Sunday, June 17, 2007


The wussification of the American action movie continues unabated. The latest victim of this sad trend is Bruce Willis, who bloodily dispatched Eurotrash terrorists in “Die Hard” and corrupt military officers in “Die Hard 2.” It’s been 12 years since “Die Hard With a Vengeance,” which sucked but at least it wasn’t PG-13, which is the rating the MPAA has given “Live Free or Die Hard.”

That is a crime. People going to a “Die Hard” movie don’t want watered down action and mid-level swears-- they want non-speaking henchmen and secondary characters getting sucked into jet engines and stabbed through the eye with an icicle. They want John McClane dropping f-bombs left and right. They want the occasional topless girl. (I think there was one in the first film). Overshadowing all of these important issues is the inevitable loss of the franchise’s famously vulgar catchphrase. You cannot say “motherfucker” in a PG-13 movie. You can use one or two f-words and keep your PG-13, as long as those f-words don't imply intercourse. To put it simply, one can say “What the fuck are you doing?” and keep teens and their disposable income in their seats. Say “I want to fuck you” and that PG-13 flies right out the window and you’re left with “R.”

So where does that leave us with LFODH? What will Bruce Willis coolly utter when he’s about to deliver the coup de grace to the lead villain? Perhaps the filmmakers saw the TV edit of “Die Hard 2” on TBS, when Willis was heard to remark “Yipee-kiyay Mister Falcon” before blowing up the bad guys’ plane. I laughed at this edited-for-content scene, but it didn’t make much sense. There’s nobody named Mister Falcon in “Die Hard 2.” If I was the director of LFODH I’d take a page from those who edited “Do The Right Thing” for television. “Motherfucker,” which is said perhaps 150 times by Mookie and friends, was turned into “Micki-Ficki” for the delicate free-cable audience.

I think that will have to do.