It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years since the release of the now classic action movie “Die Hard”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched the film during the years following its release. It uniquely captured the popular 80s action feel of the time while also paving some wonderful new ground in the genre. It also gave us some signature moments that I’m sure all of us remember. So to honor an action classic I’m looking at five phenomenal things about “Die Hard”. Now obviously with a movie this good and with such history it’s impossible to call this the definitive list. But no one will doubt that these five things about “Die Hard” are certainly phenomenal.
#5 – DWAYNE T. ROBINSON
It may seem like an odd inclusion, but I love Deputy Chief of Police Dwayne T. Robinson. This pompous, cocky, and often times incompetent officer was in charge of the scene at Nakatomi Plaza, at least until the “FBI guys” arrive. He was wonderfully played by the late Paul Gleason who in many ways was recapturing his role as Principal Vernon from “The Breakfast Club”. He gives us several hilarious lines and watching his stupidity being exposed by both the terrorists and John McClane is simply priceless.
#4 – THE JUMP FROM THE TOP
“Die Hard” is a film with one spectacular action sequence after another. Director John McTiernan is no stranger to action flicks and he has always known how to film a pulse-pounding scene. Such is the case with the great moment when John McClane jumps off the top of Nakatomi Plaza. With terrorists seconds away from blowing the roof and an FBI chopper mistaking him as a bad guy, McClane finds himself in a real pickle. Explosions, a falling chopper engulfed in flames, and a free jump with nothing but a fire hose to keep him from falling to his death all make up the amazing scene that follows. I love it!
#3 – BRUCE WILLIS: ACTION STAR
“Die Hard” is the film that catapulted Willis into super stardom an launched his career as a bonafide action movie star. In the 1980s that was a big deal. The genre was in its heyday and breaking into that scene wasn’t that easy. There were musclebound guys like Schwarzenegger and Stallone along with martial arts stars like Norris, Van Damme, and Seagal. But in “Die Hard” Bruce Willis showed us a more grounded action hero. Sure some of his stunts were spectacular, but he was just a regular guy. This is something that was symbolized in most of Willis’ action roles that followed. And it all started with John McClane.
#2 – HANS GRUBER: THE QUINTESSENTIAL TERRORIST
Throughout the years we’ve seen a number of terrorists on the big screen. Most are your cookie-cutter variety bad guys with similar motives and characteristics. I think that’s why Hans Gruber stands so far apart from the crowd. He’s suave, sophisticated, and he certainly doesn’t share the same motives as the others we’ve seen over and over again. But the biggest reason he works so well is Alan Rickman. Talk about a great performance. Rickman is mesmerizing as the highly intelligent terrorist ringleader who always seams one step ahead of everyone else. And that cool charisma he brings to the character is simply impossible to miss.
#1 – THE CONCEPT
There are so many wonderful things that contribute to “Die Hard” being such a fabulous action movie. But for me, I always come back to the concept itself. The entire terrorist takeover of a skyscraper idea has always stood out to me. Then throw in one lone “fly in the ointment” moving and battling from floor to floor and you have the concept for a truly remarkable film. And to prove the concept was genius, there have been tons of knockoffs throughout the years. Of course the concept ultimately proved to be strong by the finished result. “Die Hard” has gone on to become one of the most well known and well received action movies of the 1980s. And it’s a movie that will undoubtably be held in high regard for years to come.
So there are my 5 Phenomenal Things About “Die Hard”. I know you’ve seen the film. What do you agree or disagree with? I’d love to hear your thoughts and your favorite things about this great action picture.