So once again we have survived.

Die Hard

tn_diehardBI don’t like to say I have a favorite movie. There are too many great ones that I love for too many equally meaningful-to-me reasons. But if I had to choose one, like if you had to register your favorite movie with the government or something, maybe it would be DIE HARD. I wrote a piece about it before, but that was 16 years ago, I was a different person then, and it’s embarrassing to me. So let me try again.

Many of the reasons I love DIE HARD are self evident. By now most people have caught on to the fact that it’s an extremely well made, ridiculously entertaining popcorn masterwork. The story is so perfect and elemental that it became a template, a name for a reliably entertaining subgenre of action movies. This is a testament to the genius of the setup by Roderick Thorp in his novel Nothing Lasts Forever, its remolding by screenwriters Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza, and its precise cinematic execution by director John McTiernan, cinematographer Jan de Bont, editors John F. Link and Frank J. Urioste, composer Michael Kamen, etc. They crafted a pitch perfect introduction of this character (based around the charm and humor of Bruce Willis) and unrolling of the sinister plot he’s about to crash head first into. And then it escalates into spectacular crescendos – the explosion in the elevator shaft, the desperate leap from the roof and bare-foot-kicking-through of the window – that, in their somewhat grounded context, continue to feel enormous even after movies (including its four sequels) have gotten bigger and bigger for nearly three decades. In retrospect it wasn’t the amount of C-4 but the placement of it that caused the ads to vow it “WILL BLOW YOU THROUGH THE BACK WALL OF THE THEATRE.”

Unlike some of my other favorite movies, DIE HARD does not have a clear underlying message that speaks to me. I don’t consider it a political movie at all. Maybe that’s good, because it’s a unifying movie, easy for people of all stripes to get behind and enjoy together. But there’s definitely a bit of good natured class subtext here in the midst of its New York over L.A. favoritism. John McClane represents a no nonsense, hard-working man. From what we know he’s a good cop, putting himself on the line to make the world better, but at the expense of his most important relationships. He chose chasing his “six month backlog of New York scumbags” over being with his wife and kids as they build a new life on the west coast. And as punishment Holly changes back to her maiden name Gennaro, a severing of the patriarchal tradition of surnames.

mp_diehardWhen he comes to L.A. McClane walks around with a look of “can you believe this shit?” bemusement. He looks suspiciously at a girl in tight pants giving her boyfriend a four-limbed hug. He seems embarrassed to be picked up by a limo, and doesn’t even know how it works. “Okay Argyle, whadda we do now?” He ends up sitting shotgun, refusing to play along with the traditional Driving Miss Daisy power dynamics of driver and passenger. (Admittedly the McClane family has a maid who seems to be familiar with John, so he’s not pure in his status as the Common Man.)

At the Nakatomi Corporation Christmas party he sees various office sex and drugs going on, and he meets douchey Harry Ellis, the guy in charge of international development who’s clearly snorting coke and sniffing around married Holly Gennaro. He makes a lame attempt to seduce Holly by talking about wine and brie, and makes way too big of a deal about the Rolex that the company bought her. She shuts the topic down because she knows John won’t be impressed by it. Good for him.

I think these people and this world set off McClane’s alarms not because he’s a prude but because he senses the general unfairness here, that he works way harder at a much more dangerous job and he suffers for it, losing his wife and kids. Meanwhile these people just make money for some international conglomerate and they get to fuck around and party, wear shiny watches, ride in limos.

Grueber and his gang might as well be an international conglomerate themselves. Their work ethic seems stronger than Ellis’s – they’re presented as very professional, storming from a truck to the building like elite space marines marching through an airlock – but Grueber is a parallel to Nakatomi CEO Joe Takagi, pointing out that he owns two of the same expensive suits. Though Grueber and his team act like some kind of anti-capitalist guerrillas, that turns out to be a cover. They’re thieves. They want all the money in the safe, that’s all. This is just an extra-hostile takeover.

It’s kind of funny that DIE HARD is the gold standard for ’80s action movies but also has kind of a meta theme saying that its “real world” is not like the mythology of the movies. References are made to Rambo and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and McClane not being them. He also likes to sarcastically compare himself to the heroes of old westerns, and nicknames himself after the singing cowboy Roy Rogers. When Grueber misnames the stars of HIGH NOON it reveals him as out-of-touch with America.

But there’s another kind of fantasy going on. When FBI agents Johnson and Johnson are choppering in, “Big Johnson” yells “Just like fuckin’ Saigon, eh slick?”

“I was in junior high, dickhead,” says Little Johnson, not interested in that fantasy.

The opulent Nakatomi office includes an indoor waterfall and artificial plantlife, a sign of the decadence of the Los Angeles/Nakatomi lifestyle. Who needs to go out in nature when you can manufacture a chunk of it inside your 40 story skyscraper? Later, when the top of the building has exploded, a dirty, wounded McClane stumbles through the fake plants and we see them in a different light. The fancy office decorations have become a simulacrum of the jungle war zone that Agent Johnson pines for.

One of the key relationships in the movie is between McClane and Sergeant Al Powell, the patrolman he flags down using a dead body and talks to over the radio. Powell may have one day been on a track to be a supercop like McClane, but he took himself off the streets after accidentally shooting a kid who he saw with a toy gun. Remember, back then it was real different, it was considered a huge error for a cop to accidentally shoot an unarmed person. It was considered something to be ashamed of and try to prevent, rather than the thing they have now where 100% of all police shootings are for sure justified and rallied behind by all police officers and conservatives no matter what and how dare you not honor Al Powell’s brave sacrifice the kid was lurching at him he was just doing his job where were the parents, etc.

Since then Powell has lapsed, perhaps grown a great love for Twinkies, would not look good in McClane’s tank top. McClane does a bit of desk-shaming, implying that real cops shouldn’t be pushing pencils or whatever, and at the end we’re definitely supposed to take macho pride in Powell getting the confidence to shoot somebody again (this time an armed adult trying to kill somebody… phew). But here’s something to take note of: right after Powell shoots Karl, Argyle crashes his limo out of the garage and is driving toward them, and everyone reacts like it’s a new threat. McClane has to tell Powell that Argyle is with him, averting the potential of another innocent young black man killed by mistake. But when the car is driving at him, Powell holds his gun up. He’s ready, but he doesn’t shoot, he doesn’t even aim, he takes a moment to assess the situation. Good job, Sergeant.

I think McClane and Powell get along because they quickly sense a lack of bullshit in each other. They’re the only two guys in on this whole mess who have their heads on their shoulders. Powell only knows McClane over the radio, but vouches for his character, to no avail. At the end, when they meet face to face for the first time, they immediately recognize each other, smile and hug. It’s funny, this is kind of a thing we have more in the modern world, people who sort of get to know each other without occupying the same physical space. McClane is an analog man in a digital world, but he predicted online relationships.

backwallI wasn’t gonna say anything, but I’ll say it. My dad died earlier this month. A couple days later I decided to watch DIE HARD in his honor. We used to love watching Moonlighting, and Bruce’s persona was the kind of guy you wished you could be back then: a cocky smartass nobody could keep up with, like Bugs Bunny, who was also liable to bust out into some tunes at any moment, like a Blues Brother. Obviously John McClane sent that appeal into overdrive. But DIE HARD makes me think of my dad and me not just because it’s a movie we enjoyed together long ago but because, I now realize, it’s about a certain type of masculine stubbornness that he had and I have, for good and bad. My dad spent his life doing things out of a sense of duty to his family and the things he felt a man was supposed to do, going way out of his way to provide and rarely if ever complaining about the toll it took on him. For him it meant getting up at the crack of dawn to drive into the city and then take a long ferry ride to the shipyard where he worked every day, then coming home and then often running out to do things for my mom. He was notorious for driving to multiple stores in a single-minded pursuit of every last thing on a shopping list.

