Wednesday, March 30, 2011

790. DIE HARD (1988)

Running Time: 131 minutes
Directed by: John McTiernan
Written By: Jeb Stuart, Stephen E. de Souza, from the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
Main Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson


I cannot believe that the father from "Family Matters" just got his name into a blog dedicated to the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die". However, that's not a crack at this film, as I actually had a lot of fun with it and who doesn't love ol' Reginald VelJ.

John McClane (Willis) is an NYPD cop headed to Los Angeles for Christmas Eve to visit his estranged wife Holly (Bedelia). Upon arrival at the office building where she works as a top executive, the two have a little tiff, but before they can makeup the building is taken over by a group of terrorists. The terrorists are twelve strong and lead by Hans Gruber (Rickman) and they're after $640 million in bearer bonds that are locked in the office safe, which is secured by seven locks. While all of the people at the office Christmas party are taken hostage, McClane, who was relaxing in his wife's office, is able to escape throughout the building when he hears gunfire and in his own words, becomes a "fly in the ointment" of the terrorist group. One by one McClane begins to pick off the terrorists (NO, that's not a spoiler - It's an American action film folks, of course the hero is going to get at least a few lumps, if not the whole damn bowl) and picks up a walkie-talkie, where he can communicate with both the terrorists and the LAPD. Eventually our trusty, Twinky loving cop Al (VelJohnson) shows up and is McClane's go to guy on the radio, as Al and John talk each other through the ordeal and do their best to save the day.


This is probably the third or fourth time that I've seen "Die Hard" and every time I watch it, I seem to flip flop opinions on it. I remember the last time I watched it, I didn't like it at all and was actually prompted to sell my DVD copy of it. This time, though, I had a lot of fun and can finally, definitively say that this is a really fun action flick, with all of the cliches that we would all come to know and love from our action flicks.

Of course, like all actions films, this one is REALLY contrived. Everything seems to fall right into a convenient little place so that our two hour "heart stopper" can play out in full effect. John just happens to be in the building at the same time that the terrorists are in the building. John just happens to be barefoot and just happens to be presented with a floor covered in broken glass. Come to think of it, why didn't they play the Christmas card a little more? I mean, if (storyline wise) it was essential that the terrorists do their "job" on Christmas Eve, it would've made a lot more sense for McClane to be in the building at the same time as them, or at least more plausible - but that is never brought up. All contrivances aside, I'm able to suspend my disbelief for a couple of hours to enjoy this. I mean, come on guys, in the end we are watching movies and having a good time is what it's all about and "Die Hard" doesn't make you think a whole lot. It just gives you a group of foreign terrorists, a good guy cop, out of his element and cuts it all loose in a skyscraper. It's fun, it's harmless and it set the tone for all action films to come down the pike since 1988. I also love (to an extent) how John is just this New York cop who didn't even want to be in L.A. in the first place, but EH'...while he's there he might as well save a few lives and pick off a few Germans.

One more little thing I'd like to add and I do mean "little". I wish that they had tweaked the plot just a smidge to eliminate the meeting between John and Holly at the beginning of the film. I think it would have been really cool, had Holly not known that John was in the building. It would have given the hostages a little more to do too, instead of just sit in the background. They would be talking amongst themselves, trying to figure out who escaped and when they finally realized that everyone was in attendance, Holly would overhear John's voice on Hans' walkie-talkie and realize that her estranged husband was back in town, to save the day.

RATING: 7/10 It's fun, what do you want out of me? On this day, I needed a film that I could just watch, without really thinking and this film served its purpose...and then some.


March 29, 2011 9:23pm


  1. This is not my kind of film at all.. al that macho tough talking (or is that tough talkin'?), squeeling tyres, explosions etc. Yawn..
    BUT Oh, dear, I hate to admit this, but I do enjoy 'Die Hard'. I'm afraid it is fun. It,s even fairly clever in [places. OK, count the cliches.. true.. count the plot holes.. true, count the Brit as the bad guy (He's German??Yes, but Alen Rickman plays proper roles, in proper movies, you know, where they wear costumes and have to marry at least two daughters off by the end of the film)
    But as you say, I'm afraid it's good fun, and I've seen it more than once. Or twice.
    (Aside.. 2 was good, but not AS good, 3 was poor, and 4.. aweful. To put it mildly.

  2. I was flirting with the idea of watching the whole "Die Hard" franchise, since I had to watch the first one for the book, but after remembering how dull 2 and 3 were and with no desire to see the newest one, I decided not to.

  3. Quite right, it's junk.


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