Monday, 5 March 2012

80's Movie Fest: Die Hard (1987, 20th Century Fox)

It's Christmas Eve. Detective John McClaine (Bruce Willis) is flying in from New York to Los Angeles where his wife Holly Generro (Bonnie Bedelia) is working for the Nakatomi Corporation. Whilst cleaning himself up in a bathroom on the 30th floor, a group of terrorists seize control and capture all the guests, except for McClaine, and hold them hostage. Now, it's up to our vest wearing hero, an unexpected guest in the form of a passing cop (Reginald Veljohnson) and all of McClaine's cunning and training, to save the hostages and take down the terrorists, before they can make off with the money from the building.

Die Hard is a staple of 80's action movies. Along side the likes of Predator, Commando and Rambo III, it has a body count, but it has one thing going for it: it's smart. Very smart. Taken from Roderick Thope's 1979 book, Nothing Lasts Forever, Die Hard was originally envisioned as a sequel to Commando. But, Arnie passed (because of how poor Conan The Destroyer did with the critics), so it was rewritten, and became the movie we know and love today. And, I'm glad he did. The script is sharp, the set pieces are fantastic, and the fight between Alexander Goudinov and Bruce Willis is bone crunching excitement. Even the building that doubles as the Nakatomi Plaza is the actual Fox building, so I suppose that saved on location scouting!

Competantly directed by John McTiernan, it became the hallmark 80's action movie, becoming 20th's biggest hit of 1987, and recently being named as 'the best action movie of all time'. Bruce Willis fits into the role of the cop facing insermountable odds perfectly, and coming from doing comedy, delivers his one-liners with gusto, especially his trademark catchphase "Yippie-ky-ay, Motherf**ker". I can't imagine anyone else being able to pull off the role the way he can. The same can be said for Alan Rickman, who plays Hans Gruber, the German criminal mastermind. He seemed to be born to play that role, and again, cant imagine anyone else playing the role.

Overall, the film is nigh on perfect. The best action/christmas movie ever made. It even spawned 3 sequels, of which 2 are excellent, and one is good (but not great). Plus, there is a 5th one in the works, with Willis returning to the role of McClaine, thats supposed to be being released sometime early next year. Can't wait for that one!

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