‘Die Hard’: The development of John McClane

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It’s not just Bruce Willis’ hairline that has evolved throughout the Die Hard films – his character John McClane has too. With the fifth film in the franchise marking the 25th anniversary of the original Die Hard, it’s interesting to see how McClane’s motives and attitudes have developed as the franchise and the lead actor ages.

Shoot Harder

McClane has always been trigger happy, though perhaps his tired acceptance of weaponry has become far more prominent in recent instalments. The first and second films, at the very least, show a character who is tired and simply wishes to return home (even if he is quick to get involved in the action).

As the movies progress, McClane is much quicker to jump into the action, with the first action scene of the newest film occurring moments after the opening credits.

Family first

Perhaps this has something to do with his motives. McClane is primarily viewed as a reluctant hero in the first three films of the franchise, and while we’ve always been aware of his family, since 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard, he becomes much more of a family man.

The fourth film in the series focuses upon his daughter, while the newest instalment sees him teaming up with his son.

Those who were fans of the original films when they were released will probably have spent some time raising a family themselves, making McClane’s motivation relatable as the audience’s sympathies develop in real life.

A love affair

This could have something to do with the chosen release date for A Good Day to Die Hard; Valentine’s Day. Many may have supposed this was used as an antidote to the typical Valentine’s activities, though there could also be another meaning behind it.

Male bonding is a prominent theme within the film as McClane attempts to develop his relationship with his son. Perhaps those looking to do a little male bonding themselves will have watched the film on its release date; does this make Die Hard the ultimate ‘bromance’?

Bonding and fatherhood are certainly much greater incentive for McClane these days, which is probably the biggest way McClane has developed over the years. Well, that and his chilly scalp.

Watch the trailer for A Good Day to Die Hard