Alright, let’s talk about Die Hard! Yes! I love this movie! Seriously, Die Hard is too cool to not talk about. Where do I even start?
How about we start with Mr. John McClane? He is the ultimate down-to-Earth nine-to-five hero. He’s the everyman and maybe that’s why people like him so much. It’s hard to relate to James Bond, it’s easy to relate to John McClane, a man with no shoes on, totally out of his element and feeling like a loser as he desperately tries to win his wife back. He’s the kind of hero that really isn’t a hero. He’s just a guy trying to do what’s right, because no one else will and ultimately he’s the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Essentially, at its core, Die Hard isn’t an action movie, but that’s what I love about it. Action movies have heroes that work for the FBI and chase after international terrorists with expert combat skills. Die Hard has none of that. Essentially, it’s just a brilliant character piece about a man trying to get his wife back, but hitting a few snags along the way. It isn’t trying to impress you with explosions and guns, as much as it tries to impress you with good characters and a wonderful story. It just throws in all those guns and explosions for good measure. And let’s face it; this movie has some pretty awesome action set-pieces. There’s the elevator shaft scene, the scene where John’s under the table, the part where the roof explodes; Die Hard is one of those few action-packed films where the action is just as well executed as everything else: the acting, directing, editing, music, etc. It all comes together perfectly. Let’s face it, films as fun and as perfect as this are rare.
The first of the so-called “snags” that Mr. McClane hits comes in the form of German terrorist Hans Gruber, played amazingly by Alan Rickman. Then later things get even more complicated when the FBI shows up. Fortunately John’s gonna get a little help from his friends Sgt. Al Powell, played by Carl Winslow and Argyle, the limo driver. I have no idea who plays him. The supporting cast and the brilliant realization of so many rich and wonderful characters, beyond just McClane himself is another one of the reasons why Die Hard is so impressive every time I watch it. I always end up clinging to the guys who have 6 minutes of screen time just as much as the guys who have 60 minutes. Every little detail in this movie is just realized so perfectly, it blows me away every time. Not to mention, it’s only the best Christmas movie ever! Or maybe a close second after A Christmas Story. I really like that one too.
So, it’s got guns. It’s got explosions. It’s got fights and danger and fun to be had at every turn, but it’s also got heart and in the end that’s why Die Hard is #23 on my Top 25.