Monday 25 December 2017

Die Hard (1988)

I've seen many action movies over the years, but Die Hard has a special place in my heart. Two are the reasons: it's one of the first action movies I've seen (and probably the first cop thriller as well) and it's one of the greatest I've ever seen (let's make it three since there's a young and good-looking Bruce Willis too). 

It's Christmas Eve and NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) just arrived in LA to spend the holidays with his family. While he's at his wife's company headquarters for the Christmas party, a group of terrorists take control of the building and hold everyone hostage. It's up to McClane to save them all.

The plot isn't anything new really. It's the typical (former) cop who finds himself in the right place at the right time, has to face bad people and save the hostages because the police just can't do their job. It isn't completely believable either and it has many holes and yet it never feels forced, it flows very well and thanks to its many twists, it keeps you engaged from start to finish.

Another reason the film works so well is its characters. John McClain isn't your typical action hero. In fact, he has much more depth than that. He is just an ordinary guy who finds himself in a not-so-ordinary situation. He is the kind of man who struggles in his fights against bad guys, both psychically -- Willis isn't pumped as action actors usually are (I mean, just think about Stallone or Schwarzenegger, they are monsters!) -- and mentally -- he doesn't want a fight and doesn't enjoy killing people. And the man bleeds! When someone shots him, he actually bleeds. Willis's performance as McClane is amazing. He delivers the right amount of arrogance while showing stress and fear.

20th Century Fox
Another great character in this movie is the main bad guy, terrorist leader Hans Gruber. He isn't a tough but a rather charismatic,  cold and calculating man who lets his men do most of the dirty work. He is the kind of villain you could root for. Most of the credits for that go to Alan Rickman. His performance is fantastic and he surpasses Willis.

Also worthy of a mention is McClain's wife, Holly. She isn't your typical damsel in distress. She is a quite strong, smart and feisty woman and Bonni Bedelia does a very good job.

Then, of course, there's the action. The action sequences are consistently exciting and very well directed. McTiernan's solid direction doesn't stop there though. He knows exactly how to use the locations to build tension and create the right atmosphere.


  1. This movie also holds a special place in my heart. I looked at it today also, but from a very different angle.

  2. Awesome review! Die Hard is one of the best action movies. Have you seen the Honest Trailer? It's so funny, and it points out how many movies afterwards copy the plot.