Why 'Die Hard' Still Holds Up 30 Years Later
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Why 'Die Hard' Still Holds Up 30 Years Later

Stolen machine guns and C4 not only keep the action going, but also the viewer engaged.

Why 'Die Hard' Still Holds Up 30 Years Later

This week I got to re-watch the action movie classic Die Hard in one of my film classes. And although I have discussed it before, (see my Christmas movies list from last year) it has been admittedly a few years since I have sat down and watched the whole thing and not caught the end of it on cable, serious I have seen Al shoot Karl about 7 times in the past 3 years without having seen anything else in the film.

And although Jake Peralta mentions Die Hard numerous times throughout one of my favorite TV comedies Brooklyn Nine Nine, I didn't realize just how many iconic moments were in the first film alone. I mean no wonder it's called Die Hard, since John McClane jumps off of a roof of a skyscraper with only a fire hose and also climbs down a shaft using only the strap of his machine gun to hold him up all within a little over two hours of runtime.

This was also the first time I had seen the film in its entirety since Alan Rickman who plays the head terrorist Hans Gruber passed away in 2016. And man did I forget how good he is in the film. He's one in a handful of villains that despite his dastardly deeds you can't help but wait eagerly until he is back on the screen. In fact, he's such a great villain that his watch-influenced-death had to be prolonged via slow-mo, which for '80s action movie villains is an honorable death.

John McClane on the other end of the good vs evil spectrum is almost like a video game character in how he operates during his impromptu mission to stop the terrorists that have taken over the Nakatomi Plaza. Unlike a lot of other films in the action movie medium, he has to be conscious with how he uses his weapons as he has to do a lot of damage with the handgun he has on him as an off-duty cop and the other weapons he takes from the terrorists.

Although Die Hard is absolutely a hyper-violent film, the first film carefully calculates and shows the viewer why and how it's so violent in that we follow McClane as he gets more weapons, including some C4 which he sets off in order to show the cops below the gravity of the situation.

Because of the back to back to back situations our hero finds himself in, Die Hard is able to keep the viewer engaged without having to resort to big-budget special effects (except for the C4 explosion mentioned above of course) which keeps viewers engaged as they watch an everyday cop take down the terrorists that are holding his estranged wife hostage.

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