Tag Archives: Die Hard

Potted Film Review: Skyscraper (2018)

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Chin Hanskyscraper-poster-600x9502100222201.jpg

What’s it all about?
The Rock is Will, an FBI operative who loses his leg below the knee and has a prosthetic attachment for the remainder of the movie. A decade later and he is a security consultant for the world’s taest skyscraper, which is in Hong Kong.

A group of terrorists break in to the building and start a fire in order to take control of the situation, but as luck would have it, Will’s children are now stranded and it is up to him to save the day and take down the bad guys…

…which he does about an hour later courtesy of a lot of not-so-special effects, some awful stunt work, and one particularly ludicrous moment where my suspension of disbelief was taken beyond breaking point. Yes, you can see it in that poster.

Watching it with the kids…
Yeah, go on. This is family friendly entertainment… although I use that term loosely.

Verdict…
I went in to this one with high hopes. The Rock is a very charismatic performer, so at least it has him going for it, right? Well… no. This is very much in the mould of Die Hard, although I feel dirty even making that comparison because Skyscraper has none of the action, stunts, heart, soul, humour, or pathos of that classic. It’s a one-legged imitation.

It pains me to say so, but this is a poor Dwayne Johnson movie, and one I will never go back to.

Not Recommended

Please Stop Remaking My Childhood…

220px-fridaythe13th2009The release this week of Pet Sematary is just the latest example of the lack of creativity in Hollywood today. Admittedly, it’s been getting great reviews, and the original was an average movie at best, but I don’t think there were many people screaming for it to be revisited in the first place. Well, perhaps Stephen King was on board with it, but he’s certainly not averse to the odd retake anyway.

ghostbusters_2016_film_posterI guess, if we must see things a second time, the very least a filmmaker can do is polish up something that wasn’t very good in the first place. The object of the exercise should be to improve upon the source material. If it isn’t, why are you wasting everyone’s time?

Point-Break-2015-Poster-Advance-Style-buy-original-movie-posters-at-starstillsOf course, there are some examples where the revision is better than the first try (Scarface, The Thing, The Fly), but for every smile there’s a frown. Does anyone think Jude Law’s version of Alfie is superior to Michael Caine’s effort? Or that the Poltergeist from 2015 is greater than the classic 1982 movie it’s based on? Hell, I didn’t even know that was a thing until recently.

MV5BN2ZiMDMzYWItNDllZC00ZmRmLWI1YzktM2M5M2ZmZDg1OGNlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQ2MTMzODA@._V1_So, with all the remakes, reboots and reimaginings that have done the rounds over the last few years, here are ten properties (not exhaustive, by any means) that I never want to see redone, because I do not believe it is possible for them to be bettered:

  • Airplane!
  • Back to the Future
  • Die Hard
  • Duel
  • Dirty Harry
  • First Blood
  • The Goonies
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Jaws
  • Rocky

Let me be clear: these are not perfect movies. Some of them I wouldn’t even consider to be amongst my favourites. But every one of them is an example of how sometimes, the total package is greater than the sum of a production’s parts.

These movies are quite simply, lightning in a bottle – a confluence of facets and factors that cannot be repeated. They each have an intangible quality that is impossible to quantify, or to replicate a generation later, no matter how talented or dedicated the team working on it may be.

Yippee Kiy Yay…

The best Christmas movie there has ever been (yes, I’ll fight you on it), and the quintessential action movie that every other is still trying to follow, was first screened in the UK thirty years ago today.

Hell, it is quite possibly the greatest movie of all time. In any genre. Full stop. I am of course, talking about Die Hard.

“Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.”

Three decades on, and its simple but effective premise has yet to be bettered. The sequels, er…  try hard to recapture that initial glory, and the franchise occasionally even comes close to hitting that big screen G-spot with some of the set pieces that follow, but the original eighties classic stands alone – as tall and proud as the iconic Nakatomi Plaza itself.




Friday Fiction Fixes #32…

A Die Hard Christmas by Doogie Horner (illustrated by JJ Harrison) – 2017

61Io8Q8CuHL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Now I don’t make a habit of reading illustrated storybooks, much less receiving them as Christmas gifts, but this year in my festive stocking, I found this little marvel from my sister – something that I didn’t even know existed. Having read it and seen the presentation I’m surprised it took so long to turn this genius idea into a reality.

A Die Hard Christmas is based upon the greatest movie ever made* boiled down to thirty pages of rhyming couplets, complete with gorgeous illustrations throughout. There are some instantly memorable visuals that really (somewhat surprisingly) capture the action classic, and the story itself (even more surprisingly) actually works quite well in this condensed form.

Of course, it goes without saying that despite the surface appearance, A Die Hard Christmas is not for children. The visuals are filled with blood, and there’s a choice expletive to end the story, so please don’t mistake this for something written by Julia Donaldson.

I only wish I had thought of the idea first.

* This is not up for debate.

An Odd Parallel…

When I turned twenty-five I dumped the seventeen year old girl I was going out with because she had never seen my favourite movie, Die Hard.

Now I’m forty-one, and the twenty-five year old girl I was with today has also never seen my favourite movie, Die Hard.

What is wrong with you people? Please end this cycle. Go and watch my favourite movie, Die Hard.

diehard_3

Grumpy Old Man (Items 16 – 20)…

When I started this, I didn’t think I had quite as many gripes as I (obviously) do…

  • People who say things like: “it feels like a Wednesday”, when it’s Thursday. Or Tuesday. Or even worse – when it is Wednesday. Is this really the intellectual level of your conversation? These are often the same people who proclaim —
  • — “but it’s really only five o’clock”, for days after the clocks have gone forward. How long can they continue to say that before it becomes irrelevant? No it isn’t five o’clock. Not here. You know where it is five o’clock? An hour to the west, that’s where. Across that imaginary line. But they never learn, because six months later when the clocks go back they say: “but it’s really still five o’clock.”
  • The guy who walks up to you in the office and wishes you a Happy New Year in April. Yes, April. Are you kidding me? And then he will try to shake your hand too. Give it a rest. From now on, Happy New Year well-wishes are banned once January is over… and even that seems generous.
  • Movie reboots. Stop doing it. Come up with new ideas. Not only are few of them any good, but recently re-imagined stuff like The Karate Kid or Total Recall invariably makes me feel old, because the originals reminds me of my childhood. If Hollywood ever even thinks about remaking Die Hard (the greatest action movie ever made), they will have to go through me first.
  • Self-service checkouts. They were invented to decrease the time it takes for you to buy your goods and increase traffic flow, but all I see is a bunch of machines that rarely recognise the item you try to scan, and an endless procession of people fruitlessly trying to peel apart the walls of those stupid plastic bags.

A friend has asked if these niggles are sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek, to which I said:

“Sure, tongue-in-cheek, yeah. Of course.”