Jonathan Melville: Hard boiled thriller softened

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IT’S been 25 years since New York cop John McClane found himself trapped in LA’s Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve, as terrorists attempted to steal bearer bonds from its owners.

Now McClane’s back for his fifth big screen outing, but this time he’s been toned down so the kids can see it as well.

In America, A Good Day To Die Hard, aka Die Hard 5, in which McClane visits Russia and takes on the bad guys with his son, John Jr (Jai Williams), has been given an R rating, the equivalent of an 18 certificate in the UK.

Meanwhile, UK audiences will be treated to a 12A certificate version of the film, ensuring the explosions, blood and fights are toned down.

What’s almost certain is that a few months down the line the DVD edition of the film will have a few ‘harder’ scenes put back in and labelled an ‘uncut’ version, probably with a 15 or 18 certificate, as happened with the Liam Neeson actioner, Taken.

While it seems that the cuts to Die Hard 5 don’t alter the story but merely remove some bad language – say goodbye to McClane’s trademark Yipee-ki-yay catchphrase in full – it does mean that the days of most action films being made for an adult audience seem to be long gone.

For me, the Die Hard sequels have never matched the standard of the first, with the previous attempt, Die Hard 4.0, a half-hearted and formulaic effort to keep the franchise alive.

Bruce Willis claims a sixth film is also likely, but I suspect I’ll be buying the Blu-ray of the first film to watch every few years instead.


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