15 Variations on the Die Hard Format That Make You Think, ‘Wow, I Want To Watch ‘Die Hard’’

15 Variations on the Die Hard Format That Make You Think, ‘Wow, I Want To Watch ‘Die Hard’’

Die Hard is so, so good. The festive tale of one dude in over his head but refusing to give up, even when he loses his shoes — his shoes! — to do the right thing, save his wife and vanquish the impeccably groomed baddie is about as endlessly quotable, rewatchable and influential a movie as has ever been made.

Understandably enough, a huge amount of movies were subsequently made that aped its formula, to the extent that “Die Hard on a…” became shorthand both in the industry and the world at large for the whole solo-underdog-battling-baddies thing.

Plenty of movies inspired by Die Hard are really good, but even then, you often can’t help feeling as the credits roll that you might have had a better two hours watching the original Die Hard again…

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‘Home Alone’ Had the Next Best Thing to Alan Rickman

CRACKED A lot of memes have been generated over the years about the Die Hard-iness of Kevin McCallister's tale. One thing it absolutely nails is having a proper capital-A Actor as the villain - Joe Pesci is simultaneously comical and genuinely terrifying.


The ‘Has Fallen’ Trilogy Aimed for Iconic Swearing and Did… Something

CRACKED Yippee ki-yay, motherfucker is an all-time great line, even if the sequels ran it into the ground. Gerard Butler's trilogy, starting with Olympus Has Fallen, contains the line Go back to Fuckheadistan, which, well, at least they tried.


Toy Soldiers’ Had Wesley Crusher as Mr. Takagi

CRACKED The death of Mr. Takagi in Die Hard is when you realize how seriously Hans Gruber's gang means business. In the boarding school variation Toy Soldiers, it's Wil Wheaton who is gunned down, an emotionally confusing experience for many viewers.


‘Under Siege’ Is Missing John McClane’s Humanity

CRACKED USN Steven Seagal's Casey Ryback is no John McClane. He's better, which ironically makes for a worse viewing experience - McClane bleeds and winces in an all-too-relatable way, while Ryback is a savagely efficient warrior and somehow not as good.


‘Sudden Death’ Understood the Shoelessness

CRACKED There's a fight scene in the JCVD/hockey version that's absolutely exhausting. As in Die Hard, the impacts seem to hurt like hell, with the winner still in a lot of pain. Also, it's against a giant penguin mascot.

Film Stories

‘Air Force One’ Learned About Integrity

CRACKED John McClane can leave at any time, but chooses to stay because he's That Guy. Harrison Ford's president does the same in Air Force One, opting into a deadly situation because it's the right thing to fucking do, goddamn it.


‘White House Down’ Took wardrobe cues

CRACKED Singlet, tank top, vest, beater - whatever you call it, it's great in an action flick. Exposed flesh accentuates vulnerability, while tightness makes a buff dude look awesome. Channing Tatum knew exactly what he was doing getting dressed for WHD.


‘The Rock’ Chose Banter Over Jeopardy

CRACKED The Rock is awesome - Die Hard on Alcatraz - but in splitting its John McClane figure into two people (Nicolas Cage and Sean Connery), trades lone-wolf stakes for an admittedly really fun reluctant-buds vibe.


‘Skyscraper’ Missed the Point

CRACKED Bruce Willis used to tell a story about being pitched a movie that was Die Hard... in a skyscraper! by an executive who perhaps hadn't seen Die Hard. Skyscraper, starring Dwayne The Rock Johnson, is exactly that, and is shit.


‘Final Score’ Knew Europeans Are Trash

CRACKED Despite being set at a London soccer match, Final Score's hero is Dave Bautista, thwarting Eastern European terrorists played by Ray Stevenson and Pierce Brosnan (Irish and Northern Irish respectively), because there's something about a baddie doing an accent.


‘Violent Night’ Overdid the Christmasiness

CRACKED Dull internet users love debating whether Die Hard is a Christmas film (it isn't, it's a film set at Christmas). No debate concerns Violent Night, a Santa-themed Die Hard riff too festive to watch any other time of year.


‘The River Wild’ Brought Kids into It

CRACKED Die Hard in a raft with Meryl Streep, but better than that sounds, The River Wild has Tim from Jurassic Park in it. He's little - there's no way he or his mom will die hideously, which saps the tension.


‘Becky’ Forgot to Make Its Villain Charming

CRACKED Hans Gruber is so charismatic that, even though he's a nasty bastard, you can't help rooting for him a teeny-tiny bit and enjoying his awfulness. The baddie of Becky is a white supremacist played by Kevin James. Fuck him!

Roger Ebert

‘Hostage’ Forgot There’s More to ‘Die Hard’ Than Bruce Willis and a Building

CRACKED Described by its director as an arthouse version of Die Hard, Hostage is... no Die Hard. You can't just surround Bruce Willis with shit going wrong and get a masterpiece.

The Movie Buff 

‘Speed’ Shows You Can, Possibly, Improve on Perfection

CRACKED Fire Extinguisher Speed is Die Hard on a bus, elevator and train, plus has Keanu Reeves. It's perfect - even better than Die Hard, but it couldn't exist without the original (on which director Jan De Bont was cinematographer).


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