Sometimes a movie comes along that redefines a genre, but does this also mean Die Hard is a timeless classic, compared to modern takes?
(USA 1988, director: John McTiernan)
A skyscraper in Los Angeles is seized by a group of terrorists, and the only chance of survival for the hostages is New York City detective John McClane who just wanted to visit his wife on Christmas Eve.
Something most non-German movies can’t seem to get right is actors pretending to be or speak German. Die Hard is a perfect example that this can result in some unintentionally funny lines full of grammatical mistakes and incomprehensible words. But as it’s not a language course, but an action movie, this adds to the campiness. Cinema purists might raise their eyebrows, but it’s true. Despite often bloody confrontations of McClane and the terrorists, the acting is quite ropey and the general plot isn’t much to write home about, either.
However, if one admits that this isn’t the most realistic or even original movie and only concentrates on the action and funny one-liners, then there’s a lot of fun to be had. Even if the movie runs a bit too long, when the shoot-outs start and McClane goes hand-to-hand combat, it’s a survival action movie the influence of which is still felt in other titles today, e.g. The Aggression Scale or any other flick where the hero or heroine (no matter what age) goes up against an overwhelming number of enemies in an enclosed space.
Bruce Willis does a pretty good job of portraying the anti-hero with enough wisecracking jokes, while Alan Rickman as his opponent is convincing to a certain degree despite over-acting. The rest of the cast isn’t the most memorable, but with Reginald VelJohnson (known as the dad from the Family Matters TV-series) as the sweets-eating Sgt. Al Powell, there’s enough comic relief in between the dramatic elements and tense action. As it stands, Die Hard‘s action sequences might have wowed the audience back in the late 80ies and they’re still entertaining to watch today, but there’s also a bit of downtime in between. While it’s certainly not the definitive, alternative Christmas movie or the perfect action flick, it’s worth watching during the festive season.
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