Some may wonder why a straight-up action movie is being reviewed here at Geek Speak. Well, I say to you skeptics a) this movie has quite the amusing stereotypical evil hacker/geek in Theo, b) said evil geek works for none other than Snape himself, Alan Rickman, in one of his original iconic bad-guy roles, c) this movie was blatantly referenced in favorite geek-friendly shows as far ranging as Buffy, Chuck, and The Simpsons, and finally d) it’s Die Hard with John “Yippee-Ki-Yay” McClane! I don’t need to explain myself further to you people!
Besides, you know you love it. And this is our Christmas gift to you.
So… Die Hard. Did you know it was based on a book? I actually didn’t, but it is! Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, and this was originally meant to be a sequel to a movie starring Frank Sinatra (how odd would that have been?!). See? Not only do we entertain you here at Geek Speak Magazine, but educate you as well! High quality edu-tainment right here!
The plot, for those of you who haven’t seen it, or haven’t seen it in years, or just like your reviews to be complete and/or overly verbose, focuses on NYPD cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) out in LA to visit his estranged wife and kids for Christmas, stopping at her holiday party at a mostly-finished new high-rise. Terrorist thieves (thieving terrorists?), led by Hans Gruber (Rickman), take over the building in quite the scheme to steal $600 million dollars. McClane therefore does his lone-wolf, superman, 80’s action hero solo thing to take on the terrorists and rescue his wife and other hostages. Helping him on the outside, to an extent, is LAPD cop Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson).
This is, perhaps, the epitome of 80’s action movies. How many movies that came after were described as “Die Hard on a ….” (Die Hard on a bus, on a plane, on a ship, in space, etc…)? And the best part, it is totally deserving of it. The action is fantastic, the acting is nothing to sneeze at — Willis is great and believable in the role, and Rickman is his normal evil self — even the writing works, as it is not full of cheese and cliché. This is a well put together action movie.
And it is a Christmas movie! It features giant teddy bear presents, Christmas music such as Run DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis” (as well as various sleigh-bells ringing during a variety of scenes), and such great Christmas-related action-movie quotations such as “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho!” You can’t go wrong!
Of course, the movie isn’t perfect. There are some obvious issues with effects as the movie supposedly takes place at floors thirty and up in the high rise but in scenes connecting the action in the building and on the ground, it isn’t 30+ floors between them. And some of the characters are more annoying than anything else, particularly Ellis, the international negotiator for the corporation, and Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (which, admittedly, is a great movie character name and title combination).
But really, in the end, it’s a great Christmas action movie. It holds up after nearly 30 years (except for the depressing moment of seeing how gas prices were only at $0.75/gallon… those were the days), and is worth watching and re-watching. Die Hard is iconic for a reason.
Action, Thriller, Christmas | R | 131 minutes
Based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
Written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza | Directed by John McTiernan
Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson