One could claim that 1988's "Die Hard" is one of the most influential action movies ever made because it basically revolutionized one of the most copied (but never matched, at least in terms of quality) formulas: a loner, by some unique twist of fate, battles it out with an "x" number of terrorists in an enclosed environment.
By the time that "Die Hard" was released, the action movies were most often dominated by the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and Chuck Norris. Star Bruce Willis, whose only notable credits at the time were television's "Moonlighting" and 1987's "Blind Date," which was released the year before, was the unlikeliest of them all.
Willis was a wild card - an unlikely choice for the role of our hero "John McClane" - since he didn't have any action credits on his resume' and let's face it: Bruce Willis just didn't have the bulging biceps required for a role like this. But that's the beauty of his performance in this movie: he's an everyday guy, caught in a not-so-everyday situation.
On Christmas, McClane's estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) invites him from New York all the way out to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with the family. But it requires him to make a stop at the Nakatomi offices, which is having an after-hours Christmas party. Riding for the first time in a limo, he's introduced to the suave driver, Argyle (De'voreaux White), who gives him some pretty useful advice on trying to win over the wife.
At Nakatomi, things of course get off to a rough start for McClane, as he gets into an argument with the wife and is left to wallow in his misery. However, those problems are about to take a backseat to the real "party" - twelve terrorists, led by Hans Gruber (all-purpose bad guy Alan Rickman, perfectly cast) - seize control of the building and proceed to rob the Nakatomi building of its assets, most of which include negotiable bonds and other valuables. But they didn't count on the "fly in the ointment" (pain in the a**) to make things hell for these so-called party crashers.
Certainly one of the best known action movies ever, "Die Hard" did receive the scorn of critics upon its 1988 summer release, but the audiences sung a completely different tune.
The film was most often praised for the production, with the brand-new Fox Plaza office tower serving as the fictional Nakatomi building. It was also praised for the energetic and skillful direction of John McTiernan, whose most notable credit was the action-sci-fi thriller "Predator," which was released the year before and starred Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Bruce Willis was the perfect actor for this performance, since he brings the wit and vulnerability to a role like this one. If Stallone or Schwarzenegger were in this movie, I'm sure the effect would have been a lot different.
Personally, I think "Die Hard" is one of the greatest action movies ever, up there close to my favorite action movie of all time, "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Like Indiana Jones in that film, "Die Hard" had an Everyman cast in the role; McClane, like Indiana Jones, wasn't a larger-than-life musclebound grotesque: he was a real guy that you cared about, who got hurt, and had real feelings.
That's why I think both of these movies have sort of stood the test of time as becoming what they are best known for today: action classics, and they're here to stay, ladies and gentlemen.
Action / Thriller
Action / Thriller
New York City Detective John McClane has just arrived in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunatly, it is not going to be a Merry Christmas for everyone. A group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber is holding everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building hostage. With no way of anyone getting in or out, it's up to McClane to stop them all. All 12!
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March 29, 2013 at 12:52 pm