Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Die Hard (1988)

TOP 100 FILMS: #75

Upon visiting his wife, who is currently working in LA, for Christmas, New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) gets caught in the middle of a full scale robbery from a group of terrorists lead by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).

Try and find an honest top 10 action films of all time list without Die Hard. Try writing one without it and feeling as if you're not lying just a little bit. Deep down inside we all love Die Hard. Why? Because we love the characters, the comedy, the insanely awesome action, and of course... because we all love an underdogs.

John McClane is the ultimate hero: flawed, struggling, but quick witted, morally sound, funny, and emotionally bound. As such he has become the embodiment of everything a hero is to the summer blockbuster, often imitated, never recreated, and never surpassed, McClane is simply the action king. On top of that you have a breakout performance from Bruce Willis, setting the scale as high as it can go for all future action films to be measured by.

Supporting Willis is possibly the most under appreciated actor of our time, Alan Rickman (not even one Oscar nomination?). Rickman creates the ultimate villain in Gruber, the perfect compliment to Willis. Due to the sheer power of these two characters, the audience is allowed into the mindset of them, and we're given an action film worth watching that only gets better with time. With great stunts abound, McTiernan designs a film so over the top, so fun, you can't help but laugh and cheer the whole way through.

Yet as McTiernan has proved (with flops Rollerball, 13th Warrior, and Last Action Hero), it's the writers who truly make the film. Based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, Stuart and Souza create one of the most intense environments imaginable, bringing to life this small world, with no real need to stretch out and try to create some monster all encompassing film. Yet for a movie so action packed, it's impossible to justifiably put this film into words that describe it. Die Hard is by all accounts the king of the modern action genre, executing every moment with entertainment perfection.

An action lovers paradise, Die Hard is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable movies of all time, and should be rewarded as such.

1 better thoughts:

Danny King said...

I think Alan Rickman, like you mentioned with no Oscar nominations, is an incredibly underrated actor. However, it is pretty well known that in Die Hard he created one of the more memorable villain of our time.

In terms of action films, Die Hard certainly is a classic. Great action, a great villain, a great protagonist. It's also a smart film that doesn't try to do to much. It realizes that it can be good enough with its action, its performances, and the memorable quotations.

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