DIE HARD (1998) 

[Get the Poster]

Bruce Willis
Alan Rickman
Bonnie Bedalia
Alexander Gudenov
Reginald VelJohnson
Paul Gleason
De'voreaux White
William Atherton
Hart Bochner

John McTiernan



Time: 132 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Action/Adventure

Won Academy Award nominations for Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Sound, Best Visual Effects and Best Film Editing.

I, like everyone at the time, was wary of going to see an action movie starring Bruce Willis – in fact I still am – since he was most well known for playing a smarmy asshole on the TV show "Moonlighting." He was afterall trading one-liners with Cybill Shepard, which doesn't take much talent to look good. But the trailer sold me, and I knew from the get go that DIE HARD was going to be different. Up to that time, our main "action heroes" were overly-buff and mono-syllabic. They never got hurt, never showed any emotion and just tore across the screen with the largest automatic weapon they could get their hands on. This time it was different. Willis may have been in shape, but I wouldn't call him a gem of the human physical form. He was playing a normal guy, a cop, visiting his estranged wife on Christmas Eve. When all of a sudden, hell breaks loose and he is forced to fight a bunch of terrorists who have taken over his wife's bank to steal millions of dollars worth of bonds.

Hans, played to perfection by Alan Rickman (this role would set the standard for all villians in the '90s), just wants to get the money and leave without any trouble. He is very civilized, but he will do whatever it takes to make this operation succeed. He is accompanied by your standard set of goons, whose mysterious deaths alert Hans to a hurdle he was not expecting. What set this film apart (and keeps it still in a league of its own) is that it all takes place in the office building, making the characters and their personal battle more important than spectacular explosions and over-the-top stunt sequences. Which isn't to say that the film doesn't have those, it just doesn't rely on them to make itself interesting and exciting. You're on the edge of your seat because you want to see how John McClaine will win...and if Hans will get away to see another day (which you secretly hope for).

"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."

It is a battle of wits, because Hans and his gang have all the advantages and John is going it alone with just his handgun to save the day. They both use their heads instead of their bodies to gain the upper hand. Willis is truly vulnerable because he loves his wife and knows that if he pushes the wrong buttons, he will be responsible for her death. He also gets quite battered throughout the course of the film, which rarely happens to our heroes. DIE HARD is a film I watch whenever I get the chance because it is one that always entertains, that actually has fully-fleshed out characters and a stand-off between two adversaries that can't be beat. Even if you don't normally like action movies this is still one to see. You won't be disappointed.

home | reviews | actors | actresses | film heaven | all reviews