That’s not the same thing as saving a bunch of hostages from gunmen, but it comes from a similar instinct. McClane doesn’t really want to deal with this shit, but this shit is happening, so he has to do it. He knows what he has to do and he does it and when it gets hard he doesn’t give up.

If my dad was working on something around the house he would not stop until he was done, even if he didn’t know what he was doing. If you asked him to help fix something and he tried to do it but was having trouble, and you eventually told him to forget about it so you could try to figure it out yourself, too bad. He was in for the long haul. This is also John McClane. The police want him to step aside, the FBI want him to step aside, but he knows he’s the only one that can get it done, and he’s not gonna stop.

Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson, douchebag negotiator-with-terrorists Harry Ellis and FBI agents Johnson and Johnson are all dealing with their own stubbornness. They think it has to be done their way and hate McClane for doing it his way. Even after McClane has succeeded, Robinson runs up to lecture him about it. The difference is that these other guys are just stroking their egos, assuming they know everything. McClane is in the middle of it and knows what he’s talking about. He’s using his expertise correctly. He is in the right and he will not die easy and there’s something primally manly about that, I think it appeals to our instincts. Many women deeply love DIE HARD too, of course, but I think what I’ve described here is part of the reason why John McClane speaks to some men, myself included, as some sort of model of masculinity.

But the mistake some people make is to get too nostalgic, too stuck in their ways, to say this is how it was in the old days or this is how I was raised, so this is how I am. This is how men behaved in my house and in my movies, so that’s that. Well, that’s not what McClane does. He’s a representation of The Old Days and people think of him as being stuck in his ways, but in fact he grows. After the powerful scene where he tells Powell over the radio to apologize to Holly for him if he doesn’t make it – sort of the DIE HARD version of Rambo’s emotional breakdown at the end of FIRST BLOOD – McClane has a different attitude toward their relationship. It’s a big moment when Holly is meeting Powell at the end and calls herself Holly McClane again. But it’s arguably more significant that John introduces her as Holly Gennaro. He’s not gonna keep having this argument, even in his great moment of triumph when he could probly get away with it. Instead he tries to respect her wishes. Even John McClane can compromise what he wants to be nice to someone else.

My dad wasn’t against changing. My mom never let him forget that he voted for Reagan, but he became a Democrat, and hated Bush with a fire even deeper than my own. We would sit around and rant to each other for hours. He grew up in a cabin with an outhouse, and a hole that he’d punched in one of the walls when his parents were fighting. As an adult it bothered him that so many poor people voted for the party that openly worked against them.

When I was growing up it was common to use homophobic slurs, but I remember when I had a realization that it was wrong and I called him on some joke he made, and it actually got through to him and he stopped doing it. I think it’s important to remember the old ways, but you have to question them too. Sometimes they’re holding us back. I bring this up because I’ve seen people into the same so-called “manly movies” as me who use them as a crutch and an excuse to be assholes, to define masculinity only by its worst traits, and then hold that up as an ideal. No. Fuck you. That is an incorrect reading of the text.

For today DIE HARD is my favorite movie, and let the record show that this is not that thing where I’m just nostalgic for the feeling it gave me when I first saw it. No, the nostalgia is more like pride that I got it so right back then. I imagine as I get older it will continue to speak to me in new and growing ways. One of those ways, now, is to help me remember my dad, recognize how I’m like him, how I should be less like him, how I should be more like him. That’s what you do. You acknowledge your weaknesses, emulate what’s great and try to keep improving. Thank you, dad. For DIE HARD, and for everything else.

* * *

And Merry Christmas everyone. Sorry if I made you cry. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. You’ve all been an important part of my life for a good decade and a half now. I know that’s no small shakes and I am truly grateful. And so, as Tiny Tim said, “A Merry Christmas to us all; God bless us, everyone; yippee ki yay motherfucker! Part 2 is also quite good.”

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015 at 1:44 pm and is filed under Action, Bruce, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

123 Responses to “Die Hard”

  1. Wow. I’ve always been a fan and, obviously, I love to read you when you review action movies, but this got REAL.

    Sorry about your loss.

  2. Sorry for your loss, Vern. And Merry Christmas.

  3. Great stuff. The Die Hards are that rare breed of movie franchise that goes in order of quality (from best to worst). Also, Don’t be Ellis everyone – and have a merry Christmas!

  4. That was beautiful, Vern. Thank you.

  5. Every one of your reviews is a treat, but this is the one I didn’t know I needed right now. The last part hit me like a ton of bricks, as I imagine it will most people who read it.

    Similar trigger warning. Die Hard also has a deep personal significance for me. No lie, I proposed to by wife while this movie was on. It was a lazy Saturday during the winter season, it was on TV and when that’s the case you know how it is, you just have to watch it. We watched the movie and loved it as much as we usually did. We paused the broadcast so I could go get something in the kitchen. I came back to the living room and saw her smiling at me. I was going to propose to her several days after when we went on an excursion to see the Northern Lights, but that moment felt as perfect as any.

    That was then. Last month, we decided to get a divorce and now our priority is to raise our young son to the best of our abilities despite our differences and how we may now feel about each other. I hope that one day my son will admire me as a father a fraction of what you described in this review. I wonder at what age I can show him Die Hard.

    And we didn’t see shit during the Northern Lights excursion and were miserable and cold. Proposing during Die Hard was totally the right move.

    A happy holiday season to you, Vern, and keep doing what you’re doing.

  6. From a pseudo-Republican to a Democrat, I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad this past year as well so your remembrances and nostalgia are familiar.

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Vern,

    I am sorry for your loss. Thank you for the great review and for all your great writing, for which all of us here are grateful.

  8. Merry Christmas, Vern, and my deepest condolences for your loss.

    I look forward to more of your great writing in 2016.

    Peace, brother

  9. First off, my condolences Vern. Politically speaking, it seems that your dad took the exact opposite trajectory mine did, but I still love him. He knows it, just as I’m sure yours did from reading this.

    The bond you and him had over the love of that persona, as exemplified by this movie, is something I sort of can relate to. I didn’t have the sort of connection with my dad over it (or DIE HARD for that matter, I found it on my own as a kid), but looking back I had similar feelings about Max Fischer in RUSHMORE. He was everything I wasn’t but maybe in high school, ambitious and intelligent with a great sense for the theatrical. None of it really made him super popular (especially when he’s banished from Rushmore academy to a more normal HS situation), but at least known for doing something than being, well, a fly on the wall.

    This review manages to touch on things in a movie I’ve seen dozen of times, especially that bit about Holly at the end. Those little nuances are what make it a classic film, but I’m sure lots of fans (and critics) of the movie didn’t consider it much in the 27 years it’s been in the public consciousness. I’ll try and not talk about the sequels much, but they’re far and fewer between in the next two films, and I am guessing non-existent with regards to the two following them. It’s the same with LETHAL WEAPON, which chucked the more tragic aspects depicted in the first film in favor of laughs and an ever-growing cast of characters.

