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IMAGE: Bruce Willis in Die Hard
20th Century Fox
Bruce Willis' legendary John McClane character is heading to Russia for a fifth film in the series. Here's hoping he takes along some lessons from previous films.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 8/16/2011 5:53:18 PM ET 2011-08-16T21:53:18

Warning: Lots of spoilers for the "Die Hard" series ahead, plus some adult language in the video clips.

20th Century Fox is seeking a director for "Die Hard 5," which will send supercop John McClane (Bruce Willis) to Russia. Since this film is still in its early stages, we'd like to remind the filmmakers of the following "Die Hard" rules.

John McClane should be superhuman, but not a cartoon
We need John McClane to be likable and cool — a Bruce Willis specialty — but we also need him to be slightly superhuman, like MacGyver with a hint of Wolverine. It's fun to watch one man topple an entire crime network. It lets us imagine that if we were angry ENOUGH, then we could do it, too.

But sometimes, McClane can be too amazing. In "Live Free or Die Hard," when he drives a police car off a ramp and crashes it into a flying helicopter, he's a silly action cartoon.

McClane's at his best in the elevator bomb scene from the first film. It's ridiculous to believe that one person could execute this maneuver so quickly (and without shoes!), but it's just believable enough to make us cheer.

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Enclosed spaces are best
"Die Hard With a Vengeance" and "Live Free or Die Hard" are both pretty good, and they let McClane chase villains all over the place. In part one, though, the action is confined to an office building, and part two mostly unfolds in an airport and on an airplane. The confined quarters ratchet up the tension because there's no escaping the danger.

This formula was so successful that it spawned everything from "Panic Room" to "Speed" to "Air Force One." It would be great to see "Die Hard 5" return to the franchise's roots with another "enclosed drama." Could the entire movie take place in the Kremlin?

Watch this chilling 'Die Hard 2' plane crash scene

McClane needs a great sidekick
At his core, McClane is a symbol for a specific dream of the American man: He's a gruff, misunderstood loner who's always smarter than "the system," but he's willing to sacrifice himself for the people the system protects. His strengths and his flaws are both more interesting when he's got a sidekick who contradicts him.

For instance, Samuel L. Jackson lights up "Die Hard With a Vengeance" as an electrician with more people smarts than McClane. In "Live Free or Die Hard," Justin Long is a computer whiz whose brains-over-brawn approach balances McClane's shoot-first style. Hopefully, there's a no-nonsense Russian nurse on deck for part five.

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The villain should be named 'Gruber'
We know, we know. "Gruber" is not a Russian name, but "Die Hard's" Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and "With a Vengeance's" Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons) are two of the nastiest villains in action-movie history. They're guys you love to hate, but you also have to respect their flair for elaborate schemes. Surely, the Gruber boys have a cousin Boris who can terrorize Bruce Willis.

Great Jeremy Irons and Samuel L. Jackson scene

Bonnie Bedelia is a secret weapon
Bonnie Bedelia isn't in "Die Hard" 3 and 4, and that's a shame. As McClane's wife Holly, she's a humanizing force in the first two films who reminds us that her husband is a person and not just a cop. But more importantly, she's a grade-A sass machine who's not afraid to slap, punch or tase an angry terrorist or an oily reporter. We know that Bedelia is now a regular on the TV show "Parenthood," but surely someone can give her a week off so she can fly to Moscow and slap a feisty KGB officer in the face.

Are you a "Die Hard" fan? Will you see the fifth film? What's your favorite scene from past movies in the series? Discuss with us on Facebook.

Mark Blankenship is on Twitter as @CritCondition

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