The Reviewing Network’s Favorite Movies #11: Die Hard


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Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It follows off-duty New York City Police Department officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he takes on a group of highly organized 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 McClane’s wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), to keep the police at bay.

It is based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, the sequel to 1966’s The Detective, which was adapted into a 1968 film of the same name that starred Frank Sinatra. Fox was therefore contractually obligated to offer Sinatra the lead role in Die Hard, but he turned it down. The studio then pitched the film to Arnold Schwarzenegger as a sequel to his 1985 action film Commando; he turned it down, as well, and the studio finally and reluctantly gave it to Willis, then known primarily as a comedic television actor.

Made for $28 million, Die Hard grossed over $140 million theatrically worldwide, and was given a positive reception from critics. The film turned Willis into an action star, became a metonym for an action film in which a lone hero fights overwhelming odds, and has been named one of the best action movies ever made. The film also ranks #29 on Empire magazine’s 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time. The film’s success spawned the Die Hard franchise, which includes four sequels (Die Hard 2, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Live Free or Die Hard and A Good Day to Die Hard), video games, and a comic book.

In the first film, the main villain is Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his right-hand man Karl (Alexander Godunov).

The Die Hard franchise has a ton of great action scenes such as the first movie’s great scenes of John McClaine diving off the side of a building using a fire hose, the scene where he throws the computer with explosives over the elevator, and especially the end where Hans meets his maker and deputy Dwayne Robinson (Paul Gleason) lets out the line, “Oh, I hope that wasn’t a hostage.”

The Die Hard movies are so much more fun to watch because of how much fun over the top action happens in the latter films. The first movie is more realistic for the most part and while it can be over the top, there was a lot more realism in this movie and actual possibilities of how a normal guy would go through this kind of situation then there were in the latter films. Even the worst film in the series, A Good Day To Die Hard, still has elements of good fun involved but it can also be very annoying when those major flaws and inconsistencies show up.

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