Die Hard ★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

The touching story of a cop who learns to get over his fear of shooting innocent children.

Yeah... that whole thing, was a bit... oof.

John McLane acts as a "fly in the ointment" to the gang of European terrorists who take over Nakatomi Tower. We get some generally quite nice scenes near the start of the film endearing us a bit to McLane (Bruce Willis), and really glueing us into his POV as a character, despite some cutaways to the McLane household, and the party upstairs before he's there.

Willis plays McLane very much as a grumpy everyman, contantly grumbling and talking to himself - it's somewhat believable due to his isolation, but can come across a little stagey at points. The bad guys are a gang of mostly homogenous nerd/psychopath looking weirdos, who really, I feel, don't make a terribly big impression as villains. Of course, Rickman is fun and has a commanding presence, yet, even he, as a character, doesn't really leave much of an impression upon me. Like, yeah, he's just a thief with a weird complicated plan. Is there really anything interesting about him?

What really saves this film for me is just the moment-to-moment aesthetics of it, and the overall rhythm of the film. There are some nice tense scenes throughout the film - though, not for me, any truly stand-out pure action set-pieces. And the whole film moves at a fair pace, despite being actually quite long (2 hours, 10 minutes, about).

I feel like my overall take on the film is that it has a well-suited title. What the hell does Die Hard mean? It's one of those titles that kinda sounds like a pun... like, you could imagine it being the name of a film about an unkillable stalker (who is a "die hard" fan of the person they're stalking). But in the context of this film? I dunno, he just doesn't die easy, does he? What is this movie really about? Not much, and to me it feels like an unfortunately shallow film. I can understand how you can like it as a sort of "pure" expression as a sort of action/dramatic conceit (the "man against the world" set-up has been imitated a million times by now).

Just another of those films where I don't feel the magic. It's OK, it's nicely made, but I feel like there are many many better action films, from before and from after.


Part of the Letterboxd Season Challenge 2019-2020, specifically Week 1, the Past Hosts Week