Arts & Reviews

Film Review: Die Hard (1988)

By: Cameron Michales

Rating: 10/10

Since it’s almost December, I’ve decided to review a holiday movie, but which one? There are television specials (which don’t really count as movies), such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964); Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown (1965); and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966). There are the classics, like It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and others. There are comedies, such as A Christmas Story (1983), Home Alone (1990), The Santa Clause (1993), Eight Crazy Nights (2002), and Elf (2003). There even obscurities, like Santa Claus (1959), Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), and Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny (1972). I chose Die Hard (1988).

This legendary action movie from the 1980s is about Lieutenant John McClane (Bruce Willis), a cop from N.Y.C., who attends a party during the holiday season with his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), in Nakatomi Plaza, owned by Holly’s boss, Mr. Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta). While John is in another room, a group of dangerous criminals (Alexander Godunov, Andreas Wisniewski, Clarence Gilyard, and others) led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) hold the entire party, except for McClane, hostage. The group wants $640,000,000 in bearer bonds. McClane, no longer in New York, must use his knowledge and skills to try to stop Gruber and his team from harming the party guests and getting the money. Throughout his adventure, he speaks with Sergeant Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson) over the radio, fights some of the villains, talks to himself quite a bit, and worries about Holly, as his limo driver, Argyle (De’voreaux White), is so busy listening to music and talking on an enormous ’80s cell phone (which seems to get pretty good reception in a parking garage) that he doesn’t notice all of the chaos going on a few floors above him.

In my personal opinion, Die Hard is one of the best movies ever made. Will everybody that views it love it? Possibly not. Is it violent? Yes, it’s an ’80s action flick. Are there one-liners? Of course there are, it’s an ’80s action flick. Do a few of the more minor bad guys have almost no personality and almost no common sense? Yes. It’s an action movie. On the other hand, it tries for more. The hero isn’t just a big powerhouse that can kill about twenty antagonists in two minutes by throwing some punches, and throw people about thirty feet away by using his bare hands. John McClane is in a confined space, with about thirteen ruthless bad guys patrolling the building that his wife is being held hostage in. He has to perform tasks, like crawling through the air ducts and using other ways of sneaking around, to try to stop the criminals. It is very suspenseful as the viewer roots for McClane, especially in one scene, where McClane radios the police for help, but the woman that answers doesn’t believe him, and tells him that he’s using a restricted frequency. Die Hard is an experience filled with fast-paced action, building suspense, and some humor, that keeps the audience entertained.

Die Hard wound up making a large profit, and earning many fans after it was released on July 16, 1988. It spawned four sequels (Die Hard 2: Die Harder [1990], Die Hard with a Vengeance [1995], Live Free or Die Hard [2007], and A Good Day to Die Hard [2013]) and caused “Yippie-ki-yay” to be a well-known quote from the film that made its way into pop culture. It’s a great action movie that has entertained moviegoers for years.