Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Die Hard' brings explosions to Christmas

Die Hard (1988)
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman and Bonnie Bedelia
Director: John McTiernan
Steve's Rating: Nine of Ten Stars

Hardboiled New York City cop John McClaine (Willis) is struggling to cope with the long-distance relationship his marriage has become since his wife (Bedelia) took a job at the offices of a Japanese company in California. He travels west for Christmas Eve and the company's Christmas party, but soon finds himself in a situation far more explosive than his marriage will ever be: A group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Rickman) has taken the company executives (along with John's wife) and are threatening to kill them one by one unless a series of rediculous demands are met. With much more than his marriage at stake, John sets about defeating the terrorists single-handedly... but will he be fast (and deadly) enough to stop Hans Gruber's real master plan?

"Die Hard" is perhaps the perfect "hero with no way out, surrounded and outnumered by bad guys, and the situation keeps going from bad to worse"-movie. The script careens toward the film's explosive climax at breakneck pace from the very beginning, and yet it still manages to work in enough characterizations, subplots, and reversals that the viewer is invested in the characters and kept guessing how things might turn out up to the very end.

Rickman and Willis are excellent as the film's coldhearted villian and very vulnerable hero--unlike the heroes protrayed by the likes of Schwarznegger and Segal, Willis' John McClaine actually bleeds when hit, shot, or cut--and a fantastic supporting cast lets them both shine ever brighter. The cat-and-mouse game between McClaine and Gruber should stand as one of the greatest battles of wits and weapons in cinematic history.

If you haven't seen "Die Hard," add it to you list of Christmas viewing. At the very least, you'll be able to say that no matter how bad getting together with the relatives is. At least none of them are shooting up the Christmas tree with uzis or blowing up skyscrapers with all of you still inside.

1 comment:

  1. He's commenting on his own indestructibility, for sure, but he's commenting, too, on the burden of the convention that he be indestructible.

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