Die Hard (1988)


There are two types of people in this world, those who believe Die Hard to be a Christmas film, and those who are wrong.

On Christmas Eve, New York City Police Detective Lieutenant John McClane arrives in Los Angeles to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly. McClane is driven by Argyle to the Nakatomi Plaza building for a company Christmas party held by Holly’s boss, Joseph Takagi. While McClane changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of Hans Gruber and his heavily armed group: Karl, Franco, Tony, Theo, Alexander, Marco, Kristoff, Eddie, Uli, Heinrich, Fritz, and James. The group seize the tower and secure those inside as hostages except for McClane who manages to slip away.

Gruber singles out Takagi claiming he intends to teach the Corporation a lesson for its greed. Away from the hostages, Gruber and Theo interrogate Takagi for the code to the building’s vault. Gruber admits that they are using terrorism as a distraction while they attempt to steal $640 million in bearer bonds in the vault. Takagi refuses to cooperate and is executed by Gruber as McClane secretly observes. McClane accidentally gives himself away and is pursued by Tony. McClane manages to kill Tony, taking his weapon and radio, which he uses to contact the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). Sgt. Al Powell is sent to investigate, while Gruber sends Heinrich and Marco to stop McClane. Powell, having been greeted by Eddie, who poses as a receptionist, finds nothing strange about the building. He attempts to leave, but McClane drops Marco’s corpse onto Powell’s car, alerting the LAPD who surround the building. McClane takes Heinrich’s bag containing C-4 explosives and detonators.

A SWAT team assaults the building, but the attack is anticipated, and James and Alexander massacre the SWAT team with rockets. McClane uses the C-4 to blow up the building floor occupied by James and Alexander, killing them both. Holly’s coworker Harry Ellis attempts to mediate between Hans and McClane for the return of the detonators. McClane refuses to return them, causing Gruber to execute Ellis. While checking the explosives attached to the roof, Gruber is confronted by McClane. Gruber passes himself off as an escaped hostage and is given a gun by McClane. Gruber attempts to shoot McClane but finds that the gun is unloaded. Before McClane can act, Karl, Franco, and Fritz arrive. McClane kills Fritz and Franco, but is forced to flee, leaving the detonators behind.

Two FBI agents (both named Johnson) arrive and take command of the police situation outside, ordering the building’s power be shut off. The power loss disables the vault’s final lock as Gruber had anticipated. Gruber demands that a helicopter arrive on the roof for transport—his intention is to detonate the explosives on the roof to kill the hostages and to fake the deaths of his men and himself. Karl finds McClane and the two fight. Meanwhile Gruber views a news report by Richard Thornburg that features McClane’s children, causing Gruber to realize that McClane is Holly’s husband. The terrorists order the hostages to the roof, but Gruber takes Holly with him to use against McClane. McClane seemingly kills Karl and heads to the roof. He kills Uli and sends the hostages back downstairs before the explosives detonate, destroying the roof and the FBI helicopter.

Theo goes to the parking garage to retrieve their getaway vehicle but is knocked unconscious by Argyle who had been trapped in the garage during the siege. A weary McClane finds Holly with Gruber and his remaining men and knocks an unsuspecting Kristoff unconscious. McClane surrenders his machine gun to spare Holly, but then distracts Gruber and Eddie by laughing, allowing him to grab a concealed handgun (holding his last two bullets) taped to his back. McClane shoots Gruber in the shoulder and then kills Eddie with his final shot. Gruber is sent crashing through a window. Gruber prevents himself from falling by holding onto Holly by her watch. McClane manages to release the watch and Gruber falls to his death on the street below.

McClane and Holly are escorted from the building and meet Powell in person. Karl emerges from the building disguised as a hostage and attempts to shoot McClane, but he is gunned down by Powell. Argyle crashes through the parking garage door in the limo. Thornburg arrives and attempts to interview McClane, but is punched by Holly. McClane and Holly are driven away by Argyle.

(Yoinked from Wikipedia, got to love those fully thought out descriptions)

Die Hard doesn’t need me to talk about it, frankly everyone should have seen it.
So instead of insulting you by trying to talk you into watching it, I’m just going to give you this awesome Marian Call song, which is a really appropriate for this moment,

Wait, you don’t think that’s enough?
Hmm… Okay, so as is common knowledge Die Hard has spawned it’s only little series, with Die Hard 2 being quite similar in general plot to the first, set at Christmas, McClane in the wrong place looking for Holly, cops, FBI, betrayal and explosions.
Making Die Hard: Die Harder, just as Christmassy a film as anything else.
Die Hard with a Vengeance (the third film) breaks from tradition, moving away from the festive season but the presence of Samuel L Jackson creates some awesome interaction between his character and McClane.
The fourth film (Live Free or Die Hard) takes place so many years later that McClane’s children have grown up, with his daughter now the beautiful Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim spoiled me on this girl), though we lost Jackson in favour for Justin Long, we now have McClane more a man out of time, a physical cop in a digital age, but despite this it all felt fun with McClane even taking out a helicopter by launching a car into it.
Finally we have A Good Day to Die Hard, with the focus being on McClane’s son, for some reason in Russia taking on the underworld and saving the world…

As with any series, the further you get from the first film the less connected they feel and though (as seems to be usual in these situations) this feeling really sets in with the third film, I still have a weakness for Live Free or Die Hard, with only the fifth film really being so detracted from the original that I wouldn’t include it in a Die Hard marathon.
Though I am sure there are some who draw the line with Die Hard with a Vengeance, I do not draw that distinction myself.

So you got to ask yourself one question, just how hard to you want to die hard, punk?


I am Silent, part time programmer and full time narcissist, gamer, geek and man on a mission.

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