taken over by terrorists during Christmas, and puts him in the big city playing a deadly game of Simon Says during one of the hottest summer days. He also get’s a great partner in this movie with Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus. He makes up for Al not returning this time. This time it’s back to a great villain again as well. I could not even remember what the villain looked like in Die Hard 2, but you will not forget Jeremy Irons as Simon Gruber. He is the brother of Hans Gruber and he’s out for revenge. Or that is what he wants you to think at least. This movie if filled with great action set pieces throughout New York and keeps the tension up at all times. John McClane get’s more beat up in this film than ever before. At the end he looked so sweaty, bloody and bruised that you can almost smell him through the screen. Just like with watching Die Hard 1 ever Christmas, i feel like i have to watch this one every summer. For a long time this was the last of the franchise and i was fine with that. It was a good trilogy. A little slow in the middle, but McClane went out on top. Then one day Hollywood decided to give a new sequel to pretty much every franchise that ended in the 90’s.

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (2007)

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When this was first announced i got very excited. Up to this point Die Hard was one of my all time favorite franchises and the thought of a new one after all these years was like a dream come true. Then all the other announcements came along. It was gonna be directed by Underworld director Len Wiseman. It was gonna co-star Justin Long from the Apple commercials and various teen sex comedies. And on top of it all, it was gonna be rated PG-13. What the fuck? Seriously? The last Die Hard movie before this is one of the most brutal action movies there is and you are gonna follow it up with a PG-13 movie? I was furious. Finally Die Hard is returning and it’s getting a PG-13 rating. I almost didn’t even watch this in the theaters i was so mad. But to my surprise, it was not bad. I actually liked it. I would even go so far as to say i liked it better than Die Hard 2. I know, i’m as shocked as you guys. Sure, the PG-13 is really holding this movie back, but it still manages to get in some great action sequences. Sometimes it get’s a little over the top for a Die Hard movie like when he is surfing on a jet plane, but it’s still fun to watch. Justin Long manages to not get on my nerves as well. Kevin Smith is the one who get’s that honor. The villains are also good. Timothy Olyphant, who i love on shows like Deadwood and Justified, does the best he can with what he got. Nobody can play annoyed as well as him and when you are up against McClane you will get very annoyed. I hate to keep harping on this, but i feel like if they had given this movie the R rating it should have had, he could have gone all out and been a great bad guy. But yeah, this was a surprisingly fun movie. I could not believe it. I was so ready to just hate this movie the first time i sat down to watch it, but by the time John McClane takes out a helicopter with a car, i was totally with this movie. So when they announced that the next Die Hard was gonna be a return to the R rating it could only go up from here, right? 

A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD (2013)

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I… uh… i… th… wha… WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED HERE?! This was supposed to be the return to glory for the franchise, but instead they decided to take a huge, steaming pile of shit all over it, smear it in good, then take a piss on it for that extra flavor, and call it the day. This movie is the absolute fucking worst insult to the Die Hard franchise i have ever seen. I can’t even explain how bad this movie is. I had to leave the movie theater halfway through it the first time i saw it. I could not sit there for another second and watch one of my favorite franchise get violated in the worst possible way like this. When i finally did finish watching the movie at home it just made me feel sick. How can a once great franchise like this sink so low? I can’t even go on about this film. I don’t want to think about this movie anymore. I think i had actually blocked it from my memory because when i started this write up i was sure the franchise ended at number 4. It was only when i checked Imdb that i remembered this movie existed.  So let’s just move on….

OVERALL TAKE ON THE FRANCHISE

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When ignoring that last travesty, this is a great action movie franchise. It’s one that not necessarily get’s better by each movie, but it certainly get’s bigger. Bruce Willis was born to play John McClane and no one could have done it better. This is one of the franchises you start with if you want to get someone into classic action movies. That is definitely how i have converted many people. So, if you have nothing to do this weekend, get out you Die Hard box set, get a few beers and some friends, and have yourself a great time. That is what i’m gonna do.

SCORE:

Die Hard 10/10

Die Hard 2: Die Harder 6/10

Die Hard: With a Vengeance 10/10

Live Free or Die Hard 7/10

A Good Day to Die Hard 0/10  Fuck this movie! It does not count!

Overall score: 8/10

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R.I.P. ROBIN WILLIAMS

I know this is not really action movie related, but i feel like i have to get this off my chest anyway. August 11, 2014 was a very sad day for all movie and comedy loves the world around. Robin Williams, one of the greatest actors and comedians to ever grace the screen passed away that day, and it was an absolute shock. I could not believe my eyes when i first saw the headline and just sat there staring at it for what must have been several minutes before eventually clicking on it. For as long as i can remember i have loved this man. Throughout my childhood he brought joy into my life with movies like Jumanji, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook and Aladdin. He is one of the first actor i remember naming as one of my favorites because of that, and he has stayed on that list throughout my life.

