A couple of weeks ago I saw A Good Day to Die Hard. Last weekend, I saw the original Die Hard and man, what a disappointment that was. I mean, in the first movie he’s all afraid of flying glass and a few dudes with automatic weapons. In this last movie, he dives through windows before falling 10 stories into construction scafolding without the slightest hesitation. In the the original he’s all whiny as he pulls a little sliver of glass out of his foot. In the last Die Hard movie, he laughs while pulling out a piece of metal rebar impaled in his son’s stomach. In Die Hard, John McClane is worried about his wife being in danger and feels bad when some yuppie scumbag gets killed over the phone. In A Good Day to Die Hard, John McClane never seems worried at all that his only son may get killed despite the fact that they are hopelessly outgunned and outnumbered. It never crosses his mind that he might be hurt or feels any remorse about the scores of humanity he willfully cuts down. Isn’t that awesome?
Alright, alright. Enough. Yes, Die Hard is really a masterpiece of action cinema, holding up better today than it did over two decades ago. And yes, A Good Day to Die Hard is really pretty shitty. I mean, just piss poor. But it did inspire me think about the evolution of John McClane . In Die Hard, John McClane is just a tough, resourceful cop in a really terrible situation just fighting for his life and trying to make it through the night. By the fifth movie, John McClane is entirely something else. He has survived so many near-death experiences and slaughtered so many people, it has become so clear to him. It is not hard for him to die, it is impossible.
So like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, while he may not be the God, he is clearly a God. Like Ares or Thor, he is diety. He is the manifestation of death and chaos. Humanity is a plaything for his amusement. And why not? Everything from the original Die Hard on reinforces this idea. And he keeps pushing it further and further where, by this last movie, he is falling through buildings to land in radioactive water (rain water, my ass) just to see if he can still feel pain anymore. He’s Roy Batty with less humanity. If you asked him a question about a tortoise, he’d just smirk and execute you. And his son? Don’t worry, he’s a McClane. Like Zeus addressing Perseus, McClane just wants his namesake to embrace his omnipotence and bond with his old man as they just fucking kill everyone.
Next Die Hard movie, John McClane jumps into a volcano on fucking Mars with no space suit, then ends up fighting a race of aliens while constantly mugging to the camera and barking “I’m on vacation.” Remember, you heard it here first.