Today is Valentine’s Day, which can only mean one thing. It’s time for terrorists and mayhem! That’s right, “A Good Day to Die Hard,” the fifth film in the “Die Hard” franchise opens in theaters today with yet another installment of everyday policeman John McClane laying waste to global villains. The franchise has since gone away from its original premise, but the idea of a lone man in the wrong place at the wrong time facing near impossible odds to fight off bad guys was so well done in the original film that it naturally spawned many copycats. Soon after the release of “Die Hard” in 1988, there were many similarly made action films which featured lone heroes in specific locations which could all be summarized as “Die Hard on a ___.” Most were forgettable but some of those copycat films actually turned out to be very entertaining and went on to become blockbusters, leading to sequels themselves.
Here’s a look at my Fab Five “Die Hard” copycats. What’s your favorite “Die Hard” copycat film?
#1 - Speed (6 of 6)
Premise: "Die Hard" on a bus
"Speed" doesn't follow the "Die Hard" formula to a "t" as the film actually takes place in an elevator shaft and a subway in addition to the bus, and the villain isn't in the same space as the hero for most of the movie, but it's close enough.
This film is just all kinds of awesome. First time director Jan de Bont (also the cinematographer for the original "Die Hard") does an excellent job building the tension in the film from the very first scene and never allows the audience to breathe. It's just one breathtaking sequence to the next. The chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock is also undeniable, and there's no doubt this film helped launched both of them into superstardom.