John McTiernan’s work within the action genre cannot be understated. This man genuinely revolutionized what we know now as the modern Hollywood action blockbuster film. Films such as Die Hard didn’t exist back in the 80s, this was the film that brought a whole new level of nuance, excitement and action set pieces to the forefront. Simply put, there hadn’t been anything like this before, and Die Hard is a pioneer of modern action films within Hollywood. Why is it considered this way though, is there a reason for Die Hard’s never-ending success? Well, yes, the film is absolutely Immaculate even though it does have a few issues.
How to Stream or Download Die Hard
You can stream it or you can download the film from a number of digital stores. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like action movies set inside huge buildings, check out also our review of Skyscraper (2018). Fans of Bruce Willis should also see Pulp Fiction and The Sixth Sense.
The Movie Review
If you have been living under a rock for the past 35 years and don’t know what Die Hard is, this is a hardcore, action thriller about an NYPD Detective named John McClane and a messy situation that he gets himself in when he arrives in Los Angeles. You see, John is hoping to reconcile with his estranged wife Holly, the only way to do that is by going to her and hoping for the best. He shows up at Nakatomi Plaza, at a party held by Holly’s employer.
However, things take a turn for some extremely malicious intent when a terror attack on Nakatomi Plaza renders him caught between a terror attack and reconciling with his wife. Well, we know one thing for sure, John McClane is a man who doesn’t run away from a fight.
This is a film that is mainly situated inside one building and it focuses on one specific event which is the terror attack on Nakatomi Plaza. Even so, there is no limit to how far this film can go when it comes to quality of action. Die Hard is basically the definition of an actual, classic action film that stands up even now as one of the greatest action flicks ever made.
This is a true-born American film too, with a character as cool as John McClane and a villain as fantastically created as Hans Gruber. I love the way this film shows a parallel between the protagonist and the antagonist, both are ruthless people but one is just motivated by the love he feels for his loved ones, while the other is motivated by an agenda that he believes in.
John McClane is probably one of the most important and influential protagonists in the history of action films in America. There is no denying this fact, because of how important is this character has become to modern heroes all over the industry. There are so many police officers in films now, and most of them are inspired by McClane in one way or another. They always have this classic savvy demeanor, and an attitude to match it.
The one thing that I appreciate with Die Hard is that it separates itself from its copycats by basically inventing tropes that are prevalent even today. The action in this film is so good, from the gunfights to the martial arts combat sequences, everything fits together perfectly. The practical effects are also there to make it seem even cooler and just otherworldly.
Nakatomi Plaza is an actual character in this film, it’s not just another location that the film is shot in, but an entity of its own basically. John goes through several different floors of this building, and this mega building is just seemingly never-ending. It’s essentially like a maze, but within each maze, there is a level of different enemies that he has to get through in order to get back his wife. This mazelike structure of the Nakatomi Plaza is made even more confusing due to the variety of characters in this film.
I absolutely adore the characters here, each one of them is fantastically written and even better portrayed.
Bruce Willis as the legendary NYPD detective John McClane is still one of the best portrayals of a ride or die guy in cinema. Though, it is Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Hans Gruber which truly stands out to me personally. He brings such a chaotic ruthlessness to this character and makes you feel threatened by his presence on screen. Rickman really overshadows Willis in this film, even though Willis has some of the coolest lines ever said in an action film.
The Bottom Line
Die Hard might not be the most emotionally resonant, or artistically intellectual film to ever release. But it is forever going to be known as that one action movie that really brought the genre to a new level. Sure, there were other action films that did a much better job of it overall, such as Mad Max or The Terminator.
However, Die Hard was the very first film to bring this purely American action experience to the global audience in a way that is connected to them. It showcased how cool action heroes can truly be and brought forward a real-world story that can actually happen, without stripping off any of the fun and filmy parts that made it so fun to watch.
- Incredibly fun viewing experience.
- Snappy dialogue, and vibrant characters.
- Story-driven action sequences add to the narrative.
- Some of the most iconic shots in cinema history.
- Doesn’t make you feel connected with the characters emotionally.