Were I to take a poll, Die Hard would be at the top of many/most people’s list of best Bruce Willis action flicks. Unbreakable isn’t really an action movie, but it certainly would deserve to be considered. My choice is neither of those.
No, the true best Bruce Willis action movie is RED.
Before the MCU really kicked into gear, DC Comics released a film I’d happily watch over and over (and do so at least twice a year), and it doesn’t star Christian Bale.
RED featured several legendary actors apparently having fun with their roles: Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Ernest Borgnine, Richard Dreyfuss. (I don’t know whether you can call Karl Urban “legendary” yet, but he certainly does a commendable job here.)
Perhaps most entertaining is Brian Cox, finally liberated from playing officious, amoral bureaucrats. (I don’t see a lot of movies, so basically his entire repertoire in my universe was as Ward Abbott from the Bourne films.)
This movie combines so many familiar tropes with glorious panache: road trip, fish out of water, rom-com, all-star team-up, good guy on the wrong side who struggles with his conscience and figures it out in time. The dialog is marvelous, the characters well fleshed-out.
If you haven’t seen RED yet, do yourself a favor. (Also do yourself another favor and don’t bother with the sequel, an utterly uncharming effort.)
(Side note: I stumbled across this insane set of quotes from Willis and Kevin Smith about each other after they tried working together. I have no reason to believe they’re fictional, but I find it incomprehensible that two seemingly intelligent men can be so vicious towards each other in public. Crazy.)
(Side side note: if you see mentions of Fight Club in the comments, just know that I’m an idiot and wrote this late at night without fact checking.)