With the newly released Skyscraper out in cinemas now being labelled as just another Die Hard rip off, it got me thinking.
What if we lived in a world where Die Hard the most iconic action movie of all time (and Christmas movie but we won’t get into that,) had never existed and we were left with the Die Hard Rip-offs?
So follow me as we rank the top 5 movies to watch if Die Hard was no longer an option. Just to clarify what a Die Hard rip off is, it’s got to follow one man’s struggle as he fends off a number of adversaries in an enclosed location throughout the majority of the film.
White House Down (2013)
The first movie to kick off our list is a rip off from a movie from the same year called Olympus Has Fallen, which unbelievably was the one that got a sequel, but in my opinion, White House Down was the superior film out of the two. Following Channing Tatum’s Cale as he tries to protect the president, played by Jamie Foxx, from a group of terrorist who take over the White House.
The acting is impeccable from Foxx and Tatum with a great supporting cast from Maggie Gyllenhaal and Richard Jenkins. What really makes these films great are the enemies and James Woods, Hades himself, brings us an empowering but at the same a sympathetic villain with motives that can be understood.
Where the movie suffers though is in its action sequences, not really heart thumping stuff, and it does tend to get a little cheesy from time to time, especially with the political tension we find ourselves in. However, the acting and characters are so captivating that it is still a great watch.
Under Siege (1992)
When people mention Die Hard rip-offs you can almost guarantee that Under Siege will make an appearance on this list. Most people will think the premise is absolutely ridiculous but I feel that is where the charm is.
Gary Busey and Tommy Lee Jones, a match made in heaven, work together to hijack a battlecruiser and take all its crew hostage. Except they leave out the ship’s cook who turns out to be none other than Steven Seagal’s Casey Ryback, an ex-special forces marine.
This is just an amazing classic action movie that you can just put on and not think about too much. Jones and Busey ham it up to the max and give us some iconic scenes and amazing chemistry, while Seagal’s lack of acting ability still brings a cool atmosphere to the picture. Is this a work of art? No. Is it an absolute blast to watch? You bet.
Or as Homer Simpson calls it, “The Bus that couldn’t slow down” Speed takes your emotions to 88mph and never lets go, it truly is a masterclass in action and tension. Starring Keanu Reeves as Jack Traven as he faces off against Dennis Hopper’s terrorist Howard Payne.
Dennis Hopper is fantastic as Payne and really is the closest thing anyone has ever got to Hans Gruber, calculated with just the right amount of insanity to make him believable. His performance alone is a reason to watch Speed.
There is also fantastic chemistry between Reeves and his co-star Sandra Bullock’s character Annie, bringing a much needed comical release at the right moments. Speed is a massive chess game from start to finish. Every time you feel the protagonist overcome an obstacle the antagonist counters.
Not only is Dredd a great Die Hard rip off but it is also a great comic book movie that did not get the attention it deserved. Long gone is the campiness of the Sylvester Stallone version, Judge Dredd, but instead a closer adaptation to the 2000 AD comic book series, and no one shouting the “Law” at the top of their voice.
Dredd follows Judge Dredd, the most feared Judge in all of Metro City One, this time played by Karl Urban. It’s up to him and his new rookie to get to the top of a crime-ridden tower block controlled by the malevolent crime boss Ma-Ma played amazingly well by Lena Headey. Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd brilliantly, especially having his face covered throughout the whole of the movie, his voice and mouth expressions brings the classic comic book character to life.
The action and cinematography are fantastic creating a sense of grit and gore within this movie that truly makes it feel like a living metropolis and a movie not for the faint of heart. Brilliantly directed by Pete Travis, who clearly has a passion for the comic book material. It is a shame this movie never got a sequel, but it certainly deserved one.
The Raid (2011)
If Die Hard never existed it would take 23 years for a movie to come out to take that classic formula. The Raid does that and gives us some of the best fighting sequences ever seen on film. The film follows Ruma, a S.W.A.T. member who must fight his way up to the top of an apartment complex to defeat a ruthless mob boss and his gang members.
The cinematography is fantastic and Gareth Evans is a master of suspense and action. It’s a simple story but it works, and it does not shy away from the grittiness and gore which brings impact to the film. What makes The Raid great is the fact it’s an Indonesian movie and not an American picture which gives it a real indie international vibe.
Air Force One
So there we have it my top 5 Die Hard rip-offs, so if Die Hard never existed we would be covered. Then again if Die Hard didn’t exist then neither would these movies. Which movies do you think are Die Hard rip-offs, whether good or bad.