When Die Hard exploded into theatres in 1988, the next 10 years would be filled with every kind of Die Hard clone imaginable including several sequels.
I was wondering if The Rock would be considered a Die Hard clone but I see it more as a Men on a Mission movie.
Some of the clones were better than others so here are a select few of my personal favourites.
10. Open Fire (Die Hard in a Power Station)
Pretty sure hardly anyone has seen this but it stars Jeff Wincott who has to go up against Patrick Kilpatrick as he takes over a nuclear power plant. Fisticuffs and shoot-outs ensue. Although not a classic actioner, it’s still a fun 90’s B movie.
9. The Taking Of Beverley Hills (Die Hard in An Evacuated Town)
Yes, at one point there was a movie where the entire town of Beverley Hills was evacuated so bitter cops could rob the houses of all the evil rich folks. It’s up to football hero Boomer Hayes (Ken Wahl) to save the day. This was actually hugely entertaining with some fantastic action scenes, including plentiful explosions. We also have Robert Davi as the villain, which was a nice nod to Die Hard.
8. Command Performance (Die Hard at a Rock Concert)
Dolph Lundgren tries his hand at playing a John McClane-esque hero when terrorists take over a rock concert; in this tale Dolph plays mysterious drummer Joe who seems to have a particular set of skills. He puts them to use when a concert he is playing at is infiltrated by Russian terrorists; he violently takes each one out in quite imaginative fashion including death by electric guitar.With its hard R rating and a really nasty bad guy, this is actually one of Lundgren’s best movies. See also The Peacekeeper, which has Dolph battling terrorists as they take over a nuclear bunker.
7. Toy Soldiers (Die Hard in a School)
When bad guys take over a school, it’s up to a group of bad ass students to take it back. The cast includes Lou Gossett Jr, Sean Astin, Wil Wheaton, Andrew Divoff and R. Lee Ermey. It’s not the typical one man against terrorists so this changes the formula a little; it almost makes school interesting… but not quite.
6. Passenger 57 (Die Hard on a Plane)
See also Die Hard 2, Air Force One, Con Air and Executive Decision
I was trying to decide if Passenger 57 or Con Air would be Die Hard on a Plane but I think Passenger 57 fits the bill better. Wesley Snipes has some classic one-liners like “Always Best on Black” which have now become iconic in the genre. Bruce Payne overacts hilariously making his villain more laughable than anything but that’s what makes the movie such fun.
5. Olympus Has Fallen (Die Hard in The White House)
See Also White House Down
One of the best action movies of the past few years, it was released a few months before White House Down and this felt more like the Die Hard sequel we never got. Gerard Butler was new badass on the block Mike Banning who is stuck in The White House when Korean bad guys decide to take the President hostage. It’s got Hard R action and a classic villain in Rick Yune making it definitely one of the best Die Hard clones. This year we’ve got the sequel London Has Fallen which takes the action to England.
4. Under Siege 1/2 (Die Hard on a Boat/Train)
Steven Seagal plays Casey Ryback who just so happens to be the “best there is” which is quite handy when terrorists decide to take over his ship in the first Under Siege. Villain duties go to Tommy Lee Jones who is hilariously over the top as William Stranix. Has anyone ever met anyone with a last name of Stranix? No? Thought not…
In the sequel, the bad guy is played by Eric Bogosian who takes over a train and holds its passengers hostage. Although not as good as the first movie, Under Siege 2 requires multiple beers for maximum enjoyment as the bad guys spend most of the movie talking about how awesome Ryback is.
3. Cliffhanger (Die Hard on a Mountain)
Cliffhanger was Sylvester Stallone’s big comeback movie after a string of box office duds and it didn’t disappoint. Was it preposterous? Sure, but it was preposterously awesome. John Lithgow is one of the most evil bad guys in the history of evil. He even shoots his own woman… bastard.
2. Sudden Death (Die Hard in an Ice Hockey Stadium)
One of my very favourite Jean-Claude Van Damme movies, Sudden Death oozes tension from beginning to end and the movie works mainly because of the villain Joshua Foss, played with mean relish by Powers Boothe. The action intermingled with the hockey game only ratchets up the tension making this genuinely thrilling from beginning to end.
1. Speed (Die Hard on a Bus)
This movie cemented Keanu Reeves as an action star, despite the fact he wasn’t really interested in being one. With Speed, Point Break, The Matrix and John Wick under his belt, he can’t deny that he was born to be an action hero. Its ingeniously simple premise is why this is number one. A bus goes 50 miles, an hour, if it goes below 50, it explodes. Dennis Hopper is a classic villain, the action is exciting and the score is one of the all time greats.
There are actually a ton of other movies like Jet Li’s Meltdown, Skyscraper, No Contest, Terminal Rush, Point Blank, Command Performance, Icebreaker and many many more.