Die Hard Movie Review


By Evan McDonald

Die Hard” is a perfectly crafted action movie that allows for just enough Christmas spirit that it can be perceived as one of the best Christmas movies of all time. Directed by John McTiernan, “Die Hard” kicked off the start of the action hero era just like “Iron Man” started the era of superhero movies. Bruce Willis plays the lead in this film and excels in his role as a New York cop placed in a vastly different location than what he is used to, Christmas in Los Angeles. Visiting his wife and two kids on Holiday, he attends his wife’s company Christmas party. While there, the party is sieged by a group of German terrorists who were recently excommunicated from an organization known as the Volksfrei movement. Led by Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman, Bruce Willis’ character John McClane must fight for life and limb to escape the impossible odds that he is faced with.

Die Hard” at a glance should not really be classified as a Christmas movie, but it follows all the same tropes and ideas that are regularly connected with the proclaimed happiest time of year. “Die Hard” is about family and coming together at the worst of times to celebrate. John McClane travels all the way from New York City to visit his family and see his wife for Christmas. John, while visiting, begins to rekindle his romance and fix his failing marriage. At the center of his character, past all the bravado and everything that he does throughout the film, his main goal is seeing his family again. The other Christmas tropes that are in the movie are references to Santa Clause, throwing presents down chimneys (in this case, c4 down an elevator shaft), and the occasional music/carols.

Alan Rickman is by far the star of the show and kicks off the recurring trope that takes place in many action movies that preceded to follow the success of “Die Hard.” If a movie is lacking an interesting and compelling villain, it will fail to have the same success. An example of this can be found in Dwayne Johnson’s 2018 film “Skyscraper,” which followed the same format and mostly the same story as “Die Hard” but still failed. “Die Hard,” unlike other movies that followed afterward. was a brand-new idea with excellent storytelling and acting. Because of his excellent performance as the leader of the German nationalists, Alan Rickman provides an intelligent, cunning, and ruthless take on his character. The viewer of the film is constantly aware of the evil and the length that Gruber is willing to go to accomplish his mission. Nothing seems too far out of reach for his character, and by publicly killing someone at the start of the movie for not giving him what he wants, the viewer instantly begins to fear for the precarious situation that John is put into. Every detail of the heist is thought out, with back up plans for his back up plans. The only thing that Grueber was not fully prepared for was the retaliation and the inclusion of John McClane to foil his plot.

Die Hard” was successful due to Rickman’s performance but also because of how revolutionary it was at the time. There were movies like “Rocky 4” and the “Rambo trilogy” that were big-budget action films that took a character that was somewhat grounded and threw him into the extraordinary, making him do superhuman things that would kill the average man. Bruce Willis as John McClane played an ordinary everyday man. He was no superhuman – just a man, made of flesh and bones. During the course of the movie, he doesn’t fight the terrorists, guns blazing all at once as Rambo would do, nor does he take severe punishment to his body with the hope of outlasting a tank like Rocky would do. He fights them off one by one knowing that he is outmatched and will die if he does not fight them perfectly. By the end of the film and with the handicap of having no shoes on, his body begins to deteriorate after his long and brutal fight.


Die Hard” is a 9.4/10