There are probably a million reasons why Die Hard 6 should never be made.
Die Hard 5 was terrible. Bruce Willis is too old. John McClane is no longer a recognisable human being. Every time anybody makes a sequel to Die Hard, you feel like your childhood is being stabbed directly in the heart. And so on.
However, it seems that no amount of logic is enough to stop Die Hard 6 from happening. According to reports, Die Hard 6 not only has a prospective title, Die Hardest, but a location, too. This time John McClane will apparently get to wisecrack and explode his way across Tokyo before – as is now traditional in the series – collapsing in an exhausted heap, oblivious to all the sustained human death and major structural damage he is responsible for.
But look hard enough and you might find the faintest glimmer of promise. A treatment for Die Hardest is being written by Ben Trebilcook, who told Total Film: "There's the possibility producers might go back and find some other source material to base the next one on, like they did with the first and second. Mine though, I feel it could be the Rocky Balboa of the Die Hard franchise."
The Rocky Balboa reference is key. The sixth Rocky film wasn't perfect by any means, but it did manage to get two things right. First, it reined in the out-of-control bombast – the pastel vests and talking robots and weird Don King impersonations – that had eroded the charm of the first movie. Second, it was an elegant full stop; bringing the story full circle and sending it off in the most touching manner possible.
If this is the route that Trebilcook plans to take with Die Hardest, then that can only be a good thing. The Die Hard series has spiralled out beyond all recognition: they're now films about invincible bald-headed supermen who charge headfirst into one breathtakingly unrealistic situation after another and don't stop punching until everyone else is dead. If we wanted to see that, we'd go and watch a Jason Statham film.
So the first thing that Trebilcook should do is remember who John McClane is. He's not a Transformer; he's a scrappy, quick-thinking human being. He spent much of the first film hobbling around and begging people on the outside for help, which seems unthinkable given how bulletproof he has become in the last two movies. Something – anything – that reminds the audience that he's fallible and vulnerable would immediately make Die Hardest 10 times better. And Bruce Willis is still capable of this type of performance, despite his inclination to appear in everything from GI Joe sequels to Sky broadband adverts.
Next, perhaps we could reintroduce some characters and iconography from the franchise's past. There's already a hint that this is what Trebilcook has in mind – why would McClane be visiting Tokyo if not to see the new Nakatomi headquarters? – but we could take it further. Perhaps William Atherton could conveniently be in Tokyo at the same time as McClane. Or Reginald VelJohnson. Or even Carmine from Die Hard 2, who could pop up to briefly reveal that he's finally worked out the solution to McClane's timeless riddle, "What sets off the metal detectors first? The lead in your ass or the shit in your brains?"
Or what could give the film more emotional pull than bringing back Bonnie Bedelia as McClane's wife Holly? She was the primary motivation for the first two films, and the franchise has lost its way without her. Whether the McClanes end up reunited, or whether one of them dies, she's the presence that most sorely deserves a return.
But then again, maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves. This is Die Hard we're talking about. It's already blown so many chances to bring the series to a graceful conclusion that this is all probably wishful thinking. In which case, be sure to look out for Die Hard 7: Die Hardester in cinemas around the time of Bruce Willis's 65th birthday.
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