Die Hard: Movie Review

By Sarah Meklir

Managing Editor

Image Source: Cinema Blend

Regardless of your stance in the debate over Die Hard’s place among holiday classics like It’s a Wonderful Life, Love Actually, and Home Alone, it is widely agreed that Die Hard is one of the strongest action movies of all time. 

Including such classic lines as, “yippee ki-yay mother******,” and, “if you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem,” the 1988 hit is widely referenced in pop culture. Somehow, the other notable lines are even less suitable for print, but don’t let that sway you. Use your own judgement when it comes to showing this to the whole family. With intense action and fight scenes, as well as fairly prolific cursing (accompanied by an R rating), you may want to let the little kids sit this one out. 

The movie centers around John McClane (played by Bruce Willis), an officer with the NYPD, who travels to visit his wife (from whom he is currently separated) and his two children in LA for Christmas. In attempting to surprise his wife at an office Christmas party, a group of multinational criminals holds the entire building hostage while trying to steal upwards of $600 million.

John McClane avoids capture, but as the night goes on, he realizes he is the only one who can rescue the hostages. Barefoot and with nothing but the shirt on his back, McClane goes up against 13 armed men, including the notorious German radical, Hans Gruber (skillfully portrayed by Alan Rickman).

Die Hard contains everything an action movie should: thrilling stunts, suspense, classic one-liners, romance, and so much more. It was directed by John McTiernan (Predator, The Hunt for Red October) and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. This screenplay was the first ever produced by writer Jeb Stuart, who went on to contribute to The Fugitive and Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

The main characters are masterfully constructed and depicted by some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Alan Rickman’s performance as a cold and calculating criminal mastermind chills the audience, while remaining light enough to establish some banter with John McClane (Willis). Die Hard was Bruce Willis’ breakout action role, and it grossed roughly $140 million at the box office. With four sequels, the original movie must have been pretty good. 

In regards to the holiday movie debate, co-writer Steven E. de Souza tweeted (@StevenEdeSouza) his support for Die Hard’s inclusion into that category, in addition to frequently re-tweeting content claiming Die Hard is a Christmas movie. The film features multiple Christmas songs on its soundtrack, including “Christmas in Hollis” by RUN DMC, “Winter Wonderland,” and “Let it Snow.”

As for this reporter’s personal opinion, if a film wraps up with a heartfelt holiday song playing and a slow zoom-out on the romantic leads, it’s a holiday film! In addition, it follows the standard arc of any solid Christmas movie: (main character) from the big city travels to another town to reconnect with (love interest), encountering obstacles along the way, but ultimately saving the day (and Christmas!). 
Die Hard is available for purchase on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Vudu. It is available with a subscription to HBO Max or Hulu Premium.

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