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Fab Five ‘Die Hard’ Copycats

The five best films that do the “Die Hard” formula justice

Posted February 14, 2013 by Myong Choi

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)

#1 - Speed

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.




  1. Annoddah_Dave
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    MC:  I thought the Jason Statham ones were the copycats.  You’re such a romantic, taking a Valentine to see this type of flick will surely get you to first base!  Who’s on first?  No home run for you guy!

  2. MyongChoi
    Posted February 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    @Annoddah_Dave Haha, if I did have a Valentine date I wouldn’t take her to go see this. LOL

  3. RyanSenaga
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Passenger 57!!!

  4. MyongChoi
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

    @RyanSenaga I had that at like #7 or #8 on my list. I believe Sudden Death was #6. I really wanted to include that JCVD movie in the Fab Five but couldn’t justify it. LOL

  5. 808marv
    Posted February 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    1990s Hong Kong flick “Meltdown” aka “High Risk” starring Jet Li and Jacky Cheung was definitely Die Hard influenced. Some of the action scenes look hilariously bad now though, but I guess it was more of an action comedy.  

  6. MyongChoi
    Posted February 17, 2013 at 4:40 am

    @808marv Haha I remember that movie. Saw the original HK version. That YouTube trailer is so misleading. Some of the sightnscenes werent even Jet Li.

About Myong Choi

Born in Korea but a Hawaii resident since the age of 1, Myong Choi is a diligent engineer by day and an enthusiastic fun seeker by night. His appreciation for film started with watching bloody and violent Shaw Brothers kung fu films at Empress Theatre at age 5. When not catching up on the latest or greatest films he’s following K-pop trends, outside hiking or playing basketball, or inside enjoying an ice cold beer with friends.

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