Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Alexander Godunov, Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton
Synopsis: New York cop John McClane has taken a trip to LA for Christmas to visit with his estranged wife and children. After arriving at her office building, a well organised, armed group of men takes the employees remaining in the building for Christmas drinks hostage. McClane eludes capture, and starts a one man war to bring these law-breakers to justice.
A review by Film Nerd.
The original Die Hard is a film that I don’t imagine we will see anything similar to it again, at least in the near future of this post-9/11 world. A group of suspected international terrorists and high-rise buildings being shaken with massive explosions is not the type of project many major studios will now be jumping to give the green light. A sentiment I certainly respect, but a reflection that in the modern era, movies have now lost some of their innocence.
As this is certainly to this day a very fun, action packed film. Now having spawned 3 sequels of varying quality, with a fifth apparently now pending, there is no denying its popularity. In addition, at the time of writing, the films holds spot 110 on the IMDB Top 250 films list. The plot is pretty basic, and the film knows it. It delights in putting McClane in to increasingly improbable and proportionately enjoyable (for the viewer) levels of danger… and all this with our star wearing no shoes!
There are three clear elements to the success of this film. The first is director John McTiernan. His presence was certainly missed in Die Hard 2, so much so that he was called in for the top job again by the time Die Hard: With a Vengeance was to come into being. McTiernan’s two offerings are arguably the best in the franchise, with Die Hard 2 to this day proving the weakest link. The next element was of course the man of the week, Alan Rickman. His villain, Hans Gruber, presented a new type of criminal to your classical actioner of the ’80s. He is a man of style, substance, and intellect, with an initially unclear agenda. Watching him unravel as McClane’s antics increasingly interfere with his goals is an absolute delight, in what was clearly a star making performance. The final element is of course Bruce Willis, the one constant of the franchise. His “every man” is out of place in the world of the Hans Gruber’s, but his pragmatic approach and sense of humour are what the film relies on. It is like he is in on the “you have got to be kidding me” joke of the film, and with this presence guiding us through, the story never gets too bogged down or dour.
Most readers would have already seen the film, so I invite you to revisit it, and spend two hours forgetting reality and all the consequences and real life politics it entails. To those who haven’t seen it, shame on you!!! It is time you did something about that!!
Die Hard on IMDB
Die Hard on Rotten Tomatoes