Was the catchphrase used by New York police detective John McClane in the action thriller Die Hard. Since it’s release back in 1988, Die Hard has stood the test of time to be considered one of the best action thrillers ever made. And because of its’ Christmas setting it has become a favourite Xmas movie; and as Xmas is only a few weeks away . . .
The film follows McClane who is caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper whilst visiting his estranged wife. McClane is of course played by Bruce Willis in the role that made him into a major film-star and over the years Willis would become a caricature but in all fairness he absolutely nailed this role.
It is sad to read now that Willis has been forced into retirement after being diagnosed with aphasia, a disorder caused by damage to the area of the brain that controls language expression and comprehension.
So what makes Die Hard stand out as arguably the best action thriller of the last 40 years ?
Well, at the time, expectations were quite low, Willis was not a major film star and had made his name as a comedic actor in the TV series Moonlighting.
Before Die Hard most action films of the time often featured an invincible hero (eg. Schwarzenegger and Stallone) whereas Willis’ McClane presents as a fairly normal person with failings and vulnerabilities i.e. he was believably human. Of course the irony is that Willis then made a career playing invincible heroes.
The film also starred an unknown Alan Rickman as the charismatic villain Hans Gruber in what was his film debut . . . but what a debut ! Rickman’s silky voice combined with the totally ruthless nature of his character elevated the role to be one of the great screen villains in cinema history.
Rickman would then form a habit of stealing every movie he appeared in and his death from pancreatic cancer in 2016 robbed the world of one of the finest actors of his generation.
The film also boasts a number of terrific action set-pieces that utilised old-fashioned techniques including practical effects and outstanding stunt work i.e. no CGI.
For me, cinema has not produced a better testosterone inducing adrenaline rollercoaster experience that is still as entertaining today as it was when it was first released.
43 thoughts on “WolfmanOz at the Movies #48”
Rickman was a great actor. His Severus Snape had so much depth and definitely stole the limelight in the Harry Potter franchise.
One of my favourite comedic Snape moments.
Willis’ reprisal of his action role in RED allowed him to use his comedic talents again. Also a great movie.
Agree your comments and sentiments Wolfman.
Sad for Bruce Willis.
For Christmas I have bought my brother the ‘Die Hard Children’s picture book’. Available in all good book stores and some dodgy ones too. It v well done, even Mr Takagi getting his suit ruined. For Christmas lunch post entertainment I hope to wrangle a few volunteers young and old to make it into an impromptu play with my brother as narrator. Should be a chaotic work of art… might even apply for an arts council grant.
Welcome to the party, pal!
One musn’t forget the real villian – Thornburg and the fool – Dwayne T. Robinson.
One of Dwayne’s best lines.
Agent Johnson and special agent Johnson…
Another top movie Wolfie. The original and best of the Die Hard movies. The rest are pretty silly, though I didn’t mind DH4 for some reason.
Willis was of course also fantastic in pulp Fiction. The contretemps that results when he has to go and fetch his beloved watch (with its own equally fantastic back story) is my favourite set piece in the film.
Don’t forget Alan Rickman was the voice of the depressed robot dog in Hitch-hikers Guide. I like him as Hans, makes a good baddy but not as bad as Denzil Washington in Training Days. My favourite BW part is in 12 Monkeys ably assisted by the gorgeous Madeline Stowe.
Wolfie, v good selection.
I like how Christmas figures in the story – the very natural backdrop of the corporate Christmas party and the way the estranged couple are reuniting, even perhaps temporarily, provides further depth.
Yet, there is apprehension in that reuniting, which introduced the idea that more is going to happen.
And when it does, one man, whose presence is ancillary, is there to step forward. Why? Out of necessity, care for other human beings and his love for his wife.
Probably, (and I’m happy to be corrected – if you can think of more) the last very human hero to come out of Hollywood.
Tend to agree although I did like Die Hard With A Vengeance with Jeremy Irons as Hans villainous brother.
I agree with you Wolfie. Die Hard With a Vengeance was very good as well.
The riddles, the gold ship bluff, a bit more cerebral than just blowing shit up.
Great thread Wolfie.
It’s no argument, Die Hard is definitely a Christmas movie, with added bonus!
Also, as Duncan states above, Red is a great Bruce Willis movie. I am so glad he managed to get that one out before his illness felled him.
I have always enjoyed Bruce Willis. I even enjoy some of his crappy stuff that he had churned out over the years. He never seemed to take himself too seriously. It always came across.
Forgot to add, a good New Years tip doing the rounds of the net right now, if you start the clip of Hans Gruber falling out of Nakatomi Tower at 11:53 pm (if I recall correctly), he will hit the ground at Midnight! Happy New Year!
Neal Stephenson might’ve encapsulated the core attraction of Die Hard:
Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world…
Die Hard was great. What I liked about Bruce Willis was that he clearly didn’t take his role seriously.
Not exactly out of Hollywood, it was obviously cartoon created, but Peter Quill (‘Star Lord’) is a pretty good (sort-of-)human (anti/)hero.
Love, love, love this movie! My son and I would sit and watch it every Christmas and knew the dialogue off by heart. The rest of the family would just shake their heads…
Rickman lit up the screen in every movie he ever did – loved him in Truly, Madly, Deeply, and again in S&S. Then the heartrending role in Really Big Adventure, and his wicked Sheriff in Robin Hood. He and Geraldine McEwan stole the show. And Marvin, the depressed robot in Hitchhiker’s, and the equally cranky Dane/Lazarus in Galaxy Quest.