  10. Bless you and your father, Vern, you’re both obviously good people.

  11. My condolences as well. This is an amazing and timely review and we thank you for providing it to us. It seems like it was a long time coming and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve actually been watching my favorite Christmas movies during this holiday break and of course this being number one I won’t be seeing it again till Friday. But I will keep a lot of this review in mind while watching it next time in the spirit of Christmas and all that entails. By the way happy Festivus everybody.

  12. Vern, deepest sympathies for you, bud. Movies unite us and make that bond between family that much stronger. I’m sure every time you watch Die Hard, your dad will be with you in spirit.

  13. Merry Christnas assholes!

  14. Even though I comment only sporadically, I’ve been reading your reviews for years now. While it frequently happens that I don’t agree with you (not in the case of “Die Hard”, though, obviously), I always find your reviews entertaining, and sometimes enlightening. This, however, catched me totally unaware, since it’s so raw and personal and hard-hitting. I’m truly, deeply sorry for your loss, and hope that you’ll be able to find a little consolation knowing that there are people out there (like me) that really love and enjoy your work. So, thank you for your hard work during this past years, and for this review in particular.

  15. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  16. Sorry about your loss, Vern. Wish you a Merry Christmas and a Great 2016 ahead.

  17. Merry Christmas Vern, very sorry for your loss.

    I’m not sure if anyone has noticed, but Die Hard 2 has the best throwaway Steve DeSouza line ever when a news guy challenges Dick Thornburg over the phone: “Dick, this is nuts!”

  18. I’m sorry about your dad, Vern. You’ve reminded me to give mine a call, as I’m a long way from home. Merry Christmas, and thank you for your sight.

  19. Brilliant, Vern. I too find new things to love about Die Hard every year when I watch it, even if it’s just something little like noticing snippets of Ode to Joy in the score. I too have many favorites for many reasons but I don’t think any other film has an annual place on my roster.

    Also sorry for your loss and bravo for still delivering top shelf analyses for the past month during your grief. Oddly enough I always saw Bruce as a kind of father figure too. Maybe the kind of badass hero I’d wish my father to be in an extreme fantasy, which is odd since parenthood/family is the area where McClane is most lacking. That said I also associate Ted Danson with my father because he’s tall and thin, with goofy humor and we’d always watch Cheers together.

    I will be at the New Bev showing tomorrow night. If any of you are in the LA area please say hi.

  20. I’m sorry to hear about your dad, Vern. Thank you for sharing these stories about him. I know it must be hard to put that stuff out there like that.

    On a lighter note, have a merry Christmas and happy New Year.

  21. John McClane is the perfect 80s action movie beast. Equal parts Dirty Harry and Peter Venkman.

  22. Tiny Tim is one of the wisest literary figures, obviously. And goddamn, A Christmas Carol is a classic. Unlike what DIE HARD did for Nothing Lasts Forever, retroactively exalting that novel into immortal greatness by way of the film’s immortal greatness, the many filmic iterations of Scrooge’s spooky night have all been terrible disservices to the far superior source material.

    Thanks Vern and everybody for sharing your uncomfortable stories of when life sucks and when death sucks even worse. {HansGruberVoice}Now I have an emotion, ho-ho-ho.{/HansGruberVoice}

    I’ve long considered DIE HARD either my #1 favorite movie or at least my #1 favorite non-musical movie. It’s almost inexplicable the rapturous feelings I’ve experienced since my youth adolesced into adolescence which then matured into maturity (circa the time of Vern’s original ‘review’ post) and I realized, from reading an absurd amount of film criticism & cinemacademic publications the last couple decades, that DIE HARD is also an impeccable piece of art, not just a prime piece of Badass Cinema. It can be a “best” movie as well as a mere “favorite.” There’s a lot of elite movie experts out there who refrain from the temptation to be Ellis toward DIE HARD, so it has a good reputation as a genre classic and as a classic classic. For me this realization has been like I was a child discovering at a certain age that a delicious chocolate milkshake is also somehow the healthiest thing you can drink.

    Twinkies are gross, though. I don’t care how pregnant you or your wife is. C’mon, Al.

    We should mention that the DIE HARD legacy transcends catchphrases and action cinema copycatism. Several Sundays a year now there’s a high quality tv show on Fox that often alludes lovingly to DIE HARD, for example the entire most recent episode. Normally a thing would grow tiresome after multiple knockoffs & sequels and endless pervasions into our culture, but that’s the miracle of DIE HARD — somehow the original thing doesn’t suffer, doesn’t diminish in its greatness, doesn’t fade with the fads or the faddishness of emulating/homaging it. Except Holly’s hair. That look hasn’t quite stood the test of time, but I guess that’s true of a lot of ‘80s fashions.

    Hope everybody here gets a nice new blood-drenched tank top for Christmas or whatever holiday it is you celebrate that puts a dent in your checking accounts.

    Here’s some more parting wisdom from Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol:

    “… it is always the person not in the predicament who knows what ought to have been done in it, and would unquestionably have done it too”
    (and maybe what McClane should have said to the FBI)

  23. Rock on, Vern. Lost my dad about 2.5 years ago: like anything else, different folks process it in different ways, but it’s definitely a heavy thing, man.

    Also, great review. I actually just finally purchased this bad boy about 2 weeks ago and am going to watch it for the first time in forever, pouring some celluloid out on the metaphorical curb for you and yours.

    Peace.

    p.s. I’m expecting to get customized ads for Bad Boys 2 now.

  24. Condolences, Vern. And Merry Christmas. Your site is a gift to us all – you and yours will be in our thoughts.

  25. Sorry for your loss, Vern buddy. Your Dad sounds like a helluva guy.

  26. Wow. I never tought an Outlaw Vern review would make me tear up. This post really has inspired me to talk more with my dad.
    He’s older and in recent years, his memory has been fading, to the point where he sometimes forgets my age or other important things about me. It just gets so frustrating, because it feels like he barely knows me and I can finish all of his sentences before he even says something, because all of his conversations consist of endless reptitions. Still, he does not deserve to be ignored.
    I guess this has made me realize, that I’ve been an ungrateful and immature asshole lately and I need to fix that immediately. Sorry to just drop this on you guys, sometimes it feels good to share something with people, even if they’re just strangers on the internet.

    I’m sorry for your loss, Vern. May you and everybody else here have a Merry Christmas.

  27. Sorry for your loss Vern. I’ve been reading you for a couple years now, and your reviews are an indispensable part of my own filmic vocabulary. We don’t always agree, but I always want to know your opinion and I enjoy reading your stuff even for movies I haven’t seen. Only you and Ebert have ever been on that level. Keep striving for excellence.

    As for Die Hard? What can even be said about the movie? It’s a masterpiece. A Swiss watch. Bursting with heart, talent, joie de vivre, and wholesome masculinity. You wonder how something so perfect can come into existence. I used to work in Century City, and every day I’d walk past Nakatomi Plaza, and it would never fail to put in a good mood (which would usually evaporate upon sitting at my desk). It’s a HAAAAAAAAAANS family tradition to sit down and watch this every Christmas with my brother and two cousins, drinking egg nog. Throughout the year I’ll usually sneak in a few extra viewings at random times as well. I almost always find something new every time I watch it.

