According to your votes Die Hard is one of the reviews you wanted to see and with "A Good Day to Die Hard" coming out in a few weeks, I plan to post reviews for the entire Die Hard series leading up to the new movie. Most likely I will make a "Review Round-Up" for "A Good Day to Die Hard", if anyone is interested.
Die Hard is the action movie that redefined the action genre with the concept of a somewhat average guy saving people from a hostage crisis. The plot may seem like a cliché today but that is because so many other films have copied the formula with varying success for example: the movie Speed is considered "Die Hard on a Bus", and Air Force One "Die Hard on a Plane". At the time Bruce Willis was not known as the action movie star he is today, so the concept of him staring in a big action movie was unheard of. His likeness was not even on the original poster for Die Hard. Bruce Willis as John John McClane Unlike most action movies Die Hard did not start with a "Bang" like most but it set up the characters' back stories, which greatly aided in making it different from its contemporaries. Alan Rickman as the gentlemen villain Hans Gruber is one of the key aspects that makes the film great, he is one of the best film villains to date. It is difficult to describe why Die Hard worked without spoiling the film, you just have to watch it for yourself. While I would not consider Die Hard to be quite on the level of perfection that other actions films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark or The Matrix, it is nonetheless one of the best actions movies ever made. There is a lot of action after the movie gets going and there are even a few suspenseful moments. The only complaints I have with Die Hard are the few cheesy lines by some of the henchmen and the absurd amount of profanity. That is why I watched it on cable with the bad language cut out, please do not criticize my decision, but I do not enjoy watching movies with a ton of F-words (violence on the other hand is not a problem in the slightest). However, those are minor issues with an overall amazing and fun action film. One question that often comes up is whether Die Hard is a Christmas film. While it is set on Christmas-Eve and uses Christmas music, however it was released in the Summer (July 15), so it is a Christmas film? Considering that there are few Christmas movies that I really like, I have it at number one favorite Christmas film. I almost want to say that it is one of the "Ultimate Guys Only Movie" because it is generally considered the de facto guy film. However there are some really cool women readers who love the movie, so I can't say that accurately.
Directed by: John McTiernan
Release Date: July 15, 1988 (1988-07-15)
Running Time: 131 minutes
MMPA rating: PG-13
The Good: Action packed, Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber is a great villain, John McClane is a great hero, Revolutionary for its time, Memorable quotes, Great use of humor,
The Bad: Some cheesy dialogue,
Warning: This movie is rated "R" for graphic violence, profanity, and other mature content.
Plot: On Christmas Eve, Detective John McClane of the New York City Police Department arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly Gennaro-McClane. McClane is driven to the Nakatomi Plaza building for a company Christmas party by a limo driver named Argyle. The party is disrupted by the arrival of twelve armed men led by Hans Gruber. They cut the telephone lines and seal the building doors, trapping Argyle and the limo inside the parking garage and replacing the building guard with one of their own men. Hans and his group secure the party goers as hostages, but McClane manages to slip, barefoot, into a stairwell.
Gruber portrays himself to the police as a terrorist, but they are actually trying to steal $640 million in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi vault (Though it is later revealed that Gruber actually was a terrorist having gone rogue). When Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi refuses to reveal the code for one of the vault's seven locks, Gruber executes him. Gruber orders Theo (Clarence Gilyard), the technical member of his team to break through the locks on the vault. Theo reminds Hans that the final lock is powered by circuits that cannot be cut locally.
McClane moves through the building, hiding from or shooting the terrorists he sees. He learns more of their objectives while acquiring a two-way radio and C4 explosives. McClane uses the radio to attract the attention of the LAPD, who send Sergeant Al Powell to investigate. Gruber sends his men, led by Karl, to kill McClane and retrieve the detonators. Fooled by the impostor guard, Powell is about to leave when McClane drops the corpse of a terrorist onto Powell's police car. Gruber's men then open fire on Powell, severely damaging his car, prompting Powell to call in back up. Watch the movie to see what happens next. This plot summery is from Wikipedia.com.
Plot: 9.4/10- The concept might not sound as original today as it did in 1988 but that is because so many movies have copied the concept throughout the years. Compared to most action movies at the time, only Indiana Jones humanized the main protagonist more than Die Hard did with McClane. The setting adds the feeling of claustrophobia with the tight corridors, which at times added suspense. Except for a few cheesy lines and F-words, the dialogue sharp and often humorous, filled with memorable quotes (please reframe from quoting famous line in the comments because any profanity will be removed).
Action: 9.5/10- While some of the action and explosions were over-the-top, this first Die Hard is still in the realm of movie believability, unlike the disappointing sequels. There was not one extreme memorable action scene that stood-out among the rest, but overall the action was fun and well filmed.
Acting: 9.2/10- Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber was phenomenal, one of the all time best on-screen villains, his mannerisms and way of speaking were so entertaining. Bruce Willis was obviously great and played a likable protagonist as stated previously. Some of Hans Gruber’s henchmen’s performances were not the best and some could have been better.
Special effects: 8.0/10- There two scenes that use special effects both still look good today.
Soundtrack: 7.8/10- The soundtrack was good and used great classic Christmas songs to great effect.
Comedy: 8.1/10- John McClane’s dialogue is often humorous and memorable and contains many humorous lines throughout.
Would I Watch it Again: Since it is one of my favorite movies, it is a fantastic movie to re-watch, especially at Christmas time.
Overall: 9.4/10- Overall Die Hard is a classic action movie that every action film fan should watch and one of my favorite movies period.
Closing comments: Not only was Die Hard a fantastic action film, it was redefined action films and created its own “Die-Hard-Clone” sub-genre.
Recommended for: Action movie fans, Alan Rickman fans, Bruce Willis fans,
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