Now I Have A Machine Gun, Ho Ho Ho (Die Hard review)

What is a die hard anyway? Common knowledge states that it’s someone who stubbornly resists change or uses tenacity to stick to a seemingly hopeless cause.

In a special Theatrical Tuesday review, I look at a movie that is truly die hard, and almost twenty five years later, is still considered to be an achievement in genre film. I think you’ll enjoy this one folks.

 

 

 

Die Hard (1988)

Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, Alan Rickman, James Shigeta
Director: John McTiernan
released on blu-ray November 20, 2007
********** 10/10

die_hard_ver2

IMDB: 8.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%, Audience Score 94%
The Guardian: *****/*****

John McTiernan is an American filmmaker. He is best known for a trio of action films he directed between 1987 to 1990 – Predator, Die Hard, and The Hunt for Red October.

Though to be clear, Predator was not his directorial debut, in 1986, he did write and direct his first feature film, Nomads, starring Pierce Brosnan, also effectively starting Brosnan’s career with his own first lead role in a film. While Nomads was neither commercially successful nor critically acclaimed, it did land McTiernan the job of directing science fiction action hit Predator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then coming hot off the success of Predator, which was second only to Beverly Hills Cop II for domestic box office in 1987, McTiernan was given an even larger budget and managed to improve his results with Die Hard. This movie has been given generally favourable reviews throughout the years and still trends in top 10 Christmas movie lists almost twenty-five years later.

It is my favourite Christmas movie that doesn’t focus primarily on Christmas – Let’s go over the plot quick.

On Christmas Eve, NYPD Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) lands in LA to visit estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at her company Christmas party. McClane is driven to the party by an airport limousine driver, who waits for him in the basement. While McClane changes clothes, the party is overrun by German terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and team. McClane manages to skip out while the rest of the party are taken as hostages.

Gruber takes the head executive Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta), and interrogates Takagi for the vault codes to reveals that his real plan is to steal $640 million in bearer bonds. Takagi refuses to cooperate and is murdered by Gruber. McClane, who had been secretly watching, accidentally gives himself away and is pursued by the terrorists throughout the building, slowly eliminating terrorists and gaining resources, eventually getting a radio and contacting the LAPD. Patrol officer Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson). Powell helps him from the outside, calling in the FBI.

The terrorists want the FBI shut off the building power, so that the final lock of the vault will be disabled, and they can steal the bonds. Gruber asks for a helicopter to escape, but intends to fake the teams death, simultaneously killing all of the hostages, and providing them with a distraction to leave through the basement via an “ambulance” they brought.

Shortly after, Gruber sees a news report from reporter Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) and realizes that McClane is Holly’s husband. Gruber and team send the hostages to the roof with the explosives, holding Holly as leverage, but McClane is able to get out of the situation and send the hostages back downstairs before the roof blows. The criminals head for the garage, but as McClane goes to cut them off, Gruber threatens Holly and forces his hand. With some luck, McClane is able to trick Gruber and henchman, revealing a pistol taped to his back. He shoots Gruber in the shoulder, and kills the other guy. Gruber crashes through a window,eventually falling to his death.

The movie ends with Thornburg getting punched out by Holly, and McClane and Holly leaving with limo driver Argyle.

This movie really is a textbook example of what an action/crime film should be. The plot is clear, with the setting and characters being believable. We always root for John McClane because he is the every man, at risk consistently throughout the film, though lucky and funny enough to realize he is in over his head. It is easy to sit through because the weight of the supporting cast allows us to root for McClane and Holly as they work to get out of this surreal situation.

Pros: From cokehead deal maker Ellis, to down on his luck beat cop Al Powell, the characters in this story are interesting and all work together to make a believable narrative for John McClane to fight his way through a team of criminals that are more than they appear to be. The one-liners are definitive and the action is fun to watch.

Cons: You will realize rather quickly that this is pulling on all of the right chords to get you hyped up for the story and then regret how easily you were manipulated into the plot. Paul Gleason plays the deputy chief who questions if McClane really is a cop, and he is incredibly frustrating to watch.

Runtime:  2 hours 11 minutes

Points of InterestIronically, Bruce Willis was born in Germany, while Alan Rickman was English and most of his henchman were from other other parts of Europe. The Nakatomi tower is in fact the real head offices of 20th Century Fox, and the company charged itself rent to use the then-unfinished building while filming.

