Since the fifth Die Hard film was released today, I thought it would be fitting to examine the series, which has been around for 25 years.
Die Hard (John McTiernan, 1988)
On a Christmas Eve visit from New York, Officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) plays cat and mouse in a locked-down L.A. skyscraper with a group of terrorists (led by Alan Rickman). Bruce Willis is iconic in one of the best action films ever made. Period.
Die Hard 2 (Renny Harlin, 1990)
McClane fights a unit of rogue military officers (led by William Sadler) who have taken over an airport in Washington, D.C. so that they can extract a foreign drug lord from the U.S. It's a step down from the original, but a worthy follow-up to a genre classic.
Die Hard with a Vengeance (John McTiernan, 1995)
McClane and a man from the neighborhood (Samuel L. Jackson) go head to head with a terrorist (Jeremy Irons) who stages some bombings throughout New York City and robs Wall Street. This is solid entertainment with great chemistry between Willis and Jackson.
Live Free or Die Hard (Len Wiseman, 2007)
With the help of a young computer hacker (Justin Long), McClane must rescue his daughter (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and stop a cyber terrorist (Timothy Olymphant) from accessing important FBI information in the process. It's not on par with the first three, but it's fun seeing an older McClane do what he does best.
A Good Day to Die Hard (John Moore, 2013)
McClane heads to Moscow to find his trouble-making son (Jai Courtney) and becomes entangled in a nuclear weapons conflict, which leads to Chernobyl itself. Despite Willis' lovable on-screen persona, the aging McClane formula seems to have run its course, and the plot is arguably too rushed for its own good.
Ranking & Ratings:
1. Die Hard - ****
2. Die Hard with a Vengeance - ***1/2
3. Die Hard 2 - ***1/2
4. Live Free or Die Hard - ***
5. A Good Day to Die Hard - **