“A Good Day to Die Hard”, which once again stars Bruce Willis, is about to hit theaters. And while “Live Free or Die Hard” was a financial hit, could this installment be in some big trouble? Normally I’d say no. It’s an iconic franchise whose popularity hasn’t waned. And yet, in the wake of Sylvester Stallone’s “Bullet to the Head” and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “The Last Stand” both tanking, one has to wonder: Are audiences fed up with aging action stars?

I know that “The Expendables” and “The Expendables 2” were both successful. But even the sequel, though it earned $85 million, was quite a bit off from the first film. And as Arnold and Sly showed, perhaps action stars who are older making quips about their age are just not the way to go these days. The one exception to this rule seems to be Liam Neeson with hits like “Taken”. But if you think about it, Neeson doesn’t bring up his age in any of his films. And we accept him in his role, I think, because we can see him as an experienced person who has acquired a lot of skills through the years.

This leads me to “A Good Day to Die Hard”. Willis is an action star, there’s no question. But bringing in a younger character usually doesn’t work out in a series. And frankly, Willis is getting up there in age, almost to the point where audiences think, really? He can still do all that? It also doesn’t help that the films are essentially live action cartoons these days. At least “Taken” worked as a believable thriller to a degree. After three straight action film bombs, one has to wonder if the new Die Hard film will suffer a similar fate? With younger action stars like Vin Diesel and the Rock and even Channing Tatum to a degree heating up the screen and comic book films still dominating the box office every year, perhaps the old model of a straight up action flick with a big name just doesn’t sell anymore. People don’t want to see forgettable films like that anymore. They want an experience, something big, bold and grand and with actors that people don’t think should be thinking about social security instead of kicking some butt.

The true test of whether audiences are growing tired of this will be with “A Good Day to Die Hard”. If it fails, or shows some significant signs of fatigue, it could be a big sign that audiences want more than just an aging star cracking age jokes and trying to be like they were in their 30s.

Lukas Eggen can be reached at eggen.lukas@gmail.com.