Friday, 29 June 2012

Die Hard (1988)



Partly because I'd not seen it in years, and partly because of Bro code #84: "A Bro shall stop whatever he's doing and watch Die Hard if it's on TV. Corollary – Also the Shawshank Redemption, Top Gun, first half of Full Metal Jacket"; I watched Die Hard on E4 the other night. I'm sure everyone is familiar with Bruce Willis as the unstoppable John McClane, and a typically evil and sneering performance from the wonderful Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, but it's worth mentioning anyway because they are both great. I generally feel that Bruce Willis is better in films where he isn't the main character (Twelve Monkeys, Pulp Fiction or Sin City) because his other films often end up being "Bruce Willis" films and he bores me; but Die Hard was before he became typecast as an action hero and so his performance is still fresh. Alan Rickman is as brilliant as ever, possibly the highlight being the look on his face as he falls to his death!

The support cast are fairly incidental: a lot of 80s metal band members as the henchmen (Karl in particular looks just like Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden) as well as cult stuntman Al Leong; and some of the usual police suspects for 80s action films, Robert Davi & Paul Gleason. Reginald VelJohnson is possibly the only other semi-principle character as Sergeant Powell, a fairly clichéd character, but fun none-the-less. He gets a nice moment at the end when he shoots Karl; again cheesy moment with cheesy music, but I did like the way that the camera focus shifted along the barrel of the gun to Powell's face.

John McTiernan proves that the quality of action in Predator was no fluke by creating another film with some excellent bone-crunching and foot-bleeding thrills. Sure, there are some silly moments and I found myself shouting at the TV, but they're all forgiveable for a less-than-serious action flick. A strong candidate for many people's favourite Christmas movie, Die Hard combines top-notch action, a solid simple story, and career defining performances from Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. What's not to like? Yippee-ki-yay, mother-funster!