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Die Hard (1988)

by The Movie Diorama

Die Hard explodes its way in becoming the pinnacle of action films. It isn’t Christmas if you don’t watch Die Hard. Yippee-ki-yay motherfu…well, you know the rest. John McClane. Nakatomi Plaza. Hans Gruber. Twinkies. “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snoooow”. McTiernan’s near-masterpiece is the epitome of 80s action and truly sets the bar high for future action films. It evolves the genre to new levels by balancing drama and character development with memorable explosions and a slew of gunfire.

McClane visits his wife on her Christmas work party, when a group of terrorists holds them hostage for a large sum of money. But McClane doesn’t sit down and rollover. Oh no, in typical cowboy fashion he targets the enemy. Luring them to their demise. Bang. You just got “McClaned”. “Thanks for the advice”. This isn’t just an action film, don’t be fooled by its overwhelming praise. Although justified, this is also actually a well-balanced crime thriller.

Gripping dialogue between McClane and Gruber allows both characters to have infectious personalities. The former being this New York loudmouth with a ludicrous amount of quippy lines and the latter being the commanding antagonist that withholds a sense of compromise. Their interactions, or lack of, was tangible. Then the police department and FBI get involved, but the development doesn’t stop there. In fact, it just ramps up with the action. Aside from Argyle, who is just an obvious plot convenience, all the characters have natural inclusion in the story. The action was explosive and surprisingly bloody, particularly the rooftop C4 explosion. McTiernan’s direction was perfect, crafting a perfectly paced narrative.

Packed to the brim with memorability, from its antagonist and his slow-motion demise (Rickman was an absolute legend) to the various quotable lines of dialogue. This is a near-perfect film, and one that deserves the acclaim it has garnered. With excellent performances to boot from Willis and Rickman, there really are a limited amount of flaws (in fact hardly any). Merry Christmas McClane, merry frickin’ Christmas!