With the embers of Gerard Butler's Olympus Has Fallen still warm, Channing Tatum's White House Down blasted into cinemas last week with a near-identical premise: one man infiltrates 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in order to take down a team of terrorists and save the Commander-In-Chief. Of course, apart from the White House, this format is nothing new: we've been seeing 'Lone man fights terrorists in specific location' movies ever since Bruce Willis first dirtiest his vest in Die Hard in 1988. So, with our ears still ringing from Roland Emmerich's latest detonations, we set about ranking 20 of the best-known Die Hard rip-offs from worst to best. Send in the McClones!
20. 3 Ninjas: High Noon At Mega Mountain (1998)
It's Die Hard in... a theme park! No movie in which Hulk Hogan plays a character named Dave Dragon can be completely without merit, but irritating young hero ninjas Rocky, Cult and Tum Tum should have been dropped off a tall building long before this sequel was given the green light. Hey kids – watch Die Hard instead! We won't tell your parents.
19. Skyscraper (1996)
It's Die Hard in... a skyscraper! With Anna Nicole Smith! Which is exactly as terrible as it sounds! This bold reimagining of John McTiernan's claustrophobic classic attempts to improve on perfection by adding a woman with gigantic breasts. It promises "eighty-six floors of action-packed terror!" You get about a bungalow's worth.
18. No Contest (1995)
It's Die Hard in... a beauty pageant! This shameless rip-off actually features genuine Die Hard credentials with Robert 'Agent Johnson' Davi in the cast, but that's about all it's got going for it. Who'd have thought a movie with soft porn star Shannon Tweed playing a kickboxing actress-turned-crimefighter could be so crappy?
17. Terminal Rush (1996)
It's Die Hard at... the Hoover Dam! 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper gives great villain opposite Don 'The Dragon' Wilson in this Die Hard clone that apparently only stars people with silly names. It's a great premise (with plenty of damn/dam gag potential) but it pales into comparison to that Simpsons episode with Sideshow Bob and Cecil.
16. Point Blank (1998)
It's Die Hard in... a shopping mall! Mickey Rourke is the McClane of the piece – McClane after a few dozen punches in the face, anyway – facing off against a group of escaped convicts who have taken over a shopping mall. Anyone who's been to a Westfield on a busy Saturday afternoon will be familiar with the horrors that await.
15. Icebreaker (2000)
It's Die Hard in... a ski resort! Who would have ever thought something bad could happen at Killington Ski Resort? Certainly not hero Sean Astin, who would only have to endure one more year of this sub-standard tosh before The Lord Of The Rings came calling. Still, Bruce Campbell is always watchable, particularly when he's being an eeevil terrorist.
14. Top Of The World (1997)
It's Die Hard in... a casino! Peter Weller coasts on his RoboCop goodwill as an ex-con unwittingly caught up in a casino robbery, with Dennis Hopper the owner and perpetrator. It's fleeting fun and the tempo is predictably high but if it were a poker hand, it would be a 6 and a 3. Or maybe a 2 and an 8. It wouldn't be a very good hand, is what I'm saying.
13. Masterminds (1997)
It's Die Hard in... a school! Toy Soldiers did it first, but Masterminds did it again, with Patrick Stewart as a baddie and a young Vincent Kartheiser off Mad Men as the hero. Despite the giddy thrill of seeing Captain Picard play a dastardly criminal and Pete Campbell play a skateboarding dude, it's a pretty unremarkable Die Hard clone.
12. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
It's Die Hard on... a train! With Casey Ryback's back-story dispensed with in Under Siege (He's a chef! He's a badass! Aaand that's it), the sequel plonked him into an entirely different method of transportation, gave him an irritating niece in the form of Katherine Heigl and a wisecracking sidekick. It's the story of Seagal's life: he can do better.
