Monday, July 26, 2010

#34 - Die Hard - 1988

Die Hard was my 6th movie I chose to watch this week and it is a big time personal favorite of mine. Listed a couple of years ago as the #1 Action Movie ever made by Entertainment Weekly magazine this is easily the staple movie for this week's category. Below is my detailed description.

I think everybody and their grandma knows Die Hard and knows that Bruce Willis played the part of John McClane. He basically carried this film but Alan Rickman's role of Hans Gruber made for a great good vs evil battle between NY Cop and International Terrorist. Although there are plenty of other movies out there with more action sequences throughout this film is like a staple for the action film genre. Its amazing to me that this film is 22 years old and its 25 year anniversary is coming up in 3 short years.

Now Ill get into the action sequences and plot of this film in a second but let me just start with a couple of things that always make me laugh and cringe when watching this film. First off in my mind easily the biggest film flub in this movie is when Hans Gruber goes to move one of his henchmen you could say while he was in the elevator after being killed by McClane. He moved his head to the side and the terrorist accidentally closes his eyes when his head was about to be moved. How this flub got past final editing Ill have no idea but its always funny to me when I see it. What makes me cringe is the gas station sign of $0.74 and $0.77 cents for gasoline. Man oh man, what good ol days that was huh? Granted I was driving until 92 but still, can you imagine that price?? WOW!

The setting for this film was real simple. It was a large tall office building in Los Angeles called the Nakatomi Plaza building and it is where McClane's wife, Holly, worked under Mr. Nakatomi himself. The sets of the interior of the building which is where 90% of the films action takes place were pretty cool looking and very authentic. I say authentic because some of the upper floors of this building were to be under construction and some of the action sequences and battles took place on these floors and they way they looked gave a real good representation of how it would really look for office buildings with floors still under construction.

I loved the main floor where the hostages were being held and where originally the Christmas Party was taken place. The waterfall backgrounds were my favorite and on the special features of this film you can see how they created the set and a whole bunch of other stuff as well, it was pretty cool. There were also some cool looking small miniature models on another floor where Hans and his gang took Mr. Nakatomi before they executed him. This floor would become a main focal point for an action scene with McClane and some of the bad guys later on in the film.

All the actors in this film were pretty good with the exception of a couple of Gruber's gang. Some of them with their broken English and attempt to be a hardcore terrorist was not as believable as you may seem but Gruber's calm, almost friendly looking demeanor made him an especially eerie type of terrorist. He never seemed to get spooked throughout the film and Rickman's wonderful portrayal of an office co-worker when McClane found him on an upper floor was great. Ill never forget that moment when McClane handed him a gun and then you hear Hans speak in his original language over the radio. Very cool.

McClane though was the star of this film and it was quite evident as to why. He was easily the best performer in every scene he was in and his sarcastic and sometimes very dry short responses to questions would make him all that more intriguing. Now we all know this film is heavy on classic film quotes but do we really need to mention any of them besides the "YipppiKiyyyyya Motherfucker" one? I mean that one is classic among classic! Willis gives a wonderful performance of a determined cop who wont let up until he kills all the terrorists and saves the day. His character would easily be one of the most popular and favorite action hero's of all time without a doubt. Its no wonder why they made three additional Die Hard films all of which he was excellent in as well.

I bought this film on bluray because it is easily one of my top 10 favorite films of All Time and that's saying a lot considering all the movies I have seen. There is just something about Bruce Willis in this movie with that performance and the creation of John McClane. He is like a cult classic and when you add the terrorist takeover of a large building in Los Angeles as your setting and a very sly Hans Gruber played by a great actor like Rickman you have the makings of a wonderful film. There were obviously other elements that went into this film that made it so good, one of which had to be the reality of how this could really take place. It was not so far fetched that it was unbelievable and that helped create a film that in my mind at least seemed as though it could really happen. Were some of the action scenes hard to believe, sure, but what action film doesn't have a few of those in there. Overall I would easily give this film an A+!

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