Star: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman
Director: John McTiernan
“40 Stories of Sheer Adventure!”
Really, what you’ve got here is the Holy Grail of action films. A film so revolutionary that it created a sub-genre, launching millions of different action films that were described as “Die Hard on a _____”. The funny thing is, the plot is so absolutely simple, it’s shocking no one came up with it before.
John McClane is a New York cop who’s marriage is on the rocks, due to his wife not being happy with just being a homemaker. Pssh, just like a woman. So, he’s heading to LA in order to try and patch things up, because God-forbid Holly do it! Once he touches down in Los Angeles, he gets himself a limo with a talkative driver named Argyle. He instantly wins my respect by listening to Run DMC. The place John is dropped off at is The Nakatomi Plaza building where Holly’s Christmas party is going down. Since John is unsure whether or not he’s going to get busy with the Mrs, Argyle offers to hang out until he knows the deal for sure.
Now, while John is heading up stairs, playing meet n greet, a team of German terrorists are infiltrating the building in order to load up on the $640 million dollars worth of bearer bonds. The leader of the group is Hans Gruber, a smooth talking bad-ass who loves to wear a good suit, and isn’t afraid to put a bullet in someone should it seem fit. He’s got along with him many a thug, as well as a computer/electronics savant who’s here to break into the major vault.
As Holly & John are seemingly on the mend, gunfire erupts out in the banquet room as the bad-guys make their presence known. John takes the split second he has to duck out into the stairwell, and try to mount a plan. If it were me, my awesome plan would have been to run down the stairs screaming a combination of rape & fire.
One of John’s first plans is to pull the fire alarm and get some attention to this situation. Naturally, the baddies are on top of this, which should have been obvious because Hans is wearing a suit. You wear a suit, you know the score. So, Hans tells one of the fellow bad guys to check on the situation, and gets his neck broken for his troubles. That’s why I’ve never done anything my bosses have ever told me to do. I’m not getting my neck broken.
It’s now known by Hans and the group that there’s something afoot, due to John writing “Now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” on the dead guys sweat shirt, and sending him down the elevator. Meanwhile, a simple beat cop known best to the World as Carl Winslow of Family Matters’ fame, has been called to check out the situation at Nakatomi Plaza. For his troubles, he gets his car shredded with a few machine guns, and ran off an embankment. After calling in the troops, he’s able to communicate with John who snatched a radio he nabbed from a dead guy.
So, the troops come in, and try to work this situation out. By work the situation out, I mean get knee capped, and have their LAPD tank blown to hell with a rocket launcher. John answers back with thee ol’ C4 & computer monitor trick. I’m sure in this day and age he’d tie it to an iPhone or something. Ellis, perhaps the greatest representation of the 80’s yuppie, does a few snorts of coke, and tries to work out a deal with Hans & the gang. I never knew just what the hell kind of deal he was gonna strike. Although his 10,000 watt smile could damn near soften the heart of any terrorist. Except Hans, he blows his brains out because John won’t give up the detonators he boosted from one of Hans’ henchmen.
The FBI finally arrives, and they zap the power to the building, which is exactly what Hans wanted. Now that things are on their way, they split up to check on things and make sure shit is going down. Hans checks out the C4 on the roof, and happens to run into John. Naturally. John assumes that everyone is a terrorist, and doesn’t trust Bill Clay for a minute. That proves to be fruitful, as Hans tries to shoot John, only to realize the gun has no bullets. Before anything else can go down, the rest of the crew show up and shoot the hell out of the office, layering the floor in shards of glass. Which will prove to be detrimental to John’s shoeless feet. The gang manages to get the detonators back, and leave John to bleed.
They finally break through the safe they’ve been trying to crack, and start loading up the loot. Meanwhile, John figures out that they’re going to blow the roof when all the hostages are up there. That way the FBI thinks everyone has died, and will take a while to try and track them down. He runs up stairs, and gets the group to head the hell back downstairs. Of course, since there’s women, they won’t listen unless John is firing a freaking machine gun. Now that it’s all clear, he gets to jumping off the roof with a firehose tied around his waist. If it were me, they’d probably only have a garden hose, I’d only be able to jump about half a foot, and also get rubber burn. And I don’t think there’s much lotion in Nakatomi Plaza.
Well, it’s game time, the showdown between Hans & John McClane. Since John is the smartest motherfucker alive, he has a gun taped to his back, and blows some Germans away. I have a ton of back hair, and I can tell you how that plan would have gone. The tape would have adhered to my back hair so strongly that when I pulled on the gun I would have given myself a front flip.
Man Movie Encyclopedia Tally:
Guys Beat Up: 4
Guys Killed: 21
Swear Words: 98
Slow-Motion Scenes: 10
Car Chases: None
Chases on Foot: 2
Broken Bones: 1
Fight at a Motel? No
Guy Get Girl? Yes
Guy Smoke Cigarettes? Yes
Tony: …there are rules for policemen.
John McClane: Yeah, that’s what my Captain keeps telling me.
Marco: Next time you have a chance to kill someone, don’t hesitate.
[McClane pumps about 6 shots into him]
John McClane: Thanks for the advice, pal.
[after some cowboy talk, John pulls the gun from his back and shoots Hans]
John McClane: Happy trails, Hans.
The film is based on a 1979 novel ‘Nothing Lasts Forever’ by Roderick Thorp. The novel is a sequel to Thorp’s 1966 novel ‘The Detective’, which was turned into a 1968 film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra. Per his contract, he was offered the role of John McClane, which he turned down. Afterward, it was pitched as a sequel to Commando.
The original poster release didn’t feature Bruce’s image, because the studio thought it’d hurt the box-office, since he wasn’t an action star.
When John falls down the elevator shaft, you see that he misses the first air vent. That was actually a mistake by the stuntman, as he didn’t grab it in time, but they dug it so they left it in.
Bruce was the 7th choice for John McClane. 7th, motherfucker. The line went like this;
Arnold, then Stallone, then Burt Reynolds, then Richard Gere, then Harrison Ford, then Mel Gibson. I don’t get it, how could you read this script and think “feh”?
The centerfold that John sees in the elevator shaft is that of Playboy’s Miss November, 1987, Pamela Stein.
The reaction that Alan Rickman has when being dropped is genuine. He was held 21ft above an airbag, and the stuntman let go at 2, not 3.
The Director, John McTiernan decided to change Hans & the gang from political terrorist, to dudes just out for a score. He felt it would be easier for people to enjoy a simple caper film.
Created on a budget of $28 million dollars, Die Hard was released on July 15th, 1988 to 1,276 theaters. It opened up at #3, earning a weekend total of $7,105,514. It ended up earning a grand total of $140,767,956
C’mon Bennet, Let’s Party!:
Seriously, there’s nothing I could say that would do this film justice. It’s an absolute masterpiece. It’s not only one of the Top 3 action films of all time, it’s one of the Top 10 films of all time. There’s absolutely nobody who can’t enjoy this. The plot was so simple, but executed so goddamn well. There isn’t one gripe about this film, as it’s flawless from beginning to end. John McClane is one of the burliest movie characters of all time. Hands down.
5 Head-Butts Out Of 5.