Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Die Hard (1988)

Director: John McTiernan
Writers: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza
Cinematographer: Jan de Don't
Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov

The film follows off-duty police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he takes on a group of highly organised criminals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who perform a heist in a Los Angeles skyscraper under the guise of a terrorist attack using hostages, including McLane's wife Holly, to keep the police at bay.

Die Hard is of course the film that launched Bruce Willis, who was till then a TV actor who does comedy, as an action star. The studio had approached Arnold Schwarzenegger for the role as a sequel to 'Commando' but he turned it down. We can thank him for that because we just cannot imagine anyone else playing McClane now. Out of the left-field choice of Bruce Willis and the then fresh idea of a non-muscled up lone wolf hero fighting against all odds were what made Die Hard such a path-breaking film. Since then the whole premise has been regurgitated numerous times and we got Die Hard on a plane, Die Hard on a President's plane, Die Hard on a Ship etc, as the honest trailers guys put it. I was never a fan of Arnie action films (couldn't finish Predator) and films like Die Hard , Bourne series etc are my kind of action films. Only downside to it is that it forced Bruce Willis to do many action films which led to the underutilization of his considerable acting capabilities.

What makes it great when compared with other action films, including the sequels in the same franchise, is that it got a great villain. To be honest, I won't call him a villain even because Alan Rickman is just cool as the silver-tongued operator with classical education. You will almost feel sad when he meets his end in the film. It is hard to fathom that it was a debut role in films for the excellent Alan Rickman, whom many idiots will remember just for his role as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise.

Die Hard works as a great action film, a great Christmas film and a great comedy film. Most of the characters in it, especially outside of the building, are cartoonish but it works well for the comedy. I just loved those FBI guys, both of whom are named Johnson (no relation). It is a must-watch.

PS: Yippie Ki-Yay, Motherfucker!!

Rating: 5/5