9. TOY SOLDIERS
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard with richer parents!"
The problem with this "terrorists take over a privileged prep school" flick is that, well, who gives a crap if these twerps eat the business end of an AK? Especially when one of them is Wil Wheaton, for crying out loud. You've got to give us something else to care for besides Louis Gossett Jr. (What can we say? Could you say no to those eyes?)
8. SUDDEN DEATH
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard for Canadians!"
Jean-Claude Van Damme has to battle the world's most ill informed terrorists—seriously, holding a hockey game hostage? You could walk out onto the ice and shoot Mario Lemieux point-blank in the face and SportsCenter still wouldn't cover it. These guys would have been better off calling everyone who actually gets the Versus channel and threatening them personally.
7. CON AIR
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard with wings!"
Despite a cast that blows Die Hard's out of the water (we see your William Atherton and raise you JOHN "FUCKING" MALKOVICH), Con Air was still just the same formula given enough twists and turns to make you think it was original ("You see, the hero is a criminal, and the villains are other criminals, and there are mullets and rapists and… Hey, where are you going?").
6. UNDER SIEGE
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard with a thicker waistline…on a boat!"
Bonus: "The sequel will be Die Hard on a choo-choo!"
Steven Seagal is the one Navy cook you don't want to mess with, because he's so stuffed with pancake batter and raw cookie dough that his breath alone can raise your cholesterol to dangerous levels. Under Siege pushed the Die Hard formula out to sea, then returned with an all new outmoded form of transportation (a train) for Under Siege 2. If they had made a third, the pitch line would have been "Die Hard on a Ford Model T!"
5. THE TRANSPORTER
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard with tremendous BMW cross-branding possibilities!"
Jason Statham wants to be Bruce Willis so badly it's almost embarrassing to watch. Like a YouTube video of some kid singing an Usher song. His Die Hard rip-off was definitely more mobile—while on the run he rides everything from a BMW to a Jet Ski to a hot Asian chick—but Statham forgot when John McClane threw down with bad guys, he fought "street." He didn't smear his shirtless chest with oil and wrap his "hose" around dudes.
4. PASSENGER 57
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard, only 'more urban'!"
Obviously concerned that Die Hard's black population was pushed to the sidelines and given nothing to do except crack vaults, pimp out teddy bears, and get fatter, Passenger 57 put Wesley Snipes in Bruce Willis' shoes. They must have thought that, like Con Air, an airplane would be much cooler than an office building. It's just a shame that "Always bet on black" is both a lame catchphrase and an affront to the civil rights movement all in one.
3. AIR FORCE ONE
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard with the majority of electoral votes!"
Sure Air Force One also thought a plane would be a nifty idea, but it does up the ante by making the hero not some schlubby cop but the president of the United States (and Harrison Ford). You just know that Dubya puts this movie on every morning and runs around his bedroom with a cap gun while Cheney begrudgingly pretends to be Gary Oldman.
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard on crystal meth!"
"What if the hero isn't trying to disarm a bomb…? What if HE IS THE BOMB?!?" "Get that wannabe British Bruce Willis and make sure Amy Smart removes that 'no abject humiliation' clause in her contract and we are a go!" Die Hard may have occasionally pushed its action scenes "over the top," but Crank hurdles "over the top," lands in a shoulder roll, snorts a line of coke, masturbates, and then keeps going even further. It's actually really impressive.
Pitch line: "It's Die Hard on a bus!"
Bonus: "The sequel will be Die Hard with Legionnaires'!"
We have to admit, being trapped in a high-rise office building is pretty bad, but being stuck on a two-ton lumbering hunk of metal barreling down the street at 55 mph with no brakes really makes for a bad day. Keanu Reeves seriously proved his action hero chops, and wisely bailed before Speed 2 decided that a luxury cruise liner would be just as neat as a bus. (It's not.)