On TV, the same – the horrid, slimy Slope in Barchester (again with McEwan).
As for Die Hard, all the sequels were pretty good, but neither brilliant nor memorable, up until the one with Justin Long as the computer nerd…the one where he kills the helicopter with the car. Chuckle just thinking about it. The final one was okay…just.
Marvellous movie. You had these in those days: a movie with nearly unknown actors that knocks the socks off audiences. Die Hard was one, others being Star Wars and Blade Runner. Who could forget Rutger Hauer’s final scene? Easily his greatest role.
The nice thing is then those actors went on to entertain us for the rest of their working lives. I’m sad though that all novelty seems to’ve been sucked out of movies lately and replaced by safe and woke. The latest seems to be Black Adam, which should be an entertaining movie but has underwhelmed.
Nolte: ‘Black Adam’ Flops to Potential $100M Loss – Identity Is Not Character (7 Dec)
I agree Pogria.
I’ve always kind of liked Willis for as you say he didn’t take himself too seriously plus I don’t recall any woke bulltish with him.
He was arguably the biggest movie star of the 1990s and although he appeared in a few stinkers e.g. Hudson Hawk, Color Of Night to name a couple; he did appear in a number of very good films i.e. Pulp Fiction, 12 Monkeys, The Siege and of course The Sixth Sense.
Absolutely spot on BoN.
I’ll have to do a review of Blade Runner in the not-too-distant future . . . and, I agree, Rutger Hauer’s final scene is sublime.
I’d forgotten about that one Calli. What a heart-rending movie. Really got to me when I was younger (excuse me – I’ve got something in my eye)
Jupes – DH4 had some great moments – the smack-down of the baddie Kung Fu chick, then Bruce’s subsequent call with the baddie, Gabriel:
Add The fifth element to that list.
There are two types of people in this world. Those who know that Die Hard is a Christmas movie and communists.
And add Looper as well. Brutal, but had a distinctly human element to it, which ultimately overcame his strong survival instinct of which the audience was falsely led to believe was the point of the movie.
I never really cared for The Fifth Element – Chris Tucker’s character was one of the most annoying performances I’ve had to sit through.
Another of Willis’s under-rated and forgotten movies that I relish watching is “Last Man Standing”.
His character is fun! Wonderfully vacuous. A nice prediction of the Tik Tok Influencer phenomenon.
Gary Oldman is another one of those actors who like Alan Rickman can steal a whole movie.
A remake of A Fistful Of Dollars which was also a remake of Yojimbo.
We’ll have to agree to disagree.
It was indeed. And the whole trans-genderfluid rubbish. And…he made fun of it, held it up to ridicule.
That movie could not be made now.
Ruby Rhod was one glorious pisstake.
Sorry. That was Awfully Big Adventure for Rickman.
Silly not to check before posting and rely on memory. I must have seen it fifteen years ago.
Speaking of Stallone, I always thought Demolition Man with Sandra Bullock a vastly underestimated movie.
Just a quick segue – I have just got home from a terrific night at Cockatoo island watching Carmen.
Prior to the final tragic scene (spoiler alert!!!) a big message was promoted on the backdrop saying “This production depicts scenes of violence against women”.
I didn’t know whether to scoff at the wokeness, laugh at the intended irony, or feel sad for those who came thinking an opera was going to be all sweetness and light.
Classic Rickman: That’s it then. Cancel the kitchen scraps for lepers and orphans, no more merciful beheadings, and call off Christmas.
[to a wench] You. My room. 10:30 tonight.
[to another wench] You. 10:45… And bring a friend.
plus By Grabthar’s Hammer, by the Suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged.
“Some men are born in the wrong century. I was born on the wrong continent.”
I took my daughter the other night — had the same reaction.
Of course there’s violence against (a) woman, she’s killed FFS.
(ps: I thought Micaëla stole the show. There are two casts running on alternate nights)
I took grand daughter a doctor in specialist training to La Traviata and I thought i had better warn her so I told her Violetta dies of consumption
“Did she drink too much ?” She asked
Now explain Rigoletta , there is an abused girl , Brittany Higgins of Mantua . Gilda ends up dead too . Apologies Gilda wore knckers.
Old School Conservative:
I worked as a tech on a lot, over the years.
“Opera: When someone is stabbed, before they die, the sing; a LOT”
Bruce in WA,
it is interesting your linking to Quigley Down Under.
I wonder how long it will be before scenes from the film will be used as Historical records re The Frontier Wars. Also be good mojo for The Voice.
Bruce also played a good role in Sin City and Moonlighting …when he had hair.
I loved Diehard, and some of its sequels. It’s an early example of the “no plot, lots of action” genre, of which Forrest Gump is probably the leader of the field. Sylvester Stallone was master, Arnie was a tryhard. Then Cruise reinvented himself, excelling with his reproduction of Groundhog Day, and culminating in the new Top Gun, where they are still searching for the plot.
Willis built his fanbase from Moonlighting, always watchable, entertaining, and enjoying himself, in possibly one of the best ever TV series.
Just so’s you know. 😀
‘Die Hard’ Screenwriter Jeb Stuart: It’s ‘Definitely a Christmas Movie’ (10 Dec)