ByBrian Salisbury, writer at
Brian Salisbury

This Valentine's Day, everybody's getting some action. That's right, A Good Day to Die Hard, the fifth installment of the franchise, will hit theaters. once again takes up the mantle of John McClane, history's most unlucky police officer. This time around, he's in Russia to help his CIA agent son Jack () as he tries to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of the underworld. So, you know, typical father/son bonding time.

So let's say it's been awhile since you've revisited this series, and you're looking for the perfect way to get yourself pumped for the latest entry. You could dust off those old DVDs that have been languishing on the shelf, or you could experience these films as they were meant to be seen. Thanks to Coming Soon, we know that Twentieth Century Fox Films has announced that, for one day only, it is bringing all the previous Die Hard films back to the big screen. On February 13th, you can catch a marathon feature of Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Live Free or Die Hard. The event will then culminate with a showing of A Good Day to Die Hard.

Check local listings for place and start time.

This is fantastic news that makes me want to stand up and shout cowboy-lingo-infused expletives. First and foremost, no matter how advanced streaming and video-on-demand services become, nothing will ever top theatrical exhibition. The thrill of seeing McClane's heroics, and the inevitable destruction that follows on the big screen, is part and parcel of why movies are made in the first place. This kind of event usually requires that one live in a city with an Alamo Drafthouse, but lately it seems the major multiplexes all around the country have seen the value of showcasing classic films in repertory screenings. I remember when the new digital transfer of Lawrence of Arabia played at my local popcornplex. My hope is that events like this will earn enough box office bread to be repeat occurrences.

Die Hard is not simply one of my favorite action films, it is one of my favorite films of any genre. It's a sublimely constructed, uber bloody showdown between good and evil. It proves that heroes can rise to face seemingly insurmountable odds, even with no time to prepare. It's an extension of the American can-do spirit that we can become makeshift supermen (or women). That's why, I theorize, McClane is taking on an international gang of terrorists in that Nakatomi tower; literally taking on the whole world as he works his way to the top.

Die Hard 2 is by no means a bad film, but too much of its appeal comes from 's lazy affectations of what worked about the first movie. Die Hard with a Vengeance, on the other hand, takes the formula and weaves into it a classic style buddy cop movie. The return of is more than welcomed as the relationship between Willis and is perfectly pitched against stellar action sequences. And then comes Live Free or Die Hard. The basic conceit by which this franchise has so ingratiated itself to audiences is that McClane is an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation; sort of a violent version of the Hitchcockian hero. In LFoDH, he's some sort of god-like entity who can leap jets on motorcycles and other generally impossible things. That, coupled with the fact that he's basically taking on a Best Buy Geek Squad, is the reason the fourth falls so irreconcilably flat.

All that said, it would be excellent to watch all the movies one after the other if only to leave fresh in our minds what works and what doesn't about the various entries. Hopefully, A Good Day to Die Hard will be more Die Hard 3, and less Die Hard 4. Die Hard!


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