    Cheers to everyone on this site, and happy holidays too. Put on Christmas in Hollis, have a twinkie, and let your loved ones know you’d jump off a building for them.

  28. Thank you Vern. Been reading your stuff for over a decade, and am always pleased to visit the site for new and old reviews. Sincere condolences on your loss. I will be watching Die Hard this weekend to relive, remember and honor its greatness while saying a thanks for your openness.

  29. The Original Paul

    December 23rd, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    Vern – glad to see you’ve finally gotten around to watching DIE HARD. How many years have we been recommending it to you here? You should listen to us more!

    …Ok, in all seriousness, that was a great and very personal write-up of a great film. I’ll be watching it this year – as I do every year – and thinking of you. I’m sorry about your father. I know it’s no cosolation, but it sounds as though you knew him at his best, and you’ve done his memory proud here.

  30. I’m sorry for your loss, man. Your dad raised a great son.

  31. ‘I’ve seen people into the same so-called “manly movies” as me who use them as a crutch and an excuse to be assholes, to define masculinity only by its worst traits, and then hold that up as an ideal.’

    I had one foot (but just one foot) deeply (but very deeply) sunk into that mindset when I was teenager. I never had a dad and was looking for a role model to help me be strong in a cruel world. I eventually realized that I was overcompensating, but it took me years after that to really shake off all of the unfortunate traits that came with that mindset.

    Sorry to hear about your father, Vern.

    Merry Christmas, everybody.

  32. Yoooo. Sorry to hear about your dad, man. I grew up watching Schwarzenegger movies with my dad, and he and Arnold both have the exact same cocky assuredness, and even a fairly similar accent. I think thats ONE of the reasons I was an instant Arnold devotee as a kid, because I saw so much of my dad in him. I remember it was around the time my parents were divorcing that he and I watched Total Recall together, and to this DAY I can still hear him roaring with laughter at the “considda didda divorce” line. Which, in hindsight, he got so much glee from it because it supplied him the fantasy of just shooting my mom and being done with it, but I probably shouldn’t read too much into that.

    Anyway, my condolences buddy. Happy holidays to you and yours. Stay up.

  33. The Original Paul

    December 23rd, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    Romans – I can sympathise. I did the whole “entitled ‘nice guy'” thing myself. I still cringe a little, thinking about how I sometimes acted back then.

    Ah well, if there’s one thing to take away from Vern’s DIE HARD retrospective, it’s that people can change. Be the best person you can be right now.

  34. Mouth: I thought you were referring to the episode of BOB’S BURGERS where one of the kids tries to put on a school play of the movie, and another is doing a rival production of WORKING GIRL. I’m woefully behind on BROOKLYN however, but I’ll try and resolve this much sooner now.

  35. Sorry for your loss, your dad sounds like he was a solid fellow. It reminded me of my pops. We were on a road trip in California before I started high school and when we were in LA he was like we could go to Disneyland or we could check out Die Hard. I said Die Hard and we had the best time. No contest between the two, we still talk about how awesome it was.

  36. Thanks guys, I appreciate all the kind words. Ho ho ho.

  37. My parents never married, so I did not know my father very well. My mother was very young, and so I was raised by her mother (Granny) and her live-at-home brother (Uncle John). Uncle John started taking me to movies when I was four or five-I remember seeing THE NATURAL and TEMPLE OF DOOM on the big screen-and he obviously did not censor me in any way. My second viewing of DIE HARD was (I believe) the first time we split up to watch separate movies in the same theater. I remember trying to sound mature and cultured talking to some teenage girls before the movie, haha. But the big thing is when we finally got a VCR for X-Mas of ’94 or ’95(!): I slept on the couch in the living room, and Uncle John hooked up the VCR and put in DIE HARD at 7am. I woke up to the sound of McClane’s plane touching down, and it’s a feeling I’m never gonna forget. Confusion into pure joy and love. My actual father passed when I was 20 and I’m always going to regret not getting to talk to him man to man, but when Uncle John goes it’s going to hit me like a tidal wave and DIE HARD is a big part of the reason why.

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss, Vern, and I wish I had some advice for dealing with it. But all I can offer is: Keep on truckin’. That’s all any of us can do, I think.

  38. I love you, man. Never commented before–but your shit is THE shit. And whenever I buy stuff on Amazon these days, I buy it through your links. Yippee-ki-yay (and happy New Year), motherfucker.

  39. Deeply, deeply sorry for your loss Vern. I have been reading your reviews from the very beginning and can honestly say that my exposure to them, your personal philosophies and the comments and discussions on this sight have genuinely made me a better and more compassionate person. Your commitment to not being Ellis is a huge personal inspiration to me and I endeavour to live my own life by the same code every day.

    Merry Christmas Vern, and a merry Christmas to all you beautiful bastards in the comments. Stay schwayze, y’all.

  40. Wow, that review was a bummer. But the kind of bummer, that makes you feel better, because it was also a masterpiece. Sorry four your loss. I wanted to introduce my mother (who I have a very complicated love/hate relationship with) to this movie for a while (Since she is an Alan Rickman fan) and I think I’m gonna do it this christmas. Be glad that you had such a cool dad. Mine just owes us over 20 years of alimony.

    Merry Christmas, everybody!

  41. My deepest sympathies Vern. Great review. Have a merry christmas buddy.

    Die Hard is my favourite action movie as well, and has been for years. I rewatch it every December with a buddy of mine. We started way back with a worn-out VHS, switched to the dvd, watched it for the first time on my brand new wide screen TV, and finally on Blu-ray on my buddy’s big-ass home theatre screen. It has become an annual thing we look forward to for weeks in advance. Yippee-ka-yay!

  42. My condolences Vern. I lost my dad five years ago. I miss him every day. I wish he was alive to see his first grandchild born a few months ago.

    There are so many things I love about this movie. The fact that it’s much of an adventure story as an action one, with McClane moving through air vents and elevator shafts, Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, one of the greatest villains of all time, his crew of including Karl, his brother, Theo, “No more table guy”, Huey Lewis-looking dude, Asian guy who steals a candy bar, the incredible supporting characters Holly, Al, Takagi, Ellis, Richard Thornberg, Argyle, Agents Johnson and Johnson. “Shoot. The. Glass.” Hans falling. The use of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Finally there’s Willis as McClane himself. Even as dense a person as Michael Scott on THE OFFICE knew the reason the first one worked while most of the sequels didn’t is that he’s just a regular guy in DIE HARD. When he calls the police and she replies it’s “for emergencies only” and he screams “NO FUCKING SHIT LADY DOES IT SOUND LIKE I’M ORDERING A PIZZA?!!” That level of genuine panic from a guy who’s way over his head was so rare to see in an action hero and it still is. It’s a classic. For Christmas and always.

  43. Vern, what you do is special. Your dad must’ve been very proud.

    Condolences, and Happy Christmas.

  44. Wow. Fathers. Now here’s a can of worms with the potential to open up vinegar-tinged tear-ducts. I’m haunted by a story I read years ago from a venture by a major greeting card company (I think it was Hallmark), who offered male prison inmates in the US free cards to send to their parents on Mothers and Fathers Day. According to their reports, most men accepted cards for their mums, but come Father’s Day hardly any cards were taken. Some big issues boiling away there, for many and varied a reason.

