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?
#4 - Toy Soldiers (2 of 6)
Premise: "Die Hard" in a boarding school
Some time between "The Goonies" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, Sean Astin starred in "Toy Soldiers," a story of terrorists who take over a boarding school attended by the children of the rich and powerful. I was a teenager myself when this movie came out in 1991, so that's probably why the story of punk kids outsmarting and defeating terrorists really resonated with me. Sean Astin led the group of ragtag, smart alecky kids and for some reason I was convinced that every move they made to defeat the bad guys was so believable. There was just one part of the story I couldn't buy and that was that Wil Wheaton was supposed to be the tough guy of the bunch.