Die Hard (DVD, 2007, Special Edition; Steelbook)

92 ratings (80 Epinions reviews)
Epinions Product Rating: Excellent
5 stars
68
4 stars
12
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

Action Resurrection

May 30, 2000 (Updated Aug 15, 2003)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good characters, great action, the new standard in shoot-em-ups

Cons:Some minor stereotypes

The Bottom Line: Yippee-kayay, motherbucket.


In a time when the American action genre was become cliched to the point of self-parody (see Commando), John McTiernan's Die Hard tore up the mold and spat in its eye. When others were promoting their super-hero protagonist who could mow down legions of baddies in a single bound, our John McClane struggled against a mere twelve terrorists.

The plot is simple: McClane (Bruce Willis in the role that made him) comes from New York City to visit his wife in Los Angeles for her company's Christmas party. The party, at the corporate Nakatomi building, is then raided by mostly German terrorists, while McClane is upstairs. Being a cop, he decides to do what he can to summon the police, as well as stop the terrorists from blowing small-caliber holes in his body. And there, in a word is the framework of the plot.

What comes as most refreshing about Die Hard is the humanity that it injects into all of its characters. While the Schwartzaneggers of the world were perennially parroting his Terminator performance, Willis was the average Joe. He was scared, he made mistakes, but he did what he felt was necessary. So we cared about him, while not quite sure that he would make it without a Stallone to back him up. It helps, too, that he isn't out to save the day himself and blow away all the baddies with his ever-loaded machine gun - he just wants the cops to come and take care of it so he can get home safely.

The supporting characters, too, are fully defined for the most part. Reginald VelJohnson (of Family Matters fame) gives his architypical fat cop, Al Powell, humanity in the face of his own redemption. Karl (Alan Rickman, wonderfully blasÚ), while being a ruthless, conniving, clear-cut bad guy, also makes perfect sense as a person. Sure, if given the means and the opportunity, a man of loose morals would jump at this job. A few of the lesser players, though, play as stereotypes - not that their role required anything more. There's the controlling deputy police chief, the ambitious jerk reporter, and the ten or so miscellaneous thugs whose ultimate demise are necessary to the progress of the film.

In giving this movie a limited playing field, McTiernan and company also give the action set pieces the vitality they need to shine among a horde of predecessors. McTiernan places McClane in tight quarters as much as possible to play up the immediacy of the danger. Never does McClane get more than thirty feet between him and his foe. This close-quarters gunplay gives a perfect claustrophobic tension to the action, knowing that any stray bullet could end it. At times, McTiernan multiplies the tension, placing his protagonist under the table which the baddie stands on, inside an exposed air duct, or in an elevator shaft.

The gun fights, as they involve fewer people, by nature last longer. Most are one-on-one or two-on-one, so to have McClane blast every terrorist the moment he steps in the room would be ultimately unsatisfying. A few times, he does get a terrorist on the way in, but usually that guy's buddy makes him pay for it. The action involves sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple conflicts that always highlight the danger to both parties. There's one notable exception, but it keeps the pace going and makes sure that the action doesn't slip into redundancy.

It seems ironic now that the movie that went against the action movie grain has spawned a new generation of cliched films. Since Die Hard, enclosed spaces have been all the rage. Everything is now Die Hard on a boat or Die Hard on a plane or Die Hard in a women's prison. So it goes, I suppose, that any bold original is bound to open the floodgates of derivative tripe to pour through eager producers' offices.


Recommend this product? Yes

Read all comments (3)

Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!


Related Deals You Might Like...

Die Hard 3 - With A Vengeance - Bruce Willis - 2 Dvd Special Edition Set -

Die Hard 3 - With A Vengeance - Bruce Willis - 2 Dvd Special Edition Set -

Superhero cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) returns in DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE. Freshly expelled from the NYPD, McClane encounters a number of threate...
eBay

$8.65

FREE Shipping
Die Hard: The Ultimate Collection Trilogy Box Set (special Edition)

Die Hard: The Ultimate Collection Trilogy Box Set (special Edition)

With four films worth of action and explosions, there's a lot of time for John McClane (Bruce Willis) to kick some terrorist butt. This four-film set ...
eBay

$35.64

FREE Shipping
Basic (dvd, 2003, Special Edition)

Basic (dvd, 2003, Special Edition)

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson team up in BASIC, an action-packed military thriller from director John McTiernan (DIE HARD). Jackson plays Sergea...
eBay

$7.99

FREE Shipping
Basic (dvd, 2003, Special Edition)

Basic (dvd, 2003, Special Edition)

John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson team up in BASIC, an action-packed military thriller from director John McTiernan (DIE HARD). Jackson plays Sergea...
eBay
Cliffhanger [dvd] [canadian; Special Edition] - Dvd

Cliffhanger [dvd] [canadian; Special Edition] - Dvd

After a ranger (Sylvester Stallone) fails to rescue his partner's girlfriend from a tragic death in the Rocky Mountains, he leaves the rescue team to ...
eBay

$7.17

+$2.99 shipping
Sony Pictures Home Entertainme Coldv12757 The Gospel Special Edition Dvd Pg

Sony Pictures Home Entertainme Coldv12757 The Gospel Special Edition Dvd Pg

R&B star David Taylor's (Boris Kodjoe) life at the top of the entertainment industry screeches to a halt when a heavy dose of reality hits him hard in...
eBay

$14.10

FREE Shipping
Die Another Day (dvd, 2003, 2-disc Set, Special Edition; Full Frame)

Die Another Day (dvd, 2003, 2-disc Set, Special Edition; Full Frame)

When his top-secret mission is sabotaged, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself captured by the enemy, abandoned by M16 and stripped of his 00-lic...
eBay

$7.75

+$3.00 shipping
MASK (DVD) (SPECIAL EDITION)

MASK (DVD) (SPECIAL EDITION)

MASK (DVD) (SPECIAL EDITION)DRAMA TEEN-AGE ROCKY DENNIS HAS A WILD MOTHER AND A FACE MISSHAPED BY A RARE DISEASE.ERIC STOLTZ LAURA DERN
Sears Marketplace
Die Another Day (dvd, 2003, 2-disc Set, Special Edition; Full Frame) Free Ship

Die Another Day (dvd, 2003, 2-disc Set, Special Edition; Full Frame) Free Ship

When his top-secret mission is sabotaged, James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) finds himself captured by the enemy, abandoned by M16 and stripped of his 00-lic...
eBay

$5.99

FREE Shipping
Cliffhanger-special Edition 043396522329

Cliffhanger-special Edition 043396522329

After a ranger (Sylvester Stallone) fails to rescue his partner's girlfriend from a tragic death in the Rocky Mountains, he leaves the rescue team to ...
eBay

$5.99

+$1.90 shipping