Around this time of year, people start asking each other what their favorite Christmas movie is. I always get a funny look when I answer Die Hard. And I can't blame them. Die Hard has no Santa, no elves, no snowmen, no awkward family meals, and no underlying moral lesson about family and the spirit of the the holiday. There aren't any gifts exchanged, but instead bullets and awesome one-liners. And there lies the reason that I love it so much.
For the uninitiated, John McClane is the hero of this action-packed thriller. McClane is a New York City cop who flies out to Los Angeles to be with his estranged wife and children for Christmas. While waiting for his wife to finish at a her office's Christmas party, a few uninvited guest toting machine guns crash the party, led by one Hans Gruber. They lock down the building and hold the guests hostage while attempting to break into the building's vault and steal the millions of dollars lying within. But they didn't count on John McClane giving them a, aherm, run for their money.
What follows after this main setup is a tightly written, intense, and fun action film, and one of the best action films to ever be produced. Each action sequence is effortlessly exciting and enthralling, mostly due to director John McTiernan's exceptional eye for action. This film was made before the days of shaky-cam, and it's all the better for it. McTiernan films the action scenes smoothly and breathlessly, giving the audience a clear view of all the stunts.
|Hopefully you'll never get to know what a|
TV dinner feels like.
Make no mistake, our villains are no simple thugs. Hans Gruber oozes intelligence and is quite the charming villain, played brilliantly by Alan Rickman. Rickman practically steals the show, leaving the viewer unable to take their eyes from his performance. Beyond Hans, each individual terrorist seems to have their own personality rather than being faceless fodder for McClane's bullets.
But the reason the film succeeds is because of its incredibly likable lead character. McClane is Bruce Willis' defining role, and he plays it with such enthusiasm. McClane is the kind of guy to taunt a bad guy even while staring down the barrel of a gun. He's witty, smart, and perhaps the coolest action hero of the 80s.
|Kids, this is what happens to people|
who make the naughty list.