Holiday movies are all fine and dandy, but they get old once the holidays are over and they’re still playing on every channel. When you finally get sick of reindeer, elves and even Adam Sandler (“8 Crazy Nights,” anyone?) and want a little action, there is a fool-proof option: “Die Hard.”
It’s a Christmas movie, honest! At least, it takes place on Christmas Eve, so it’s close enough, right?
Of course it is, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because John McClane (Bruce Willis, “Looper”) running around and kicking the snot out of a bunch of high class criminals while barefoot is cool.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s doing the aforementioned “snot kicking” at a ruined Christmas party, so that he can save his wife (Bonnie Bedelia, “Berkeley”) and see his kids for the holidays. See? Christmas movie.
Terrorist/thief Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2”) leads a team of crooks into Nakatomi Plaza in L.A. so that they can rob the business blind. They’ve got the artillery of a small army, and a complicated plan of deception that will ultimately aid in their exit plan. They weren’t planning on an NYPD cop, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, trying and stop them.
Holiday movie justification aside, “Die Hard” is a classic action flick with good acting, great explosions, memorable one-liners and a guy-gets-girl ending.
On the acting front, Alan Rickman takes center stage. His German accent leaves a bit to be desired, but his transition to an American accent while attempting to deceive McClane is impressive. He sounds out of place at first, but that’s because he has such a distinct voice in every role he plays. If you’ve never seen “Die Hard” (shame on you), the transition sounds wrong at first, but once you listen to it, it’s actually quite good.
McClane’s wife Holly is a strong female character and, while she needs a bit of rescuing, she’s fiercely independent and formidable. Bedelia is wonderful in portraying this in the character. Her facial expressions are guarded when in scenes with Rickman and the rest of the bad guys, but emotive and open when around the other hostages or Willis. Small details like that make a huge difference, and it’s nice to see that in such an over the top and action-stuffed movie, there is still a display of subtlety in both hers and Rickman’s acting.
Willis is great for the role of McClane. The way he carries himself gives off the vibe of a city cop, and the way he reacts to his surroundings helps promote the fact that he is far out of his element when it comes to a situation of this magnitude. He doesn’t make his actions and quick wit look easy and well-put together, which helps make the character more relatable.
All in all, it’s a classic action flick with big booms and memorable characters.
Once Prancer-fever has run its course, “Die Hard” is a great substitute. Yippee-ki-yay!
Movie: “Die Hard”
Release Date: July 15, 1988
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia