Die Hard is the most action packed Christmas movie ever made! Some might even call it the best Christmas movie period, but that depends if you consider it to be one or not. Merry Christmas everyone! Today I thought I’d surprise my readers by reviewing one of the most unconventional Christmas movies out there. Die Hard closed off the 80’s with a bang. Just one year after blowing everyone away with Predator, John McTiernan brought us one of the most influential action blockbusters of all time.
This time with a far less likely protagonist. While the 80’s was loaded with hulking muscle men, along comes Bruce Willis. A mostly comedic TV actor with an average physic. It was a risk that more than worked out. Effectively launching Willis’ Hollywood career. Surprisingly, the same can be said for Alan Rickman. Can you believe this was his first movie? What people might not know is that Die Hard is actually based very loosely on a book titled Nothing Lasts Forever. Both are about a lone police officer trapped in a building overrun with terrorists. It’s a premise that’s been duplicated countless times, but nothing compares to the original…
Die Hard is considered to be a Christmas movie, because it centers around a Christmas party. New York Detective Lieutenant John McClane is an easy going cop with a penchant for not following orders. He comes out to the coast in Los Angeles where he gets together with his estranged wife hoping to have a few laughs. Yeah right! Next thing he knows, a group of terrorists infiltrate the building. Holding all the party guests (including his wife) hostage. Leaving McClane alone in the high rise of Nakatomi Plaza.
The terrorists are lead by Hans Gruber. A charismatic European villain that steals every scene he’s in. Of course his group is after large quantities of money. When McClane’s attempts to alert the police fail, it’s up to him to fight off all the terrorists one-by-one. Carrying only his gun and a walkie talkie. Wearing an increasingly dirty tank top and going completely barefoot. A clever detail that adds an extra layer of tension to every fight scene. The walkie talkie allows him to communicate with Gruber directly. Due to his lone gunslinger act, Gruber refers to him as Mr. Cowboy. So McClane responds with one of the most badass lines in action movie history, “Yippee-Ki-Yay Motherf***er.”
When he’s finally able to get police attention, McClane also talks to America’s favorite cop Reginald VelJohnson. Die Hard has awesome action that’s never hindered by its one location. Even when he’s crawling through the air ducts. Mclane effectively takes out each terrorist and even gets a hold of a machine gun (“Ho-Ho-Ho”). Even his wife cleverly outwits the terrorists. Until a brainless reporter gives her away. Building to a thrilling conclusion that sees McClane leap from an exploding rooftop. Coming face to face with his enemy, McClane still has another trick up his sleeve. Or should I say, tapped to his back.
Die Hard has an unstoppable lead, threatening villains, is endlessly quotable, humorous, and pushes the envelope like all the best R rated 80’s action flicks. I didn’t see it at a young age, but a couple of viewings made it an instant favorite. Needless to say, I’m a Die Hard fan. I hope everyone has a very Merry (and action packed) Christmas!
Followed by: Die Hard 2