    I grew up having my dad around, but not really involved. He was a classic passive/aggressive type man. Easy going most of the time, but when he snapped, you ducked and got the fuck out of his way or you copped a knuckle sandwich. I took a few hits here and there as a young teen, mostly when he was picking on one of my younger sisters and I’d call him out on it. He told me exactly one time he loved me, when I was 18. He and my mum were separating, and it was the first time I’d seen him show any emotion.

    But there was always one thing we did together as father and son that I have great memories of, which was go to the movies. And he always took me to movies above my age grade, ones like PALE RIDER and RAMBO 2. Hell I even remember seeing my first boobies, on Bo Derek in TARZAN THE APE MAN when I was 10 years old. That was our thing.

    I hardly see him these days. He remarried and moved to another state twenty years ago. When my kids were growing up we’d make a visit once every year or two. We’d call each other on our birthdays, have awkward conversations about the kids or work. Then he’d tell me he just saw the latest James Bond film and thought it wasn’t as good as the Sean Connery ones, and our voices would rise to a certain level of joy and we’d be connecting again. I miss the old bastard.

    He’s still kicking around at age 70. As a matter of fact, he and his wife are flying down to Sydney tonight to spend Christmas day with me and the kids for the first time in yonks. I’m sure we’re gonna talk about MAD MAX and SICARIO and how great Stallone was in CREED. And then I’m gonna put my arms around him and tell him I love him. Thanks Vern.

  45. Thank you for this fantastic article Vern, and my deepest sympathies at this hard time. What makes you my very favourite web”sight” is not just your acumen and humour but how much of your own humanity you bring into your writing, never more apparent than in this wonderful review.

    For info, as at today my favourite action movies of all time are Die Hard, The Raid, Fury Road and First Blood.

    Merry Christmas

  46. That was a lovely tribute to your dad, Vern. Hell of a movie to remember him by.

  47. Love you, dude.

  48. I had a hunch you’d like this one! Wonderful review – Merry Xmas Vern!

  49. A new Vern review is something I greatly look forward too and I have been reading your sight for I guess more than 5 years now so that’s a lot of joy you’ve bought me. So very sorry for your loss Vern. A happy Christmas to you and all your loved ones.

  50. In the spirit of the season, I’ll just say…jesus. This one hit me like a ton or bricks. I’ve been reading you for a decade and commented maybe once or twice, but had to chime in with condolences, Vern.
    I come from a conservative family, though we’re not the monsters you imagine. Lost mom to cancer 9 years ago and the pain sometimes still feels fresh, especially around the holidays. At that time, she and dad were 20 years removed from a pretty messy divorce, and I watched them finally forgive each other and become friends again in her final days. He is the kindest, warmest human being I’ve ever known, and the best friend I’ve ever had. And since neither of my parents had a problem with my under 13 self watching R rated movies, he allowed me to love Die Hard from the beginning, as all Americans should.
    All my life, with the exception of college years, I’ve lived within a few miles of him, which allowed me to take for granted his availability in my life. A couple months ago my wife and I moved 700 miles away, and though this isn’t the first Christmas I’ve spent away from him, it is the first time I won’t be going “home” to see him after. (Fortunately we are spending it with my sister and her family, so I’m not alone in missing him). On top of that, he just turned 80 last week, and I missed that, too (we did celebrate his birthday early together at thanksgiving, with all his children and grandchildren, and extended family).
    So anyway, that was a lot about me, an anonymous stranger on the internet, but I resolved to keep typing until the crying stopped. You had me bawling at 9 am on Christmas eve, you magnificent bastard. Keep striving: you do your father proud.

  51. Thank you for the reviews. All of them. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  52. There are a lot of days when DIE HARD is my favorite movie, too. It came out right when Lil Majestyk was figuring out his own tastes in things, and it pretty much defined what I was looking for in a movie for the foreseeable future. I was still young enough to play, so I remember playing DIE HARD, concocting my own elaborate office building terrorist scenario that spun out over several months. I had one of this replica Berettas they made back then that looked real enough to get me Al Powelled and I’d hang off my bunk bed pretending it was the side of a building. The movie lived and breathed for me in a way few others ever did.

    Like a lot of us here I never had a father. Oh, I had a father figure and other male role models, but the less I learned from them, the better. So I turned to action heroes for guidance on what a man should be. I learned that men should be smart, should think on their feet, should crave the truth even when it hurts, should not blindly accept what they’re told, should be the one who stands up when others sit down, should endure great pain and torment with wit and dignity whenever possible, should be gentle with the delicate and vulnerable and flippant with the vain and brutish, and above all be an individual, even when part of a diametrically opposed dramaturgical dyad. I also learned a lot of bullshit, too, about how might makes right and only the strong survive, stuff that made a smaller-than-average boy like me feel innately inferior. But at least I had the wit. I’d never make it through the fight but the one-liners would be epic.

    I ended up synthesizing the good and the bad until I began to see the machi violence as both fantasy (We all have problems that can’t be solved with punching, but wouldn’t it be nice if they could?) and metaphor (Real life is not as visual a ballet as an action sequence, but the mind processes them the same) and I think I came out okay on that front. I now see those qualities I subscribed to action heroes as fine qualities for anyone to have, not just men. Sometimes we’re McClane, a small guy stuck in a big machine, just trying to get out. Sometimes we’re Riggs, traumatized and dangerous and trying to find a reason to rebuild. And sometimes we’re John Matrix, larger than life and

  53. loaded for bear.

    We’re all in there somewhere. We just have to look and listen.

  54. Hey Vern,

    I’m sorry to hear about your dad. This Christmas will be hard without him, but the holidays are also a good time to grieve.

    I lost my dad almost 4 years ago. Die Hard was a movie he and I used to watch, also.

    Feeling overwhelmed is normal. Take the time to think about him and watch your favourite movies again. Cut yourself some slack if you’re not as enthused about the all “the most wonderful time of the year” shit.

    Also, great review. Merry Christmas!

  55. Forgot to mention another great thing about DIE HARD is the use of “Christmas in Hollis”! Any movie whose opening credits are played to Run DMC is automatically awesome. At the time rap was still considered by the mainstream to be a fad and that Run DMC would be forgotten in a decade. Now less than 30 years later both the song and the movie are Christmas classics!

  56. Lawrence that’s such a wonderful little detail that when I first saw KISS KISS BANG BANG with a friend of mine who loves DIE HARD as much as we do here at outlawvern.com or as much as any reasonable human being should love it (by the fuckload of course) the first thing I turned to him to ask was “holy shit do you think Argyle’s in this?”

    Anyway my annual DH viewing is about 24 hours away but until then I think I’ll pass the time enjoying me some DIE HARD 2: DIE HARDER followed by LETHAL WEAPON. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

  57. Vern, very sorry to hear about your loss. The absence never goes away, but it’s really pronounced those (these) first few months/years. You’ve probably heard this from people who know you and/or him better, but from what I do know – your reviews, your fiction, and the strength of character that shines through – I’m sure you enriched your father’s life in ways you’d never think to even suspect. Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.

  58. Here’s to you and your dad, Vern.

  59. Great piece man… And I’m really sorry for your loss.

  60. Vern, I’m sorry for your loss, I don’t even know what to say save for Merry Christmas everyone and here’s hoping we all have a good 2016.

