I’m a little bit ashamed to say I just saw Die Hard for the first time this weekend. It’s always been on my ‘To-Watch’ list, but I sadly just haven’t gotten to it until now. And after seeing it, not only have I grown chest hair, but I also had my mind ruptured with an overdose of explosive testosterone.
And that’s a good thing.
Okay, so maybe it didn’t put hair on my chest, but it did seriously impress me. In a time where nearly every action movie is all style and no substance, I sat down to see Die Hard and expected what I always expect from this kind of movie. Fun, mindless action.
While that was certainly present, Die Hard possesses that certain, special quality that few movies of this type are able to achieve. It’s not only incredibly fast-paced and brutal in its action scenes, but the story is clever, the characters are funny and even well-developed, all with Bruce Willis rocking hair!
Die Hard follows NY cop John McClane as he flies to LA to meet his wife and family for Christmas. If you couldn’t have guessed, things get a little bit messier than he expected. When McClane finds himself trapped in his wife’s workplace with a load of suave, Russian, hostage taking terrorists, McClane decides to take things into his own hands the only way a rough NYPD officer could.
What follows is almost two-hours of nearly non-stop intense, violent, and incredibly exciting set pieces that continually outdo each other.
Die Hard is one of those movies that knows it can’t survive with a sound plot, but also understands that audiences aren’t looking for a deep, thought-provoking story. And this is one of the movie’s biggest strengths.
The plot is developed enough to give believability to the character’s actions, but its not overdone so as to not to distract from the nail-biting action. Die Hard hits the perfect sweet spot that every action movie strives for, and it delivers in such a way so that it never loses your interest.
Bruce Willis is great as John McClane, and while his character continually performs incredible stunts, we always believe in him. This isn’t a movie where the protagonist makes it to the climax without a single mark on him; rather, by the end of the movie McClane is bloodied, injured, and tired. And it’s this vulnerability that makes McClane such a great protagonist.
Oh, and his amazing catch phrase doesn’t hurt either.
Die Hard has a huge cast of characters, and while they’re all acted well, I found some of them to be quite irritating. It really hate it when policemen in movies are portrayed as arrogant, selfish jerks who literally do everything wrong.
While Reginald Veljohnson was awesome as Twinkie eating Al Powell, he’s the only cop (besides McClane of course) who doesn’t act like a complete moron.
Besides that, nearly everyone involved does a great job. But really, this movie is about McClane taking down a ton of terrorists, and trust me, it’s awesome. And what makes it all the better is the head villain of the story.
Alan Rickman as the evil Hans Gruber wins the award for most suave, entertaining villain, and he has this electric, subdued energy (I know that’s a paradox, but just play along) that makes every scene he’s in that much better.
Die Hard deserves every ounce of respect it gets. Although I wouldn’t entirely classify it as a ‘Christmas movie’, I would call it one of the very best action films to come out of the 80’s. It’s a testosterone filled thrill ride from beginning to end that never underestimates your intelligence or the value of your time.
It’s funny, fast-paced, and endlessly exciting. I loved every minute of it. While the climax may seem a little over-the-top for some, I thought it was a fitting conclusion for a wholly explosive film and couldn’t imagine it ending any differently.
Die Hard should be reference material for everyone who wants to make an action film. It accomplishes everything it strives for, and it deserves its spot as one of the very best action movies of all time.