Hollywood's rest home for elderly action/thriller/sci-fi-film heroes is preparing a room for a new resident.
Outside, a van pulls up and you can hear the doors opening.
"Yippee ki-yay, mother ... "
Yes, John McClane should be happy to be here, as his pockets are stuffed full of cash. He can stop jumping through windows and falling off buildings, trying to make us believe someone can walk away from that sort of thing with a small limp.
The fifth -- fifth, right? -- installment of the "Die Hard" franchise, "A Good Day to Die Hard," debuted at No. 1 at last weekend's box office, pulling in a healthy $25 million. The trailers were enough to get me to roll out of my weekend coma and head down to the local cineplex to check it out, because Bruce Willis can still show a guy a good time in an action movie. And he did -- to a point.
There was a great car chase scene, and a few other parts were enjoyable. But even with what should have been a mildly intriguing storyline about McClane heading to Moscow after discovering his estranged son Jack (Jai Courtney) has been accused of murder, things went downhill fast. For one thing, these guys must have jumped off seven or eight 12-story buildings and walked away each time. There was no effective bad guy and ... Chernobyl? Did they really have to go to Chernobyl? It all became silly. Not unbelievable, because all these films are pretty unbelievable. "Silly" is about three levels down from there.
Once McClane starts falling off radioactive buildings in Chernobyl and living to quip about it, it's time for this franchise to call it a day. So welcome, Mr. McClane. Your scars, pockmarks and aching bones will be taken care of. Take it easy. Mingle and get to know your neighbors.
There's John Rambo over there, wearing a camouflage gown and sitting in a black wheelchair (don't worry, the mounted machine guns are fake, though he doesn't know it). He thinks he will get sprung to make "Rambo: Last Stand," which is said to be in development but, for his sake (and ours), we're hoping that won't happen. The old boy was brought here in 2008, after making "Rambo," the fourth film of the franchise. Even if he weren't 107 years old, they probably can't make another "Rambo" film, because he has run out of people to kill.
There's Dirty Harry in the corner, eating pudding with a .44 Magnum-shaped spoon, and, to the concern of the nursing staff, growling at an empty chair. You passed Indiana Jones on the way in. He was the guy in the hat, digging up the garden. That commotion you hear down the hallway is, as usual, Martin Riggs from "Lethal Weapon," howling at the top of his lungs while watching "The Three Stooges." Right, he shares his room with an Australian guy called Max.
Oh, excuse us, Mr. Skywalker. What's that -- you say you're leaving? That must explain the car with Mickey Mouse painted on the side, waiting at the curb.
A mumbling Neo
Anyway, the weird guy in the leather suit and sunglasses in the dining hall is Neo. Don't mind his mumbling about being "The One." However, you might want to turn away when he starts levitating the silverware.
You may have noticed more than a few empty rooms here. Those have been reserved for a great many heroes from a great number of franchises out there, which are operating well past their expiration date because no one has any new ideas. Hopefully in the next day or two, a large straight-faced man they call "The Terminator" will arrive, although we've heard he thinks he's got at least one more movie in him.
We hope not.