Twelve terrorists. One cop. The odds are stacked against John McClane Thats just the way he likes it.
Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Running Time: 131 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18
Country: United States
200 million years ago, the Earth was ruled by the dinosaurs. Skip forward to the late 1980s and their crown had been passed over to a different sort of giant: the action movie star. Your Arnold Schwarzeneggers, your Sylvester Stallones, your Bruce Willises. Their big, blustering action movies reigned supreme at the box office, and this one the relentlessly testosterone-fuelled Die Hard – is big enough and, er, blustery enough to match any of them. Quite simply, anyone who doesnt like this movie should make an appointment with their GP first thing in the morning to check that they still have a pulse.
The star man in this one is Willis, who hadnt even finished severing his ties with the small-screen hit Moonlighting at this point, but was all set to make the leap to global mega-stardom nonetheless. Hes the vest-loving New York cop John McClane, and hes just arrived in California in hope of spending Chrimbo with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and kids. Unfortunately though, no sooner has he reached the 40-storey Nakatomi building where the missus works, than the place is over-run by a gaggle of terrorists Hell-bent on making off with the entire contents of the vault. To be honest, most of the staff caught in the crossfire are a pretty useless lot, doing close to sod all to save themselves – so its up to McClane to save the day all on his lonesome, armed only with a gun, an array of requisite one-liners, and that ever-present vest.
I cant really think of any possible way that you could improve upon Die Hard. Sure, its maybe a little long, but John McTiernans hundred-mile-and-hour direction (like Willis, McTiernan was also a man operating at the very top of his game in 1988, and was making this just off the back of finishing Predator) ensures that things never grow tiresome for even a second. Theres marvellous support from Alan Rickman making his big screen debut as the ruthless German baddie Hans Gruber, and for Willis this showcases the role that would come to define his entire career – a role which, even now in 2005, hes once again on the verge of reprising. There has to be an old habits die hard joke that fits in there somewhere, but I havent quite worked out where to put it yet.
It's Got: A slightly receding hairline.
It Needs: Someone to write the screenplay for Die Hard vs Alien vs Predator. I know Id watch it!!
DVD Extras Theres no shortage of different DVD versions of Die Hard doing the rounds, but this 2-disc Special Edition is probably the best youll get if you dont fancy buying the entire trilogy. Its got an audio commentary, a chance to view the film with a deleted scene re-inserted, multi-camera angle shooting, magazine articles, an ad campaign featurette, a look at the entire shooting scipt, an interactive slide show, and three theatrical trailers. You cant grumble at that lot. Version reviewed: Die Hard (Two Disc Special Edition) also see Die Hard - The Ultimate Collection (Amazon.com) DVD Extras Rating: 8/10
Alternatives:Die Hard 2, Die Hard 4.0, Die Hard: With a Vengeance
The best action movie ever? Youll have a Hard job finding a better one.