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Delorted's Movie Reviews (169)

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Die Hard 
Review - Die Hard (1988)
4/4 stars

What better way is there to spend Christmas Eve than with your family in front of a warm fire, thinking about all the good times? Well, there is family involvement here, and a warm fire certainly, but there are no good times for Detective John McClane this Christmas in the action-packed gun-blazing Die Hard.

On Christmas Eve, during a Christmas party at a large business building in Los Angeles, a group of terrorists begin raising hell, and McClane, visiting his wife in the same building, takes it upon himself to put a stop to the violence. What accumulates is nothing but more adrenaline-pumping violence that never lets up.

It is so awesome in every conceivable way. That's really the one sentence I can use to describe this film. I'm not even sure what else to say, because that pretty much sums it up. It is the perfect action film. It's got just enough plot to make the characters interesting enough to care about, and yet it doesn't flood the film with too much story and not enough action. The balance is perfect and the action is incredible. What makes it really great is that McClane, played by Bruce Willis by the way, is not some Rambo character just blowing up everything in his path; he's a family man and a human being, and by the end of the film you can really tell he's been through a lot that night.

Alan Rickman is always great at playing the brooding, seemingly annoyed villain, but here, as the lead terrorist Hans Gruber, he plays that at his best as well as making the character seem like a serious threat. He's not just some terrorist, he's a highly intelligent business man, and he's not going to see his plans thwarted by come nobody cop from out of town. Willis and Rickman play off each other really well here, becoming unstoppable forces for both sides of the fight.

There's a lot of satire at play here, with the cops wanting to play strictly by the rule books, even though Hans obviously has read the same pages. What's more is that the media won't leave the situation alone, and they're played off as the heartless scumbags they really are (or at least can by on most occasions). It's not saying anything against law enforcement or even the media doing their job (okay, it's saying a bit against the media), rather it's showing the corruption in both systems that we all know about but never really get exploited enough.

It's amazing to see how many action films have since stolen almost every aspect of this film just to try to be as awesome. I think that's how you know it's great, that it's been so overly copied and yet nobody has ever been able to do it quite as well. Die Hard will live hard and for a long, long time.

FINAL VERDICT: 5/5


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