11. Command Performance (2009)
It's Die Hard at... a rock concert! This Dolph Lundgren effort wins points for being just four years old, despite everything about it screaming 'early 90s'. Lundgren directs, stars and drums as the musician who must rescue the Russian Premier in a rock 'n' roll hostage situation. This is based on a true story that actually happened to Dolph. Honest.
10. Sudden Death (1995)
It's Die Hard in... a sports stadium! If you thought ice hockey was violent, it gets a whole lot bloodier in this ludicrous slice of Van Dammage, packed to the rafters with sporting metaphors ("Terror just went into overtime!" etc) and all manner of crotch-punching and splits-kicking. Best scene: Jean-Claude fights a man dressed as a giant penguin.
9. Executive Decision (1996)
It's Die Hard on... a plane! Finally the Die Hard clone gets a respectable McClane stand-in in the form of Kurt Russell as an analyst who's smuggled onto a hijacked passenger plane to bring down a group of terrorists. Steven Seagal made an appearance between Under Sieges to die a noble death halfway through, providing the high point of the film too soon.
8. Passenger 57 (1992)
It's Die Hard on... a plane! Wesley Snipes claims you should "always bet on black" in this aviation thriller (acceptable advice when he's in a terrorist situation, not so much when he's on the roulette table), notable for Liz Hurley's villain and a few neat ass-kickings. Sadly Snipes was denied a sequel, Passenger 58: "Always still bet on black."
7. Toy Soldiers (1991)
It's Die Hard in... a boarding school! Sean Astin, still enjoying Goonie infamy, foils yet another terrorist invasion alongside Wil Wheaton, somewhat miscast as the son of the head of the New York Mafia. It's rip-roaring stuff if you're of the right age and you're not likely to have an epileptic fit when looking at the hideous 90s fashion faux pas.
6. Olympus Has Fallen / White House Down (2013)
It's Die Hard in... the White House! There's no separating this year's terrorism two-fer: Olympus wins in terms of jingoism, but White House Down has President Jamie Foxx kicking a man in the face over his Air Jordans. Olympus has Gerard Butler kill a man with a bust of Lincoln's head; White House Down has Channing Tatum in a dirty vest. A draw.
5. Air Force One (1997)
It's Die Hard on... Air Force One! And instead of the hero being a cop or an ex-con with a heart of gold or a disgraced fireman or whatever, he's the President! And he's Harrison Ford! It also features the killer line "Get off my plane!", which Ford personally guarantees he'll say to you every time you disembark his private jet. Every time. It gets old fast.
4. Under Siege (1992)
It's Die Hard on... a boat! "I'm just a cook," says Steven Seagal, underselling himself a little as he goes about single-handedly ridding his Navy battleship of terrorist scumbags. It's a blatant Die Hard xerox but it's Gary-Busey-powered super-fun, never more so than when Seagal has an epic knife fight with Tommy Lee Jones. That doesn't sound like a fair fight.
3. Cliffhanger (1993)
It's Die Hard on... a mountain! One of Sly Stallone's best non-Rocky/Rambo movies, Cliffhanger features a memorable cast (John Lithgow as the villain he was born to play), unforgettable set-pieces (the opening fall is a real stomach churner) and one of the all-time greatest movie stunts, as a team of criminals perform a mid-air plane transfer. Exhilarating.
2. The Rock (1996)
It's Die Hard in... prison! Hands down one of the best action movies ever made, The Rock is so good you almost forgive the fact it kickstarted Nicolas Cage's career as an action hero. Counter-balanced by Sean Connery in no-nonshensh mode and a never-angrier Ed Harris, The Rock is pure high octane nirvana. You want to watch it right now, don't you?
1. Speed (1994)
It's Die Hard on... a bus! "Pop quiz, hotshot. There's a bomb on a bus. Once the bus goes 50 miles an hour, the bomb is armed. If it drops below 50, it blows up. What do you do?" Answer: you watch Speed again and again and again, confident it'll never be bettered in the field of high concept action movies (that are nonetheless awfully similar to Die Hard).