Die Hard remains an all-time classic and despite how entertaining the sequels are this will always be the best.
I realized that I have never reviewed the first 4 Die Hard movies so I thought I would start today with the original classic.
There isn’t much that hasn’t already been said about Die Hard as everyone pretty much agrees that it’s arguably the greatest action movie of all time. Everything about it just works perfectly; why? Basically because Bruce Willis was born to play John McClane.
He isn’t an invincible beefcake but a vulnerable family man who is forced into doing extraordinary acts in order to save his estranged wife. That doesn’t mean he isn’t the coolest movie character of all time though; the laid-back way he talks, the way he disposes of bad guys before uttering a one-liner and even the way he smokes all just looks cool.
The only role where Willis comes close to the awesomeness of McClane is in The Last Boy Scout.
You’ve also got Alan Rickman in his breakout role as the likeable yet villainous Hans Gruber. There is no doubt that he is a nasty guy but he is intelligent and sophisticated and there’s a tiny part of you that kinda wants him to get away with it.
The Die Hard movies are at their very best when they are directed by John McTiernan; he totally understands who McClane is and they also have the best scripts. The character is at his most casually brutal in this movie (and Part 3) where he disposes of bad guys in really violent ways and this is most noticeable when he’s fighting Karl: “You should’ve heard your brother squeal when I broke his f**kin neck!”
There is a part of McClane that really enjoys hurting bad guys and he’s also not afraid to be pretty cocky too.
Die Hard is almost unbearably tense and it’s because you care about McClane so much that you want him to succeed in his task.
The supporting cast are all excellent but I have to say that I so wanted Theo (the smug computer guy) to die so badly and it still sucks that he only gets knocked out and arrested at the end.
Michael Kamen’s score remains iconic and I’m pleased it is still used in all of the sequels providing some continuity.
The script to this movie is without fault because the tone is spot on; you’ve got just the right amount of humour to go along with the tension and violence. I love how certain scenes really have their tongue placed firmly in cheek, like the scene where the “badass” SWAT team arrive and one of the guys pricks his finger on a flower and goes “OW!”. Comic genius.
Overall, Die Hard remains an all-time classic and despite how entertaining the sequels are this will always be the best.