Don’t be silly, of course I’ve seen Die Hard (1988) before! I recently picked up a four-disc set of the Die Hard movies for $10 at Target, which means that they merit a rewatching. This was what we called a good Christmas movie in my family. Sure, we watched Rudolph and Frosty and all of that, but when we were in our teens it was Die Hard all the way.
Perhaps this is where my love of ridiculous actions movies comes. There are few action heroes as great as John McClane and few actors who are as good at playing them as Bruce Willis. Here you have a charming, rugged, take-matters-into-his-own-hands, loner cop with his own ideas on how to best handle twelve bad guys shooting up the joint, who happens to look mighty fine in a soiled tank top while bleeding from the soles of his feet. And then you have the equally charming, refined, don’t-take-no-for-an-answer criminal mastermind in Hans Gruber, played, as always, to a fine point by Alan Rickman, whom I love so dearly. You have the douchey businessman led to doom by his own hubris, the stoic business leader who takes one to protect his team, the testosterone-fueled FBI agents who get in on too much of the action, and Reginald VelJohnson as the sidelined cop whose luck and courage turns around just at the right moment. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
It’s been probably 10 years since I’ve seen the Die Hard movies, save for the more recent fourth (I have not seen the fifth), so, truthfully, I was a little afraid that I wouldn’t like them as much as I had in my youth. Happily, my fears were unjustified and I found myself just as enthralled by Bruce’s theatrics and acrobatics as I was in my teens. Even if the hairstyles and clothing don’t hold up, the action itself sure does.