794. Die Hard (1988)

8.3 Thrilling and iconic
  • Acting 8.4
  • Directing 8.2
  • Story 8.4
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia

Director: John McTiernan

Running Time: 131 mins

Die Hard is an American film about John McClane, an NYPD officer, who gets caught up in the terrorist takeover of a major skyscraper in downtown LA, and is reluctantly forced to save his wife and 30 other hostages from an evil German organisation on Christmas Eve.

This film is just so good. It’s a thrilling, fantastically action-packed, intelligent and pulsating story that is historic for redefining the action genre and the average action hero. In fact, the characters are the most impressive and unique part of this film, because they’re so interesting and believable that this never feels like just a hulking, stupid action blockbuster.

I’ll go a little bit more in-depth about the characters, mostly the central ‘hero’: John McClane. The most interesting thing about McClane is that he isn’t actually a proper hero, but somewhat of an anti-hero. Of course, in the face of the terrorists, he doesn’t seem like such a bad guy, and that’s what makes you want to really support him to save the day.

However, what firstly makes him so convincing is that he isn’t necessarily Superman. He’s a smoking, drinking, children-neglecting and pretty amoral man, and his methods of ‘disposing’ of the bad guys are ridiculously violent and over-the-top, which does often make you question how much of a good guy McClane really is away from this situation.

What also makes him really convincing is that he’s not being heroic to save the day, but is defeating the bad guys because he’s fed up with the whole mess and just wants to get out of there, and that trait alone really makes him a much more relatable and believable character, as opposed to the generic action heroes you see most of the time, which are much more one-dimensional and boring.

So, you can see that the excellent characterisation is what really makes this film stand out, especially for me, but it still wouldn’t be anything without the fantastic story and action all the way through.

The story is particularly interesting because it is quite intelligent, as well as being simple, easy and fun to follow along to. It’s not just an excuse to blow the hell out of a skyscraper, but it’s a well-written and cleverly put-together plot, with very believable and unpredictable twists throughout, which makes for pleasant and hugely intriguing watching.

However, the thing that you really can’t miss about this film is the action, of which there is quite a lot. Basically, there are epic gun battles, fist fights, tense standoffs and countless brilliant explosions at every moment, and while that of course makes it a whole lot more fun and pounding to watch, it still fits perfectly into the story, and despite being so loud, never feels excessive at all.

Overall, this gets an 8.3, because it’s an absolutely thrilling, very intelligent, well-written and action-packed movie that keeps you engrossed from start to finish.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com