die hard prequel

Bruce Willis has given many superb performances in many superb movies. He has proven himself to be the consummate “everyman” action hero and he has held his own opposite some of the best actors in the business. He had the good taste to work with Quentin Tarantino, Rian Johnson, and M. Night Shyamalan before they were well-known and could attract movie stars like a metal to magnet. When he’s on, Bruce Willis is very good at what he does and a joy to watch perform.

We’ve got to say all of this nice stuff up front because we’re going to get awfully mean very soon. Because Willis has officially started talking about Die Hard: Year Zero, aka, one of the worst-sounding ideas to emerge from Hollywood in ages, and he thinks it is “a very good idea” and a “really cool idea.” This leads to one of two conclusions: Either Mr. Willis is crazy, or he’s already planning how he’ll spend that sweet, sweet paycheck that will come with appearing in the film’s modern-day bookends.

You can find Willis’ words on the Die Hard prequel after the jump.

Entertainment Tonight cornered Willis on the red carpet for Rock the Kasbah, where they grilled him about the upcoming prequel from Live Free or Die Hard director Len Wiseman. Willis gave a classic “cornered on the red carpet by Entertainment Tonight” answer:

It’s a very good idea, a really tricky idea, and I’m very happy about it. It’s a really cool idea, because it’s the origin story. It’s gonna happen at the beginning of this. We’re going to bounce back and forth.

Look, we’re not dumb enough to hope or expect Willis to slag off a project of any kind in public, but seeing those words coming from his mouth is profoundly depressing. Sure, Willis’ taste has been spotty in recent years, as he’s obviously gravitated toward small roles in desperate movies willing to pay him an absurd day-rate (Vice, anyone?). But we had hoped that he’d be a little more protective of John McClane. Maybe he understands that this whole thing is a bad idea, but really wants to remodel his kitchen or something.

The whole point of the original 1988 Die Hard is that John McClane is a perfectly ordinary cop with no serious ambitions who finds himself in an impossibly dangerous and insane scenario. The fun of the film, which is still quite possibly the best pure action movie ever made, is watching this ordinary guy forced into the action hero role. That’s what the later films in the series forgot. It’s okay for McClane to engage in crazy stunts, but he’s got to be terrified and astounded by everything that’s happening around him. The fear is missing from his eyes.

Die Hard: Year Zero, by the very nature of its existence, breaks the the mythos of the first film. This means that John McClane had an adventure years before the first Die Hard that is worthy of cinematic treatment, which means that his journey in the original movie is pointless. It’s such a baffling choice. The only person in the world who seems enthused by the concept is Wiseman, who proudly shared the film’s title treatment on Twitter. Read the responses to that Tweet if you want some great examples of righteous fan rage.

Watching Bruce Willis steadily stop caring over the years has been profoundly depressing. Then again, Willis did make Looper and Moonshine Kingdom, so it’s not like he’s done delivering great performances in great movies. If Die Hard: Year Zero pays him well enough to take a chance on a smaller movie that will allow him to actually showcase his considerable talents rather than sleepwalk, then maybe it’ll be worth it. After all, the Die Hard series was already maimed beyond repair with A Good Day to Die Hard. All we can do now is look the other way.

There’s a reason the new Blu-ray box set is housed in a giant Nakatomi Plaza model – nothing beyond that first movie matters.

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Have something to say about this post?
Click to join the discussion.