At this point, Willis could be delivering that monologue in almost any of his action films. Where McClane began as a particular man with a unique personality and his own set of problems, the series has hollowed him out, turning him into a generic hero who can be dropped into any situation to say his catchphrase at least once per film with the predictability of a pull-string toy.

That doesn't mean the Die Hards have gotten bad. To the last, they're glossy, big-budget action films crafted with care and built around this most charismatic of movie stars. But to revisit them is to see a series that's lost sight of what set it apart in the first place. Maybe A Good Day to Die Hard — which this time teams McClane up with his estranged son — will change that. Maybe it will be as much about forging bonds as dodging bullets and make McClane back into a character we might feel for. It's a long shot, but he's beat the odds before.

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