  61. Happy holidays, Vern, and my condolences.

    It’s become a meme that “Die Hard = Best Christmas movie”… but when you think about it, it makes sense. Just like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” we see the difference that one man can make in the world, and in the lives of those he loves, by doing the right thing even when it’s difficult. Sure, “Die Hard” has more explosions, but the message is the same… and it’s an inspirational one, for the reasons you say. P.S. you have my permission to take the John McClane = George Bailey comparison and run with it.

  62. Watched DIE HARD today. Don’t even remember for which time, but it was great as always. My dad loved it too, when he was alive. It was perhaps the last “modern” action movie he liked.

  63. Watched it. So lean and full of personality. Dope.

  64. I’m sorry for your loss , Vern , but thank you for this piece . Your words speak to me in a very powerful way , especially now , that I’m changing job and I’m trying to be exactly like your father : getting up at the crack of dawn to go to work and help my family , to basically do what I think is right for them . Every day , now , when I get up , I always think about that Roddy Piper speech in They Live about “delivering a hard day’s work”. Now I have some other inspiring words.

    Again , Thank You , Vern , my sincere condolences and keep up the always good work .

  65. Sorry for your loss, Vern. My dad is still with us, but he has gone through a number of medical scares in recent years, so this really hit home.

  66. Love this piece, Vern. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  67. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Vern, good read.

  68. Thanks for the unexpected glimmer of insight into your life, Vern. Merry Die Hard and Happy Die Harder.

  69. I’m glad to report that my mother liked it. I don’t think I will show her any of the sequels, though. Maybe part 3, because it’s the best sequel and she likes Samuel L. Jackson, but part 2 might be too bloody for her (Yes, she is that squeamish and even in part 1 I had to tell her when to look away in certain moments) and parts 4 and 5 are shit.

  70. Hey Vern,

    Very sorry to hear about your loss.

    A lovely review. Hope 2016 is a better one for you, bud.

    J

  71. Vern, sorry for your loss and thanks again for running the best site on the net, and I mean that. This is literally the only website where I would start crying if it left, God forbid.

    Also excellent write-up on this classic – I think people these days are afraid to go deeper into movies because they don’t want to look pretentious (“turn off your brain/it ain’t Shakespeare”), or they just end up looking for shit that just isn’t there. But articles like this do it right – they get to the heart of why we love these movies so much, especially by pointing out things we don’t necessarily notice on a conscious level. And thanks for reminding us how great the Powell/McClane bromance was – they’ve given McClane a sidekick/partner in every one of these movies since (except for maybe 2 where he had alot of help, but no real partner), but they’ve never come close to the same magic that him and Powell had. I’ve seen this movie countless times yet last time I saw it I actually got misty-eyed when Powell and McClane meet. The beauty of them just KNOWING what each other looks like, and those two iconic musical cues (I think taken from the original Man on Fire and a deleted cut from Aliens) never fails to give me chills.

  72. My father slipped this mortal coil earlier this year, and I too memorialized him by re-watching a movie I had seen with him that ended up being one of my favorite film going experiences ever.

    In late summer of 1992, right before I left home to go and enter adulthood, he and I went to see the latest Clint Eastwood “cowboy movie” (as he called them) Unforgiven. He was a big Clint fan, so this was something of a routine for us. Even though, in the back of my mind, I knew this was going to be the last time it was going to be done.

    When the lights went down, I was expecting another man-with-no-name devil/savior yarn much like Clint’s last cowboy movie Pale Rider. Of course, what I got was his soul grinding take on Shane. And when the lights went back up, I was a bit blindsided and shaken.

    I turned to my father, who was as stone faced as ever. He considered everything for a moment, then commented “That was a good one.” And that was all that needed to be said.

    I’m sorry for your loss, and thank you for sharing.

  73. Hi Vern

    I’m a long time fan, having followed you for years and I absolutely love your reviews. I actually reviewed Yippee Ki Yay Moviegoer for a friend’s website years ago and realised I will never be as good a reviewer as you!

    Just wanted to say that you absolutely hit the nail on the head with Die Hard. Die Hard is one of my all-time favourite films for the reasons (thematically) you state, and it has a special place in my heart for the same reasons as well. It (along with Last Boy Scout) was the first film I remember watching with my Dad when I was about ten years old, and I hope to do the same thing with my own kid some day. I always considered myself lucky that I had two Dads (I lived with my Mum and Dad and my Mum’s brother) and when they both passed away several years ago I remember being heartbroken each time. You have my condolences. The pain never really goes away but over time all you are left with are the good memories, and those are things to cherish.

    Keep on doing what you do because you’re absolutely on the money with every review and you’re always a delight to read. All the best.

    Mark

    PS: Years ago I had a dream that I had to go back in time and pitch Die Hard to Bruce Willis and Bonnie Bedelia, otherwise it would never get made! Stressful stuff! Haha.

  74. Sorry for your loss, Vern. Maybe it’s about time I revisit DIE HARD for the first time in 20 years.

  75. Sorry for your loss. Your site is a daily destination for me, and your work is inspiring and insightful. Have a happy new year.

  76. How about this:

    The intriguing thing about DIE HARD is that, while it is wonderful in its camera placement, it is still slightly unnerving in its geography…

    The initial terrorist takeover. The band-saw business with Karl’s brother. All that.

    We think we know where we are – except we don’t.

    And the music! Any thoughts?

  77. Sorry for your loss Vern. Your writing has seen a lot of us through tough times, often with our own sordid families, and I have no doubt your dad realized the positive impact you have on others. You’re the man chief: partially because of you Die Hard has become the Xmas movie for my family. No small thing. Keep striving for excellence buddy.

  78. I’m really sorry to hear about your dad, Vern. I love what you say here about how this movie reflects or influences some people’s idea of masculinity. One of my favorite things about your site is how I get an insight to what men think and feel. It’s obvious that you strive for excellence in your life, along with your writing and I’m sure you dad was proud of the man you’ve become.

  79. It greatly saddens me to report that Alan Rickman, portrayer of one of the finest villains in all of cinema history, has passed away aged 69.

  80. I need to stop looking at the Internet first thing in the morning.

  81. Goddammit, Hans, you coulda been on fuckin’ TV with that accent. :(

  82. What is going on this week?!

    I just barely watched GALAXY QUEST for the umpteenth time and, as always, I teared up when he genuinely gave his Grabthar’s hammer speech to the dying alien. I know around these parts he’s first and foremost Hans Gruber, but he’s been so great in so many movies. I actually kinda liked the ridiculous JANUARY MAN and thought he stole the show there. Truly, truly sad news. RIP.

  83. Damn…..

    RIP

  84. Crushinator Jones

    January 14th, 2016 at 8:20 am

    I started to get a bad feeling when I saw an article titled “Alan Rickman: A Life in Pictures”. Jesus.

    Happy Trails, my man. Sincerely.

  85. John Sessions impersonates Alan Rickman on QI

    John Sessions does an impression of Alan Rickman and tells an anecdote involving him too.

    Got to share this again.

  86. My god! Not Gruber! WTF man :(

  87. The Original Paul

    January 14th, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Fuuuck. First Bowie, now Rickman? This is just horrible. Rest in peace, Mr Rickman.

  88. Schieß dem Fenster.
    :(
    RIP.

  89. Who the hell is it gonna be next week? Patrick Stewart?

  90. 69 year old British guys?

    Somebody better check up on Timothy Dalton.

