Die Hard

This is an archived article from my now-defunct NeonReviews website. Any qualities and/or information provided about the reviewed item must be seen in context of when it was originally published.

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Genre: Action / Thriller
Availability: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
Related links: Official website for the Die Hard Collection (no longer available)
Additional information: First part of the “Die Hard” triology. Die Hard 2 – Die Harder (review), Internet Movie Database (IMDb) entry

This classic from 1988 can still compare to the action movies of today, with Bruce Willis as the unforgettable New York cop John McClane and Alan Rickman as the German terrorist Hans Gruber. Although the German “stereotype” shines through a tad too much, Rickman manages to tone down the aric, violent-prone tough guy image Hollywood has made the majority of the German population. For which I’m eternally grateful. We have enough stereotypes as it is.

We start off with John McClane coming to Los Angeles to visit his wife and kids for Christmas. His wife works in the skyskraper office building of Nakatomi Corporation, a Japanese firm that works with God-knows-what (we’re never told). All employees are present because of a Christmas party held in the 30th floor. Enter Hans Gruber and his gang, who kill the guards, locks down the building and takes everyone at the Christmas party hostage. McClane, however, isn’t caught because he was in his wife’s office at the time the first shots were fired, and manages to escape to an empty part of the building. The police is unaware of the situation, and this is where McClane has to fight back on his own.

It’s amazing to see that a movie this “old” is still able to stand up to movies in the same genre of today. Both cinematic quality and special effects are good. It’s quite a start of this triology (which is about to become a quadrupology, just like the Alien “triology”).

The copy I had in my hands for review was a “Special Edition” DVD. Despite the fact that it included deleted scenes, I chose to watch it without them because I hadn’t seen the movie for quite a while. I took a closer look on the second disc afterwards, and was a bit disappointed when there was very little behind-the-scenes footage and a huge amount of deleted/alternate scenes and footage. No documentaries, just the unused footage. It sure is a good thing that ever since DVD was introduced, the studios have been making sure there’s a behind-the-scenes documentary of some kind for most movies made (at least with a certain budget). To put it short, I was disappointed with the lack of a documentary with this release.

All in all, a movie worth keeping in your DVD collection, and a must if you like action movies.


Story interest: ★★★★★☆ 

Plot development: ★★★★★★ 

Characters: ★★★★★★ 

Credibility: ★★★★★☆ 

Visual effects: ★★★★★☆ 


Overall: ★★★★★☆