As i grew older i fell even more in love with him through movies like Good Morning Vietnam, Insomnia, One Hour Photo, and most of all, Good Will Hunting. That man could go between comedic and dramatic performances like no one else. He was flawless at both. He really did have the ability to save just about any movie as well. Even when i had to sit through some of his worst movies like RV and Old Dogs he still managed to make me at least chuckle. It was impossible to stay mad for too long when he was on screen. This is definitely one of those celebrity deaths that has gotten to me the most. I still can’t actually believe it. It’s like losing someone that has been with you your entire life. This really does show you that even the happiest looking guy on the outside can be struggling with the worst of depressions on the inside. People who say that you should just get over it and that it’s not a real decease really have no clue. But let’s try to focus on all the great laughs and cinema moments he has given us and not on the gruesome way he went out.

Rest in piece, Mr. Williams. Oh captain, my captain. You will definitely be missed and never forgotten.

The Expendables 3 review

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Sylvester Stallone has less and less facial hair for each one of these movies. Why is that? Is it a metaphor for something? I just had to get that out of the way because it’s been stuck in my head since i first saw the trailer for this. Anyway, this was a little disappointing. After the second Expendables movie took everything from the first one and made it bigger and better i was hoping this one would continue that trend, but apart from the cast everything really does just feel smaller. It seems like the budget for this one was a lot less than the first two. The locations are just so bland and grey all the time i had trouble figuring out where everyone was half the time.

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And the action sequences has also been toned down a lot thanks to a ridicules PG-13 rating. Why is this rated PG-13? This is supposed to be a throwback franchise to the great R rated action movies of the 80’s and 90’s. Not something that is supposed to compete with this decades PG-13 super hero action craze. It really did ruin the movie a lot for me. Jason Statham barely get’s to use his knives this time, and when he does it’s off screen. There is also no blood whenever someone get’s shot. This franchise has always used those awful CG blood squibs before, but even that is better than nothing. You don’t get any memorable death scenes here like someone getting a knife kicked into his chest or getting his head cut to pieces by a plane propeller. Statham has to take out the main henchman by just knocking his head into a wall and even the supposed ‘epic’ showdown between Sly and Mel Gibson that the entire movie has been building towards is over in about a minute.

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Most of the action and fight scenes are also filled with awful shaky cam and quick cuts to hide most of the violence and it just looks awful. That is one of the worst trends in action movies these days and now it has infected this franchise as well. If they had gone with the R rating i’m sure this movie could have had a lot of memorable moments, but this one really didn’t have any. I just watched it and i can’t think of any part of any action scene that stuck out to me. And the other thing that really dragged this movie down for the was most of the new cast members. Mel Gibson, Antonio Banderas and especially Wesley Snipes were all great. Snipes stole all the scenes he were in. But all the new kids just did nothing for me.

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Again, this is supposed to be a throwback franchise to the classic action movies and it’s action heroes. I don’t want to see a bunch of 20 year old kids running around trying to show everyone up. Kellan Lutz was especially annoying. He was trying so hard to be this tough and brooding leader of the new kids and he just looked ridicules. They were hinting towards him taking over the franchise in the future at the end of this movie and if that happens then i’m gonna stop watching. I really wished they had just left all of those kids out of this movie and had just given more screen time to the actual Expendables. That’s who people want to see. But even with all of my complaints i did still kind of enjoy the movie. Like i said, when the Expendables themselves are on screen i liked it. Wesley Snipes was definitely the saving grace of this movie. Antonio Banderas was also good, but they could have toned him down a little bit. I get that he’s supposed to be annoying, but that does not mean he has to annoy the audience as well. Harrison Ford really just took over the Bruce Willis part, but did a fine job at it.

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Mel Gibson did a good job with what little he had to work with. This has to be the smallest amount of time given to any main villain of the franchise so far. That is pretty odd considering this is also the longest movie of the franchise so far. But i guess all those damn kids needed their screen time as well. If not for them and the PG-13 rating this could have been a great movie, but in the end it’s just an okay one at best. I feel like i’m being very generous to it by giving it a 6/10 right now, but that might change the more i think about it. This is very disappointing considering this blog is pretty much named after this franchise, but hopefully they will learn from their mistakes this time and be back to an R rating and less kids in the fourth one.

“How hard can it be to kill ten men?”

How hard can it be to kill ten men?”

“You wanna man up? I’ll man you up.”

You wanna man up? I’ll man you up.”

“What do you wear, size 3? Bring it, happy feet.”

What do you wear, size 3? Bring it, happy feet.”

Hey guys.

Hey guys. Anyone gonna go see The Expendables 3 this weekend? I’m a bit worried about it because of the PG-13 downgrade and half the cast including teenagers now, but i’ll check it out anyway. I must also apologize for the lack of content here lately. I need to figure out something else to do here besides just posting action movie posters because i will run out eventually. If anyone has any suggestions i’m happy to hear them. I will also get up a review of The Expendables 3 either after watching it tonight or tomorrow morning. I hope it’s good.

 

“There are two things that are infinite: femininity and means to take advantage of it.”

There are two things that are infinite: femininity and means to take advantage of it.”

“Dry hair’s for squids.”

Dry hair’s for squids.”

“Don’t call me babe!”

Don’t call me babe!”