In the years after the first Die Hard movie came out there was a sort of craze of “Die Hard In a [Insert Location]” movies. This reached its zenith between the years of 1992-1997 or so, with films like Under Siege (On a Ship), Cliffhanger (On a mountain), Sudden Death (In a Hockey Rink), Under Siege 2 (On a train), The Rock (In Alcatraz) and Con Air (On a prison plane), as well as many others. Then there were of course countless straight-to-video films no one’s heard of. But eventually this fad kind of faded out. Which is sad because it’s a pretty awesome “genre” of sorts.
And with the recent release of the “Die Hard in the White House” flicks White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen, as well as the fifth Die Hard movie earlier this year, we at Filmophilia think it’s time to revive this craze (though the box office disappointment of all three indicates that it’s probably not gonna happen… but it doesn’t hurt to be optimistic!). We’ve come up with a few ideas, most of which haven’t been done before and none of which have been done properly. You can probably imagine John McClane in most, if not all, of the situations but we’d like to imagine there’s a new “everyman” in each situation.
The basic concept has one man (though he will definitely be getting some help, eventually, he’ll mostly be on his own) who has to fend off a group of baddies of some sort in an isolated and/or closed-off space (i.e. a vehicle or building of some sort, or something like a mountain) in which he has to play a cat-and-mouse game with the antagonists and has to use his wits and make do with what he has, as blowing shit up is not always the best solution (though it sometimes is). This “one man” hero can also be a woman, of course. He/she also doesn’t have to be Caucasian. Hell, he/she could even be a teenager or a kid (it’s been done already in films like Toy Soldiers and Masterminds). But with the state of modern cinema it’s most likely that the hero would be a white male, aged 30-40 or thereabouts, though hopefully in the not-too-distant future it could just as well be a middle-aged asian woman.
Just to get you in the mood before you read the list here’s a couple of trailers for two Die Hard clones.
And then there’s… this:
So anyway, and please excuse the overt use of the phrase “Or something”, here goes the list:
10. On a Truck
This could be a sort of cross between Speed and Duel, with a touch of Runaway Train and Breakdown, or something. A truck is going full-speed towards some place, and for some reason it cannot stop (Either it’s rigged to explode if it goes below 50 or…the brakes don’t work!). There’s possibly also a couple of baddies in it (making sure the plan will work… though of course this means they’re either willing to sacrifice their lives… oooooor… they’ve got ejector seats with parachutes!) or they might be remotely controlling from the outside, but one lone hero has found his (or her ) way to the back of the truck and has got to get to the front and stop the baddies, as well as finding a way to stop the truck without blowing it up. And of course, the cargo is extra-sensitive (and extra precious). Imagine the suspense!
9. In a Zoo
“It’s feeding time.” In which our hero temporarily becomes a lion tamer. This time, the so-called terrorists are also a somewhat sympathetic group of animal rights activists. But of course they still go to far, and our hero, the ex Navy-Seal/Lion tamer turned cage cleaner, decides to take out the trash. This involves using a lion as a weapon, someone being mauled by penguins and some clever use of snakes, not to mention one-liners like “Welcome to the bottom of the food chain!” and “Bid my regards to Dumbo” which our hero says to a baddie just before he gets trampled by elephants!
8. In an Elevator
A large elevator gets stuck between floors and a couple of guys inside it take all the others prisoner. But an ex-soldier turned janitor climbs into the elevator shaft and tries to fuck things up for the bad guys. Imagine the opening scene in Speed turned to feature-length, with the elevator regularly dropping a few floors (they start at the 100th floor). Could be a little repetitive though, the solution to that problem would be to put enough colorful characters on that elevator, as well as having plenty of interesting and fun characters waiting and doing stuff on the outside, like in the first Die Hard movie.
7. In a Helicopter
A bit small perhaps, but it could work. One man takes over a helicopter and our hero is constantly trying to come up with ways to take him down without crashing the helicopter. Eventually they crash the helicopter on a mountain top and the entire second half of the movie it’s dangling of a mountain, with everyone fighting for their lives. Eventually the good guys and bad guys might even have to team up to fight the perils of nature, just before they have a final showdown on the top of the mountain. And of course, at some point, some one will fall into the helicopter blade.