  91. Tim Curry too, though there is a bright side to this as I thought Curry had died from that stroke he had, but turns out not.

  92. Not to steer this away from Rickman, but did anyone see the episode of BOB’S BURGERS where the kids put on dueling plays of this and WORKING GIRL? There’s a recreation of Hans’ death that’s actually a very clever bit of animation (as the whole show is, but that stood out).

  93. I saw that Bob’s Burgers episode. That’s a pretty great show in general.

    A running gag on one of my favorite shows BROOKLYN NINE NINE is that Die Hard is the favorite movie of Det. Jake Peralta(Andy Samberg) and in the recent Christmas episode he finds himself in “Die Hard” situation inside a department store much to his delight.

    My favorite Hans Gruber moment is when he makes a fake demand to release the heads of “Asian Dawn” from prison and Karl mouths “Asian Dawn?” and Hans covers the phone and says “I read about them in Time magazine.”

    Alan Rickman will be badly missed.

  94. Re-watched Galaxy Quest last night (one of the few Rickman films on Netflix Instant). It’s even better than I remembered – the jokes are fine, but this viewing confirms the reason it has such a cult following – it has real affection for its characters and isn’t afraid to have powerful, emotional scenes in a lighthearted comedy. I’ll save more thoughts in case Vern does a full review, but I will point out that I actually cried this time during Rickman’s big scene. I won’t spoil it but I’ll say Rickman says the same line twice in this movie – once at the beginning with disdain (delivered as only Rickman can do it), and once more at the end, (this time literally “with feeling”). The context of that scene, what it says about the characters involved and the power of storytelling, coupled with Rickman’s Shakespearean delivery – it’s a magical scene and I kinda lost it watching it last night.

    Side note: I’ve always wondered if there was an attempt to get the actual Star Trek cast involved, playing themselves (which would have made this a sci-fi cousin to Wes Craven’s New Nightmare). As awesome as that would have been, Rickman’s subplot wouldn’t have been the same and for that alone I’m glad the movie ended up as it did.

  95. I always refer to GALAXY QUEST as the 2nd best film of the 90s and/or the best comedy since GHOSTBUSTERS. There aren’t many other movies, where even the smallest bitpart is perfectly cast like that and the script has a perfect balance between laughs and true adventure, as well as parody and loving homage. (It truely is one of those rare instances, where the script laughs WITH the nerds and not AT them, while pretending to be their best friend.) And yes, Rickman’s big scene gives me tears every single time. (Shout out to Patrick Breen, whose look on his face after he hears these words REALLY seals the deal.)

  96. I usually hate “[Film that isn’t actually X] is the best [Franchise X] Movie!” comments, but I think there’s a legitimate case that GALAXY QUEST gives people far more of what the casual fans liked about the original STAR TREK then any movie in the actual series since THE VOYAGE HOME.

    I suppose the closest thing we’ve got in this universe to WES CRAVEN’S NEW STAR TREK is FREE ENTERPRISE, which is no GALAXY QUEST but which I watched a couple of times in the 00s and remember being pretty good. There were plans for a sequel obviously fell through, I certainly would have watched it.

  97. Ehhh…

    Die Hard: Year One - further details revealed

    Director Len Wiseman has been chatting about Die Hard 6 - better known as Die Hard: Year One...

  98. The Original Paul

    January 18th, 2016 at 9:16 am

    “Director Len Wiseman”?

    Because DIE HARD 4 received such a universally positive reception…? Oh lord.

    In all fairness, I don’t think DIE HARD 4’s negative reception (and this was a film I was more positive about than a lot of people) had anything to do with its direction. On the other hand, his other non-TV director credits are the TOTAL RECALL remake (nooooooo) and the first two UNDERWORLD films (didn’t see the second one but that was because the first one was obnoxiously bad).So my confidence is… not high. At the very least I think DIE HARD 6, to do anything at all right, needs a better writer than DIE HARDs 3, 4 or 5. (I include #3 in there just because the villains were so damn lame, even though I liked a lot of the banter between Sam L. and Willis.) If Wiseman can get the right script then I’d be interested in seeing what he can do.

    Incidentally, I still haven’t seen DIE HARD 5 yet. (Some day I’ll put myself through it as a curiosity, but it’ll probably have to come out on TV first.) Question: I know that, critically speaking, pretty much everybody thought it was bad. But was it a success financially? Did it get bums on seats in the cinemas?

  99. The Original Paul

    January 18th, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Did what i should’ve done before and googled it… apparently DIE HARD 5 made up two-thirds of its budget in domestic sales alone, and got a quarter of a billion dollars in the foreign market. They’re just gonna keep pumping these out, aren’t they?

  100. Yup. We will probably end up with a DIE HARD ORIGINS in which McClane and Hans gruber as kids.

  101. Die Hard 6 is most likely going to be terrible. Die Hard 4 was better than the fifth film and a step up from the first Underworld movie, but those are pretty low bars to meet, so I’m not excited to see that apparently Wiseman is back on the job. But, at the very least it looks like they’re going to keep Bruce Willis around and weave his contemporary story with something from the past. I hope this isn’t just a back door prequel, but that doesn’t sound as terrible as basically rebooting the series so that it takes place in the 70s in the style of the X-Men movies.

  102. Hans Gruber as the bullied exchange student from East Germany. Just like Uter Zorker from The Simpsons.

  103. The Original Paul

    January 18th, 2016 at 10:45 am

    Shoot:

    “We will probably end up with a DIE HARD ORIGINS in which McClane and Hans gruber as kids.”

    Dear God, man, don’t even say things like that. You never know who might be reading.

  104. DIE HARD ORIGINS: GRUBER

  105. DIE HARD ORIGINS: AL POWELL

    DIE HARD SAGA: ARGYLE

    Actually all jokes aside I’d watch the shit out of those two.

  106. DIE HARD ORIGINS: RISE OF THAT GUY FROM PART 2, WHO WAS PLAYED BY FRANCO NERO

  107. I never realized before now that Franco Nero was the former dictator of Val Verde.

  108. Yes Val Verde has been blessed (or cursed) with some awesome looking dictators. Franco Nero, Dan Hedaya etc.

  109. DIE HARD GAIDEN: NAKATOMI TRADING

  110. There is a million stories to be told in the DIE HARD universe. For instance how John McWayne learned the Yippie-Kay-ee phrase or how he got his fear of flying. There is at least twenty movies left in this.

  111. So they confirmed today Die Hard: Year One will take place on New Year’s Eve ’79, which I think makes this an actual adaptation of the Die Hard: Year One graphic novel. I tried to skirt around this in another thread here, but oh well, I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough – Year One starts off cool like a slice-of-life on the NYPD; there’s protecting a pretty witness with the backdrop of the busy holiday, it actually reminded me of the end of DePalma’s Blowout. But then…(I don’t think this is spoilers anymore) – it turns into Die Hard on a Yacht. Like, McClane literally gets stuck on a yacht with terrorists and hostages and it makes absolutely no sense that this dude would have gone through this before. (It reminded me of the Thing prequel/remake where The Thing must have thought “this exact same shit just happened to me!”)

