Tuesday, December 25, 2012

MR Die Hard

If there's a Christmas movie I can never get enough of, it's the very first Die Hard!

Easily one of my all-time favorite films of all time (as seen here!), it's time to finally revisit this movie on this very specially day.

It's time to...

Movie: Die Hard 
Directed by John McTiernan
Release date 1988
Genre Action thriller
Country USA

Here's a classic if there is such of the American action genre from the 80s.

Die Hard went through several phases during its development, and it almost ended up a completely different movie on several occasions.
Yet the result was the perfect example of some of the best Hollywood could produce back in the day.

It's another classic from John McTiernan amongst so many others the man has directed in his long career.
It's a great action film, one of the best and smartest of its genre. Everything is well thought, every angle, every shot. All things serve the plot moving forward, be it in its smallest details, and like a well choreographed tempo it all comes together in the end of film.

The movie is actually a stand alone adaptation of Roderick Thorp's 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever. Most of its key scenes being literally perfectly lifted off the book onto the big screen. Though the characters were changed to stand apart from Thorp's work.
And the movie (as well as the novel) also draws a lot of inspiration from the earlier 1974 film The Towering Inferno by John Guillermin & Irwin Allen, with Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

Welcome to the party, pal. 

John McClane is an out of luck New York cop and out of water currently visiting L.A. to try save the little he has going on with his wife Holly Gennaro at the moment.

After being picked up at the airport with a limousine by a kid named Argyle, John arrives at the party being held at the Nakatomi Plaza.
There, little did he knew he was going to be stuck in the middle of an heist disguised as a terrorist coup by Hans Gruber and his heavily armed crew.

And with only outside help from a reluctant (at first) local cop, Sgt. Al Powell who can only talk to John through the same radio the bad guys are using, John McClane will have to make use of his cleverness, wits and cowboy attitude.

Twelve terrorists.
One cop.
Live through this hell of a night.

Why the fuck didn't you stop 'em, John? 'Cause then you'd be dead, too, asshole. 

Die Hard is one helluva effective film.
The plot always surprise me in its simplicity yet making a hell of a lot of reason.
Gruber and his cohort are very smart bunch of thieves. Their plan might sound quite risqué and over-the-top yet it just works. I also love the fact that these are very professional highly trained villains and not your usual mindless hencmen.

The movie is served by a fantastic cast of actors.
It starts a young-ysh Bruce Willis at the top of his game yet just starting his career. He makes the whole movie, heck, he IS John McClane.
When the talks of an adaptation of Thorp's novel by John McTiernan started, he was originally envisioning Schwarzenneger back from Predator. Then also Stallone before Bruce Willis landed the role of his lifetime.

The movie really comes through all the little roles and various characters that populate this picture.
Alan Rickman makes one hell of an opponent. Smart, serious, terrifying. The best villain this series has seen to this day.
Reginald VelJohnson (Carl Winslow!) makes a great supporting character that lives up to his title. Funny, friendly and the only voice accompanying our hero throughout hell.
Holly Gennaro/McClane (portrayed by Bonnie Bedelia), the annoying Ellis that gets what's coming to him, Special Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson from the FBI. The "terrorists" do specially outstanding work, both as the cunning trained villains and as physical opponents McClane gets to defeat one by one during the course of the movie.

I promise I will never even *think* about going up in a tall building again.

The movie is a very solid experience through and through.
McTiernan is an expert of the epic action genre.
The movie holds up pretty well to this day, most effects are practical and therefore live through the test of time. (unlike many cheap CGi effects you see in blockbusters these days..)
The movie has a great rythm, the action paces the whole film and the tension is perfectly rendered through the camera work. (no "shaky cam" amateurish work like you see way too often these days)

Michael Kamen did the cult score that accompanies Die Hard which has come to define the series.
It's stressful when it needs to be, epic from start to finish and quite powerful. With lots of memorable pieces (the opening key, McClane's theme, the Nakatomi Plaza's theme)

Overall, it's The perfect action film.
Action packed, epic, eventful.
McTiernan proved he was a master of the genre early on with a lot of style appropriate for action blockbusters.

Die Hard 1 still holds up to this day, quite well in my eye.

It launched both Willis' career as well as the Die Hard franchise which we'll revisit here later on.

And quite funny enough, it's also the perfect Xmas movie.
The story happens to take place during Christmas, lots of Christmas trees and decorations can be seen throughout the movie (and even get used here and there at some points).
Which makes Die Hard the most badass Holiday flick you'll ever get!

I give it:
 3 / 3 Films!


  1. Greatest Christmas movie EVER! I can't wait until my son is old enough for this to become our Christmas Tradition!!

    1. Still a must to re-watch time after time each year.

      I'm pretty sure I caught this one on TV pretty early on as a kid. (but who am I to judge?! XD)