'Die Hard 5': The end of the action movie?

Jai Courtney, Bruce Willis and Sebastian Koch attend the UK Premiere of 'A Good Day To Die Hard' at Empire Leicester Square on February 7, 2013 in London, England.

There might be a lot of talk right now about all those Oscar-nominated films -- but what about the less-intensive viewing experiences? There's a presumptive new blockbuster out this week: 'A Good Day to Die Hard.' Chances are you already know all about the lead character -- and maybe even the plot.

Wesley Morris is a film critic with Grantland. He says that behind the decision to make one more 'Die Hard' movie is, of course, money.

"I think it involves a lot of finance people sitting around saying, 'Dude, I think there's still some water left in this sponge,'" Morris points out.

But there's more to the story here. The most famous action heroes -- the Schwarzeneggers and Stallones of the world -- are still up to their old tricks. But the movie industry has changed since they first started blowing up buildings and crashing cars. 

"In the original 'Die Hard' movies was a really fresh approach that basically changed for a long time the kind of action movies we got," says Morris. "I think we have sort of grown past this idea of an action hero in some ways. And I think that the movies aren't helping us out by basically regurgitating stuff it has always done without trying to find a new way to do it."

He cites blockbuster director Michael Bay and his 'Transformers' franchise as the main contenders filling the void.

"Michael Bay is a sort of evil genius," Morris adds. "He has figured out a way to do this without having to deal with the overhead of egos like Stallone's or Schwarzenegger's. And I don't see [the classic action hero] coming back around without a complete rethinking of how an action movie is supposed to work."

...Especially at $13.75 per viewing.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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