Movie Review: Die Hard

I woke up this morning and felt the need to watch a holiday movie, potentially a holiday movie marathon. What says Christmas more than Die Hard?

“Detective John McClane is in Los Angeles to spend the holidays with his estranged wife Holly. But while McClane waits for office party to end, terrorists take control of the building. As their sinister leader, Hans Gruber, and his savage henchmen round up hostages, McClane gets ready to blast a few rounds of his own and launch a one-man war – as only McClane can!”

One of the things about this movie that amused me was when John takes out the first of the henchmen and then it’s almost just like in the video games where he went through all of the guy’s pockets and his backpack, looking for anything he could use, including shoes. I was reminded of my days playing Baldur’s Gate and how you would search the bodies of your enemies and find boots, cloaks, rings, weapons, and scrolls. Only, in this case, John gets a lighter, some weapons, and boots that don’t fit. It was an amusing correlation for me.

I like how things in this movie are a learning experience for everyone involved. These aren’t perfect heroes. John doesn’t really know what kind of explosion will happen when he dumps a computer monitor with C4 down the elevator shaft, so it’s a huge surprise to him when the giant fireball comes up the elevator shaft. But he is resourceful and pays attention to the situation, writing down the information about how many terrorists are there on his arm in permanent marker, which shows again that he is human. His memory isn’t perfect and flawless and he doesn’t automatically know everything about the situation.

I really liked how Holly dealt with everything. I mean, it’s Christmas, she’s at a party for work, and terrorists randomly take over. She tries to convince her boss, the head and owner of the corporation not to reveal himself, and then she stays cool, quiet, and collected as everything continued to escalate. She never lost her calm demeanor and was mentioned several times by her boss and coworkers as being exceptionally good at her job.

This movie also made me look a little bit at my thoughts concerning police training and procedures. How often do massive terrorist events like the one depicted in the movie actually happen? I know terrorist events happen but I wonder sometimes about the use of force, especially with the incidents of civilian deaths in the news lately. In Die Hard, one of the officers in the Los Angeles Police Department tells John that he has a desk job because he made a mistake and shot a kid when it was dark and the kid had a ray gun. Because of that, he didn’t feel comfortable ever drawing his weapon on anyone ever again. Based on what I’ve seen in the news about the civilian incidents here, I don’t know that the officers who have caused the deaths of civilians have the same level of guilt as the officer in this movie. I think our officers these days are trained and taught so extensively that they are filled with righteous purpose instead of being filled with humanity. I know that they have a difficult job and that there are a lot of really crappy people in the world who want to cause harm to others and that our police forces are designed to protect us from people who aren’t very good people. I’m not a police officer, so I don’t know what they go through, and I respect them greatly for their service. But there really is a part of me that believes that maybe we’re constantly using force to solve problems when maybe if we extended a hand to help first, the use of force wouldn’t have been necessary.

Meanwhile, back to Die Hard. This movie has a lot of great one-liners and several parts that amused me greatly. “Oh, look! The police have themselves an RV!” which was followed closely by, “And the quarterback is toast!” But I think the most satisfying part of the movie for me was when Holly punches the reporter because he bullied his way into her house, interviewed her kids, and endangered their lives.

Overall, this movie is a good thing to watch for the holidays or when you just want a good, classic action movie that actually had a pretty interesting storyline and plot, plus characters that are worth cheering for. It’s a solid three on my rating scale and I’m glad I own it and will continue to watch it repeatedly throughout the years.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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