Returning to roots

moviereviewdiehardPlot Summary: Since the first Die Hard in 1988, John McClane has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, with the skills and attitude to always be the last man standing, making him enemy #1 for terrorists the world over.

Now, McClane faces his greatest challenge ever, this time on an international stage, when his estranged son Jack is caught up in the daring prison escape of a rogue Russian leader, and father and son McClane must work together to keep each other alive and keep the world safe for democracy.

When it comes to the Die Hard franchise, there seems to be two schools of thought. There are those who believe that John McClane’s big-screen exploits have run their course, and then there are those devoted fans who refuse to let the modern-day cowboy ride off into the sunset.

The last entry — Live Free or Die Hard (2007) — was particularly criticised for toning down the gritty, more intense tone for a PG-13 rating. Of course, the rationale here was to maximise box office returns, but the resulting film ended up focusing more on over-the-top action sequences (McClane versus a jet!) than the melee style fighting from the previous films.

Also gone was McClane’s profane sense of humour, and even his famous catchphrase was abbreviated to appease studio executives. However, this latest news regarding the upcoming fifth film should be welcoming to even the most skeptical of fans.

According to Ain’t It Cool News, it has been confirmed that A Good Day to Die Hard will receive an R rating, due to the violent content in the film. A series of TV spots touting the newly-rated film is expected to hit the airwaves this week.

Initial reaction to A Good Day to Die Hard has been decidedly mixed, though that was not helped by one of the worst posters of 2012. However, most moviegoers can agree that the 1988 original film is an undisputed classic, and anything the new film can do to hue closer to the tone of McClane’s initial adventure is a wise move to win back fans.

This is not to say that A Good Day to Die Hard will measure up to the first film. After all, its use of suspense, character-driven drama and extreme action has been imitated endlessly over the years, with few films (including its own sequels) achieving the same level of success. If anything, though, this is a reason to hope that the franchise (which may be ending after its next entry) can return to its roots somewhat.

Does the fact that this new film will be rated R make you more interested in seeing it, or is it time for the Die Hard franchise to, well, die?

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