Friday, January 29, 2016

Die Hard (1988)

Some movies change with age.  You might view it as a kid and think it’s an action movie only to realize as an adult that it had some deeper meaning.  Movies Like WarGames or Star Wars will look different as a kid than as an adult.  There were aspects of The Shawshank Redemption that I didn’t get as a child.  Even UHF parodied things that I missed the first time simply because I hadn’t seen the movie being referenced.  I had kind of wondered if this was the case with Die Hard.  Eh, not so much.

Primarily, Die Hard is an action movie.  It starts with John McClane, a New York City detective, visiting his wife, Holly, in Los Angeles.  They’re estranged, but hoping to maybe get back together.  Things are going not so well when a group of armed men take Holly and her entire office hostage.  John happens to be in the office, but is unseen by the gunmen, giving him an advantage.

Hans Gruber is the lead gunman.  He takes Holly’s boss, Joseph Takagi, into another room to interrogate him.  You see, Gruber and his goons aren’t terrorists, as one might think.  They’re strictly there for the bearer bonds that Takagi has in his safe.  Gruber has no problem letting the police think he’s a terrorist, though.  When Takagi refuses to cooperate, Gruber kills him.  Gruber then assures his associates that the police will help with Plan B.

Meanwhile, John takes it upon himself to kill Gruber and his henchman one by one.  This isn’t an easy task, considering that John is alone and has no guns.  For that matter, he spends a good part of the movie without shoes, having left them in his wife’s office.  It even takes a few tries to get the police to come out.  (Gruber does want the police to come out, just not too soon.)

Being that it’s an action movie, things don’t end well for Gruber & Co.  Yes, it’s very violent.  Yes, is a lot of blood.  Ask someone about the movie and they will probably remember John McClane walking across broken glass.  If you’re into that sort of stuff, it’s a good movie.  There’s just the right amount of story to tie the abundant violence together.

This is one of those movies that spawned a lot of sequels.  This is interesting in that the movie is based on a book called Nothing Lasts Forever.  The first book, called The Detective, was also made into a movie with the same name, starring Frank Sinatra.  Sinatra could have been John McClane, as being offered the part was in his contract, but he turned it down.  (It’s interesting to think of what it would have been like.)

The last time I saw this movie was shortly before the death of Alan Rickman, who played Hans Gruber.  This was his first feature-film role.  (He had previously been in TV series and TV movies.)  It’s hard for me to see him another role without thinking how he’s Hans Gruber.  This isn’t to say that it affects how I view the other movie.  It’s simply a testament to how diverse his roles have been.

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