    I really, really hope that’s not what they’re doing. I mean, none of the 4 Die Hard Sequels re-used the same formula, I’d hate for part 6 to just go back to the well (then again, The Force Awakens shows audiences don’t mind a remake being fed to them in sequel’s clothing)

  112. You know, I was staying open-minded about this project until now, but…

    John clearly says in the first movie that he’d been a cop for 11 years. That was in 1988, making his first year on the force 1977. So either one of the first things John did was lie to the audience, or these producers can’t do math.

    Worst. Movie. Ev—-

    Oh, who am I kidding. It’s more DIE HARD. I’m an easy mark. Just shoot some people and say “fuck” a lot. That’s all I ask.

  113. I think it will turn out better than what we suspect. But not even I believe that sentence.

  114. I am legitimately optimistic, but that’s just because I’m the only person alive who legitimately likes DIE HARD 5. I’ve probably seen it six times now, and I like it a little more every time. So I think I have my expectations pitched at the perfect level for this franchise.

  115. I hated it at the cinema, but it kind of grew on me as a guilty pleasure at my limited home cinema, in which the shitty camera work probably was made for anyway. It is a pretty pisspoor movie, but I can get behind John McWayne & Son going to blow shit up in Chernobyl (that is in Ukraine, not Switzerland) on a basic level.

    I just don´t care about this shit. Why would we want to know how Holly and John got together? Is it relevant? No,it is basically flogging a dead horse.

  116. Yeah considering Holly’s been removed from the franchise for 20+ years and there’s been more Die Hard movies without her than with her, it seems silly. But I have to admit that when Holly Genarro shows up as the love interest in Die Hard: Year Two (yes, the comic book sequel) I did kinda like it. And if they can get Bedelia back for the present day scenes (and bring back Courtney and Winstead for a scene or two) I’d actually kinda dig it.

    I do really hope that they throw in a young version of his mustachioed boss and Graham Greene and Colleen Camp from Die Hard with a Vengeance. Their chemistry and “team” vibe was one of the best things about that movie and I don’t get why the comic books didn’t have them.

  117. I can’t say I really need to know that stuff either, but it doesn’t really bother me. The DIE HARD sequels are like video game sequels to me. They just need to plug the character I like into similar but different enough scenarios so he can do the kind of stuff he does. The little bits of character development are just seasoning. As long as there’s a significant amount of Bruce, I’m okay with it.

    Besides, for all his faults, Wiseman really is a pretty great action director. Even his TOTAL RECALL remake, while an utter failure as a remake, has some incredible action scenes. It even made me not hate Kate Beckinsale, which I had previously thought was impossible, simply because her action scenes were so good. So for me, there’s really no need for it to be a great DIE HARD movie (whatever that is). It just needs to be a good action movie, and I think there’s every chance it will be that.

  118. Also, just for pure man reasons, casting an actress who looks like a young Bonnie Bedelia sounds like a great idea to me. In this movie or most others.

  119. Die Hard is like the one film that absolutely should not have been a franchise. John McClane should not have become an iconic smart ass action hero. It should not have repeated the same goddamn thing twice. It should not have had to force Yi Ki Yay Motherfucker into a catchphrase instead of being an off-the-cuff character defining button. It should not have had a son, a daughter, surfing trucks and tied to giant bombs and fighting parkour dudes and whatever the fuck happen in Die Hard 5 cuz I didn’t see it since it was absolute shit. It should’ve just been one movie, one everyman hero in over his head in a once-in-a-lifetime situation. Now he’s gonna have an origin story where he does a bunch of crazy shit before Die Hard? Every time you make a sequel to Die Hard, you make the original look a little less special, a little less once-in-a-lifetime, a little less everyman.

    A Die Hard prequel is just the absolute worst idea. Its a fuckin’ SNL joke. Amazing that people who claim to be Die Hard fans are even up for something so completely antithetical to its creation.

  120. Jeremy: I totally get where you’re coming from. I argued a very similar point about the new Star WARSes. But it doesn’t bother me for DIE HARD. One, because that ship sailed more than a quarter century ago when I was 12 and didn’t really care about that sort of thing, and two, because I like seeing John’s transformation from reluctant Everyman to reluctant Superman. In concept, the sequels (and now the seprequel) are a disgrace to everything the original stood for. In execution, though, they’re a bunch of movies I really enjoy. You definitely have the moral high ground here, but I wouldn’t give them up for the world.

  121. SPOILERS FOR, UM, THE ORIGINAL PSYCHO FRANCHISE II :)

    The issue of sequels tarnishing the legacy of the originals that birthed them seems timely. You guys are talking about it here, Vern is opening up his review of “Land before Time” in a similar vein, and it’s clearly a major point of discussion around the various Star Wars films of the last 15+ years.

    For my part, I think most classic films are pretty robust to being tainted by their sequels. I suppose that is subjective, but if you don’t like a sequel, you can simply write it off and confine it to the dustbin, like it’s a branch into an alternate hypothetical universe–it’s riffing on the characters. Basically, as a fan you can decide your own canon.

    Take Psycho. I love original Psycho. I think the sequels pretty much uniformly suck (a lot of people like Psycho II, but I think it’s just okay), as does the remake, and Bates Motel started off really strong then went off the rails in Season 3. None of that changes Psycho as a singular film, and when I watch that film, I’m not thinking, “Oh, but Mother isn’t really his mother, she’s his adoptive mother, as we learn in part 2.”

    When done well, sequels carry on a story or a universe of characters in noble and satisfying fashion. Rarer and even better is a sequel that ups the stakes and scope and manages to deliver a payoff on those raised stakes, such that, in retrospect, the original film was only the tip of the iceberg. In other words, some franchises are designed to be episodic (those Sherlock Holmes films I don’t watch, Jason films, Mission Impossible); some grow in complexity and mythology or scale as they progress, with varying results (Nolan Batman, Matrix); and there are those rare franchises that allow you to go on a decades-long journey with a character and watch them develop (Rocky, Rambo, Die Hard, Godfather).

    Other sequels are just complete disasters (Star Wars prequels), underwhelming rehashes (Another 48 hours, Beverly Hills Cop 3), or films that have interesting elements but on balance are still clearly inferior to their progenitors (Psycho 2, Rocky 2, Halloween 2). However, in none of these cases does the sequel somehow undermine the original, in my opinion. A sequel is a pretty low-risk, moderate-reward proposition to the filmgoer: If it’s good, then that is a beautiful thing; if it sucks, just treat it as non-canon.

    The only case I can think of where the sequels really did do some kind of retro-damage the originals is the Matrix (for some people; I was never a huge fan of the original). I think with the Matrix it’s kind of like how some people feel about Lost or X-files, where so much of the ever-unfolding narrative rests on the notion of this deep conspiratorial, layered, mythology that is bigger, deeper, and different than it first appears. In these cases, I think the whole mythology can really can collapse in on itself and make even the original works seem less magical. Basically, the old “these guys really had me hooked, strung me along, and then eventually, after much denial and patience, I realized they had a great opening act but no real resolution in mind, just dangling threads, retcons, etc.” type deal.

  122. DIE HARD is now availabe as a coloring book

    Amazon.com: Die Hard: The Authorized Coloring and Activity Book (9780062492302): Twentieth Century Fox: Books

    Buy Die Hard: The Authorized Coloring and Activity Book on Amazon.com ✓ FREE SHIPPING on qualified orders

  123. A History of Violence – DIE HARD

    Die Hard humanized (and perfected) the action movie

    Die Hard is a near-perfect example of its form, a platonic ideal of the action movie.

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