Bruce Willis says Die Hard 4 is coming together. He said this with conviction, and in Cannes, and I’m inclined to take him seriously. The last Die Hard (perfectly fun, with a blah finale) came out 11 years ago, and rumors of this one have been floating almost as long. If only out of teased-blue frustration, we’re soooo ready for Die Hard 4: Die Already. So let’s waste no time and decode Willis’ brief statement.
"I’ve got a little bit of good news. We’re as close as we’ve ever got to getting Die Hard 4 started. It won’t be called Die Hard 4 but that will be the story. Hopefully it will be out next summer."
There you have it. The story will be "Die Hard 4." That’s a powerful story. Versions of it have been told by every culture throughout human history. Hunter-gatherers spoke darkly of it around their campfires, with whispers of "yippee-ky-yay, motherf—er." In many ways (as Joseph Campbell has observed), the story of Die Hard 4 is the story of humanity.
But what’s that story about? Wish I knew. We know what it’s not: It’s not a terrorist plot to flood New Orleans. Yes, believe it or not, that was the premise pre-Katrina. Then reality (in lieu of terrorists) intervened. So you won’t get to see a train leap off its tracks, ram an oil tanker and explode, causing waves to inundate the Big Easy. Let this be a lesson to you, Hollywood: What screenwriters can’t achieve in a timely fashion, bad governance and bureaucratic ineptitude will steal right out from under them.
Does Willis have a new Die Hard script in hand? Who knows? But that shouldn’t stop us from coming up with ideal terror scenarios to torment John McClane. We’ve seen him in a skyscraper in L.A., at an airport in D.C., and all over the infrastructure of New York City — where can we stick him now? A Barnes and Noble in Knoxville? ("Where are the bathrooms?!?! I’m full of Starbucks here!") Here’s one idea: John McClane encounters an elderly archaeologist wearing a fedora. Together, they fight German-accented villains, compare 401Ks and unravel the secrets of the prescription drug benefit.