6. On a Bridge
“No more hanging around”. The ideas are getting pretty far-fetched by now. Basically our hero gets stuck on a bridge where both ends are somehow blocked, probably rigged with explosives. The bridge would of course be filled with cars in which there would be lots of stuff he could use to kill the bad guys, like window cleaner and tires and shit. At the very least he could just drive over all of them. Of course this movie would preferably be set on the Golden Gate bridge and the climax will be at the top of the bridge, similar to the James Bond movie A View To a Kill, only much cooler.
5. In a Restaurant
Death… by food! Or just pots and pans. A group of disgruntled food critics take over the most distinguished restaurant in New York and demand better wages! And better food! But the former marine turned maitre’d does not agree with their reviews, and he’s gonna give them a four star worth of asswhooping! See our hero stick a bad guy into the deep frier! See our hero stick pots and pans in a microwave, turning it into a bomb! See our hero use pans as a shield! See our hero choke a bad guy with a cucumber! Not to mention one-liners like “Waiter, there’s a corpse in my soup!”. And of course, it would be called Dine Hard.
4. On an Oil Rig
Why has this idea not been done? Of course, the main problem would be that the hero couldn’t blow things up because then… everything could blow up. Then again, that’s exactly the way things should be which makes an oil rig pretty much perfect for this. Of course, everything will be blown up in the end anyway (causing some major oil spillage). The terrorists could even be sort-of-good guys this time, people who are protesting how much oil is being spent and spilled and how we can easily survive without oil. They want more electric cars or something. But they go too far and thus deserve to be punished. Should be very fascist, and very fun.
3. In a Submarine
You could say it has already been made in the likes of K-19 and Crimson Tide, and in fact it has been made in a low-budget straight-to-DVD actioner starring Dolph Lundgren. But really, we haven’t had a really, really badass “Die Hard in a Submarine” movie in which bad guys take over a sub and one man has to save the day. But why take over a sub? Probably because it’s got a nuclear warheads in it and the terrorists can threaten to blow everything up if the United Nations don’t free their brothers in arms from prison. A submarine setting sets limitations which is exactly what is needed for a movie of this sort. Our hero can’t blow everything up because he might sink the sub and even blow up the warheads. It’s also not a good idea to shoot guns all over the place as it could breach the hull, filling everything with water. This of course means plenty of hand-to-hand combat and creative use of various utensils aboard the sub, which is what Die Hard clones are all about.
2. In a Mall
No, Paul Blart: Mall Cop doesn’t count. Just imagine the possibilities: Our hero is chased by a bad guy into a sporting goods store where he is forced to use a basketball, a canoe and a fishing rod as weapons. Then in the next scene he goes into a toy store and impales a bad guy with a Barbie doll! Then there would be the obligatory escalator fight and of course the hero would get his way into the speaker system for the entire mall and call “It’s closing time, motherfuckers!” just before he blows up some bad guys. Though it would be awesome if the hero would get through the entire movie (or at least most of it) without using a gun or a bomb (at least not of the traditional kind, but rather some McGyver-esque shit). As for why they’re holding an entire mall hostage, does it matter? One idea might be that the mall is owned by the richest man in the world and he’s opening a new part of the mall, or something, and somebody’s got a grudge against him. Or maybe it’s the world’s biggest mall and the president is there. Who cares? Any excuse would be fine to see a proper “Die Hard in a Mall” film.
1. Aboard a Hovercraft
And of course, it would be full of EELS! Or maybe not. Does anyone even use these things anymore? Doesn’t matter anyway, as hovercrafts are awesome. Who doesn’t wanna watch an entire action film set aboard a hovercraft? This is a vehicle that can travel over water as well as various kinds of terrain, which means the possibilities are endless. In one scene you can have someone going through the propeller, leaving a trail of red in the ocean, and then in a later scene the hovercraft might be going down a street in big city. Jackie Chan has already made good use of a hovercraft in his film Rumble in the Bronx (See the clip here below, then imagine it stretched to full length, only with much better acting and dialogue). But we need a feature-length movie with this vehicle. The Plot could be something like this: A new Superhovercraft designed for use by the army is being inaugurated and a man of high prestige (the president or something) is present at its maiden voyage. But one terrorist with a grudge and his band of men take over the vehicle. It’s up to one man, a former U.S. marine turned Hovercraft maintenance guy (or something), to save the day!
Jackie Chan on a hovercraft:
Here’s the rest of that hovercraft scene.
Honorable mentions: Waterpark, Phone booth, Underwater, Gas station, On ice, Ski resort, On a movie set.