Die Hard is iconic. That much is true. But the real reason why people enjoy it, is not because of some surface level interest, it’s because it represents a style of filmmaking that sometimes gets lost in a franchise, suspense and awe. It provides us with intelligence from all of it’s characters – we see minority groups and women being represented in a positive light. It’s an amazing achievement.

McClane is beaten up, shot at, wounded (both in the shoulder and his shredded bare feet) but he continuously comes back, a fly in the ointment, a monkey in the wrench, a pain in the ass. He refuses to give up, and he’s hard to kill. But on top of that, this film improves and impresses with every scene, its enlisted several die hards in its own time, proving that it’s a pinnacle in action and crime cinema. It’s my favourite Christmas movie.

I hope you enjoyed this review friends. I’ve about spent my theories on film this year, but fortunately for you, I still have some wisdom and a timely event to share this week. So come back tomorrow and share this article if it meant something to you.

Tim!

I Know What I Know, You Know? (timotheories December 2016)

 

Everybody loves Christmas right? Something something winter wonderland.

Well, all I really know is that it has finally snowed in Edmonton and in a sizeable fashion. AND because I started a new relationship recently with a wonderful lady, literally everything is magic. It’s magic dammit!

So many feels too.

Speaking of feels, I declare it officially appropriate to do your Christmas(y) things now.

emiej

Which means that it’s also important I invest a little of my blog calendar to Christmas related activities and culture, because after all, I’m as white as the damn snow and this is what I know. Rhyme unintended, but conveniently placed for effect. Also, I’d like to give you all fair warning that I will be taking the last week of December off for Christmas and New Years, and to reflect upon the past year, potentially to also come up with some cool ideas for 2017. And maybe watch a metric ton of movies.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – December

Stimulating Sundays – (12/04) Georg Rockall-Schmidt, (12/11) Cross Talk Ep.14, (12/18) Cross Talk Ep. 15
Melodic Mondays – (12/05) The Weeknd, (12/12) The Rolling Stones, (12/19) Michael Buble
Theatrical Tuesdays – (12/06) Hell or High Water, (12/13) Don’t Think Twice, (12/20) Die Hard
Wisdom Wednesdays – (12/07) Jobs, (12/14) Arnold Schwarzenegger, (12/21) Good Will
Timely Thursday – (12/01) timotheories December, (12/08) Megan Warkentin exhibition, (12/15) Singing Christmas Tree, (12/22) Christmas

Can you believe it dear readers, friends, and creative cuties? The year of all killer, no filler is drawing to a close. That means I need to come up with a new theme soon, but for now, let’s look at what’s on the menu for December…

christmas-dinner-table-1442583220gac

There are some great album and film reviews lined up, and a couple of Xmas themed classics for your enjoyment too. Then the wisdom continues as I read a book by Arnold Schwarzenegger for starters, I’ll  continue my series on the OECD index about health and well-being with some thoughts on “jobs”, and then I’ll cap it off with some theories on good will. Our timely entries for the month feature my friend Megan’s graduation exhibition, a couple of Christmas events, and oddly enough, the day in particular.

I already know I’m on the naughty list for not following through with twelve unique interviews each month in 2016, but let’s be honest with ourselves folks, these interview previews have really taken off, eh? And Georg has such a wealth of information that I just HAD to give him two preview clips last month, so now we top off his entry proper with a legit full-length interview.

What about Cross Talk you say? Everyone’s always wondering about Cross Talk. Well Cross Talk isn’t going anywhere, in fact I’m gonna keep adjusting the group rotation and really aim for a weekly rotation into 2017, but for now I’ve got Episode 14 and 15 in the can, heck, we might even see about Episode 16 if I can squeeze it in somewhere… pacing, essentials, and wisdom for sure.

That’s literally all of the theories I have left in 2016, you magical makers. I want you to pat yourselves on the back for making it this far, and really enjoy this month. We’ve got some great stuff lined up, and now is the best time to give the gift of subscribing to the blog, sharing it with friends, leaving some helpful comments, and contacting me to let me know what you love, what you hate, and how you relate.

Spreading the love the only way I know how. With theories.

 

Tim!