Following the success of Die Hard in 1988, the film spawned a franchise of its very own, but it also spawned a host of imitators. The “Die Hard movie” has essentially become a genre unto itself and considering that it also takes place inside a large building, it’s impossible to not see Dwayne Johnosn’s Skyscraper as the latest in a long line trying to find success with this formula.
But what exactly does it really mean to be a “Die Hard movie?” What are the key qualities that make up this subgenre of action movie? There are clearly some specific characteristics that tend to show up in most of these films. While not every “Die Hard movie” uses each of these elements perfectly (some modify or outright ignore some of them), but these are the key things that clearly separate the “Die Hard movie” from other action hero films, which Skyscraper will need to use well if it wants to do the genre proud.
One of the reasons that John McClane is such a relatable hero is that he’s not a superhero. He’s not a Navy Seal or a Green Beret with extensive training. He’s just a guy. He’s also a cop, so he’s not entirely without the skill set needed to save the day, but he’s certainly over his head for the particular situation he’s found himself in. This makes his success much less of a sure thing, which keeps the audience invested in the action. While The Rock’s character in Skyscraper is a former FBI agent, we’ve seen in the trailers he’s also injured, making him less of an obvious superman than he otherwise could be.