BOW DOWN AND “DIE HARD”!
Time to celebrate the “Citizen Kane” of action movies – and the greatest Christmas movie of all!
You all know the plot: New York City Detective John McClane arrives in Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunately, a group of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, is holding his wife and her co-workers hostage in the Nakatomi Plaza building. Only John McClane can save them….check out the holiday trailer:
As you can see from the poster, the best Christmas movie of all time was released in July!
That said, all of the action takes place on Christmas Eve – so it’s a holiday film. Here are three reasons this is the greatest holiday movie ever…
Reason #1: It Turned Bruce Willis Into An Action Hero – and Alan Rickman Into A Villain!
In the film, when Deputy Chief Robinson says that John McClane “could be a fucking bartender for all we know”, it’s an inside joke, because Willis started in Hollywood as a bartender!
Bruce Willis was in the TV series “Moonlighting”, but this was the film that made him a movie star…he is perfect as the rogue Cop who is fighting against an army of bad guys…including Hans Gruber, played to perfection by the late Alan Rickman.
Rickman’s villain is funny, droll and very evil – sadly, this great Actor died in 2016 – here is a look at his career:
The script for “Die Hard” allowed Rickman plenty of room to give a nuanced, subtle performance as a truly “bad guy” – which is a great balance to Willis and his “bad ass cop” – the film captures their “battle of wits” very well, as when Gruber discovers that McClane is on his walkie talkie channel, so they have a memorable chat…
Hans Gruber: [on the radio] Mr. Mystery Guest? Are you still there?
John McClane: Yeah, I’m still here. Unless you wanna open the front door for me.
Hans Gruber: Uh, no, I’m afraid not. But, you have me at a loss. You know my name but who are you? Just another American who saw too many movies as a child? Another orphan of a bankrupt culture who thinks he’s John Wayne? Rambo? Marshal Dillon?
John McClane: Was always kinda partial to Roy Rogers actually. I really like those sequined shirts.
Hans Gruber: Do you really think you have a chance against us, Mr. Cowboy?
John McClane: Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.
Reason #2: Yippee-Ki-Yay!
The second reason that “Die Hard” is so classic is the dialogue! Throughout the entire film, Willis and Rickman have a series of conversations that are funny and pointed.
The line “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!” became an immediately catchphrase – an iconic line that shows just how “bad ass” McClane is – the line has been named one of the greatest in movie history…
In fact, the film is full of great character moments, funny one liners, and great twists on action-film convention….like these guys:
MEET FBI SPECIAL AGENTS JOHNSON AND JOHNSON!
“This is agent Johnson. No, the other one.”
Two Agents. One last name. One black, one white. These two FBI agents show up at the hostage scene and immediately alienate everyone on site. They are gruff, profane, and hilarious….and as it turns out one Johnson doesn’t really even like the other Johnson!
After annoying everyone on the ground, they jump in a helicopter and Robert Davi’s Johnson says, “Just like fuckin’ Saigon, eh, Slick?”
Grand L. Bush’s Johnson replies, “I was in junior high, dick-head.”
Being in the helicopter leads to the third reason this is such a great holiday classic!
Reason #3: The Best Character In The Movie: Nakitomi Plaza!
Yes, this office tower in West Los Angeles is so vital to the film that it’s even in the movie’s poster! That’s because Naikitomi Plaza is more than a movie location, it’s a huge part of the film’s plot!
The role of the building begins to take shape as Willis crawls through the air ducts…he uses the building itself as a weapon against the bad guys, who then do the same.
At one point, Hans Gruber knows where McClane is hiding, and sees that he has no shoes on…so he comes up with a way to use the building against him…
Hans Gruber: “Karl, schieß dem Fenster!”
Karl gives Hans a puzzled look. Exasperated, Hans repeats it in English: “Shoot the glass!”
That leads to a very bloody escape for Willis, as his feet are torn to shreds on the broken glass.
As IMDB points out:
“In the scenes where John McClane runs through glass shards in his ‘bare’ feet after glass partitions in the computer room are shattered, Willis is in fact wearing special ‘rubber’ shoes designed to look like his own bare feet. Look closely as his feet appear quite unnaturally large in some of these crucial ‘barefoot’ scenes.”
From then on, Willis must use every part of the building in his fight back against Gruber’s gang.
Thus begins the utter destruction of Nakitomi Plaza from inside and out!
This iconic office building is actually a 20th Century Fox office tower in West Los Angeles – it’s visible for miles and is now called “Nakatomi Plaza” by everyone!
In the film, McClane literally “blows out” an entire floor of the building by dropping a chair down an elevator shaft, wrapped in explosives!
When the bomb in the elevator shaft blows out the side of the building, the effect is amazing. Here is how that effect was accomplished:
The filmmakers collected every camera flashbulb of a particularly powerful type in the Los Angeles area and wired them to the outside of the actual building to simulate the flash, and then superimposed a shot of an actual explosive blowing a hole in the wall of an all-black miniature of the building!
Nakitomi Plaza has become a tourist spot in LA – you can even buy special replicas of the building as well!
There are SO many reasons that “Die Hard” is a classic action film – any time of year, but those are my three reasons it rules the holiday movie season!
OK Buddy, there are a lot of great holiday classics.
Here are nine more holiday movies I love as well:
That said, “Die Hard” rules!