Posts Tagged ‘Die Hard’

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Die Hard: With a Vengeance, AKA my favourite Die Hard, hit cinema screens in August of good old ’95. That was a boss year. We got some crakcing films that year such as From Dusk till Dawn and Bad Boys. I was twelve that summer. I wasn’t old enough to go see Die Hard: With a Vengeance. Instead I had to wait for it to come out on VHS! (no DVD’s or Blu Ray’s back then folks). I’d always loved Die Hard. It didn’t matter that I was too young to appreciate the films fully.

I got the movie and it became one of my all time faves. It’s no wonder why because not only is it a better movie than Die Hard 2, I think so anway, it sees the return of original Die Hard director John McTiernan and the addition of not only a fresh setting (NEW YORK CITY!! McLane’s home turf!) but the added bonus of Samuel L. Jackson as – not a fan of white people – yet beyond likeable Zeus Carver.

The plot of the third Die Hard is less bloated than in the second film. Much more like the original and it works in the film’s favour. McClane becomes the target of a madman, known only as Simon (to begin with!), who wants McClane to participate in a game of Simon Says. Failure to do so results in chaos, see Simon has placed countless bombs around New York and if McClane doesn’t do what Simon says then it’s BOOM! Harlem electrician Zeus (Jackson) becomes an unwilling player and along with McClane the duo team up and set out to save New York. There’s a bit more to the plot but you know I hate those spoilers, chances being slim you haven’t seen the movie, still I’d rather not give anything away.

A big reason the film is boss is the chemestry between Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Their characters initially don’t get along. Hell, Zeus has no problems saying what’s on his mind and more times than not he’s right and the sole voice of reason. It’s for that reason their need to work together and see beyond race and personality clashes is vital not just for the sake of the film but so they can stop Simon. Any you know what? It’s great seeing a different POV in a movie like this. I do feel it has some stuff to say about race, rightly so and in a┬ásad way stuff that is still relavent in America today. The fact mainstream action movies today don’t touch that sort of thing lends only more weight to Die Hard: With a Vengeance.

The film delivers on the action. If we’re talking Die Hard/Die Hard 2 levels of gunplay, well, you won’t get that here. It’s more a series of race against time situations, with the occassional burst of shoot outs, fights and car chases. More than enough to keep any action fan satisfied. The cast, beyond Willis and Jackson, are all boss. Colleen Camp and Graham Greene as McLane’s fellow officers get a decent amount to do as the whole squad is dragged into Simon’s deadly game. Speaking of Simon, the big bad, Brit actor Jeremy Irons is fantastic in the role. ALMOST as good as the great Alan Rickman in the first movie.

New York City itself is another reason I love this film so much. I think it was awesome that we got to see McLane at home. No Holly or kids to distract him. It’s like here is John McLane the man, the cop and the mess. Because the man is a mess when the film kicks off. This is not the hero of Die Hard or the excessive wise cracker from Die Hard 2. He’s a guy who is well beyond his fifteen minutes of fame and is barely holding onto his job. A pitty none of the later films in the series thought to take a as interesting look/approach to McClane because as a character he’s just as much a reason the films are are so great as the action or plots.

For me this franchise is like this – Die Hard, Die Hard 2 and Die Hard With a Vengeance. Yeah, I know there’s two more after this third movie but those first three feel like a complete trilogy. Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard will always be “the other two” in my eyes. I don’t even dislike them. I think Die Hard 4 is pretty good! Just neither of them beat this and in that respect you have to wonder “Why bother?”. Die Hard With a Vengeance is a boss action movie and that’s all I have to say about it.

 

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Die Hard

Posted: December 20, 2017 in Movies
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Die Hard. What can I say about this classic that hasn’t been said countless times before? Released in 1988, directed by John McTiernan (Predator) and marking the debut of Bruce Willis the action star. Up until this point Willis was known more for his work on television than on the big screen. Die Hard would make Willis a star, thanks to his easy charm, kick ass attitude, a great story and excellent direction from McTiernan. Die Hard is often marked as one of the best action movies of all time. It’s hard to argue with that.

The plot is simple. Christmas Eve. Terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) crash a party at the Nakatomi Plaza. Their aim is to steal millions in bonds from the company. Unfortunatley for them they don’t count on John McClane (Willis) and his resourcefullness in life and death situations.

The execution of the plot is perfect. By the time the opening credits finish the audience knows exactly what it needs to about New York cop John McClane. Estranged from his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), he’s a man’s man, married to his job back in New York and a total fish out of water as he finds himself in L.A. at Holly’s workplace. With the backstory out of the way the rest of the film is just one escalation of action and excitment after another. The pace never slowing and the gunshots and explosions rolling out to a fantastic finish. McClane’s goal simple. Stay alive, save his wife and kill whoever gets in his way. The template of Die Hard has been copied many times but never matched.

McTiernan’s direction is excellent. The movie does have some of the best action set pieces put to film. Even now almost thiry years after it’s release. Die Hard is full of iconic moments. From the barefoot glass walk, the countless close calls, clueless authority figures, one liners and the ease of which the audience gets behind the hero and cheers him on. That’s down to McTiernan’s direction, the excellent script and Willis’ ability to make McClane likeable despite his faults.

Another big plus the film has is the cast and characters. Willis deserved to be a star after Die Hard and Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber is one the best villain’s ever to grace the screen. He’s like a snake but oh so charming. Bedelia does good with what she’s given and has great chemistry with Willis. Shout outs to Hart Bochner as Holly’s work collegue Ellis who has one of the best scnes in the movie and Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt Al Powell, a fellow cop and arguably the films true hero!

Without a shadow of a doubt though the true breakout of Die Hard is Willis as McLane. Die Hard showed audiences the making of a film star. The appeal of John McLane being that he could be ANY guy who found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Today you’d probably get some GQ cover star of the month playing McClane, looking like he’d just stepped out of the gym instead of getting off a cross country flight. They sure don’t make them like this any more. Die Hard is easily one of the best action movies EVER made and a true Christmas classic.