#121: Die Hard (1988)

When and how did I watch this?

July 3rd, 2016, on Amazon Instant Video.

Had I seen this film already?

Amazingly, no.  On par with the likes of Jaws and Terminator, this action film escaped my attention all these years.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

I had already seen Die Hard 2 and was fully aware of Willis’ tough guy antics going into it.  What I didn’t understand was McClain’s motivation, which was made clear early on.

What do I know about it now?

This one is the archetype that all subsequent cops-gone-commando films try to emulate and fall short. While somewhat fearless and almost impervious to a god-like degree, this is a smart thrill ride from start to finish.  The legendary Alan Rickman in the also-legendary role of Hans Gruber is haunting; his prowess matches McClain’s, making for a chess match in the midst of flying glass, explosions, and a lot of ridiculous tough guy lines.  The profanity and violence might rattle some Christian viewers.

What are some themes in the film?

Terrorism, greed, trust, love, determination.  This isn’t really a profound film at all, but there you have it.

Did this affect me personally?

I’m not sure if it affected me, but it was certainly memorable.  I felt McClain’s pain as he agonizingly traversed over the glass, and there was nothing more satisfying than watching Hans Gruber fall in slow motion.

Why is this ranked #121?

Because it’s Die Hard.  It’s a fan favorite for sure.

Did my wife watch/like it?

She thought it would be “gross”, but was instead engrossed.  See what I did there?

Would I watch it again?

Roller coasters can get expensive. This is a fair substitute.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

Most of my friends have seen this, most likely.  It’s worth it for the action junkie looking for historical context.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

If Jaws is allowed on here, then yes, Die Hard deserves a place.  The cinematography and action sequences are brilliant, even breathtaking. I can’t say the story is realistic on any level, nor is there anyone goofier than Gruber’s kamikaze henchmen, but this can be overlooked in this legendary action film.

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