Die Hard - 25th Anniversary Blu-ray Collection
As we gear up for the 5th installment in the "Die Hard" series, I ask: what makes John McClane the be-all end-all of action stars? Because, make no mistake, he is. Even franchises like "The Terminator" and "Rambo" wish they had McClane’s credibility and long-lasting "street cred." So what makes him such an icon - even when most of his movies aren’t that good?
What makes the persona work, surprisingly enough for a "I’m too old for this shit" type character, is that he’s quite adaptable. McClane is always the action star we want him to be at that point in time; his personas in previous films be damned. In "Die Hard," he’s the relatable everyman, cracking wise while he knocks off nameless baddies, and embodying the spirit of cowboy wisdom for the Reagan 80s (it’s also, for the record, one of the greatest movies ever made.)
But he hasn’t aged out the way Schwarzenegger and Stallone have, because John McClane ’grew up’ with the decades instead of remaining a nostalgia item. In the late 80s, me-generation "Die Harder" (yes, that’s really the title), he continues down the conservative path; mowing down slightly-more-politically-motivated baddies while bringing his family together, once and for all (because let’s be honest, a divorced action here is a little too ’dangerous’ for audiences to deal with for more than one sequel.)
The 90s roll around, and John McClane got urban: "Die Hard with a Vengeance" could pretty much be called a battle-of-the-races comedy (whether that’s highly offensive is a subject for another article). And in the 2000s, in "Live Free or Die Hard," McClane started jumping from helicopters and pulling off stunts only CGI could make happen. What happened to our down-to-earth star? The truth is, we outgrew him. Now we prefer spandex and superpowers to hard-boiled and pissed off. So to mold with the times, John McClane stopped being a man, and started being a superhero.
The new "Die Hard Collection" isn’t much for those looking for extra features: each disc is a previously released version of the movie (most of them have been on shelves for years,) with nothing added to those releases as far as special features or the video transfer goes. A brand new fifth disc, "Decoding Die Hard," offers a number of featurettes: one on the villains of the series, another on the stunts, and another on McClane’s legacy; and more. But none of these segments, all of them short talking-heads scenes, have interviews with Bruce Willis! The man we paid to see is nowhere to be found, his smaller co-stars asked to swoon about him instead. So if your only interest is in extras, this set is worth skipping.
But if you’re gleefully counting down the days to "A Good Day to Die Hard," and just want an excuse to re-watch the series, then this is a must-own. Some of these movies might let you down. But at least John McClane won’t.
"Die Hard: 25th Anniversary Collection"