Celebrating its 30 year anniversary this week on Blu-ray and digital from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and director John McTiernan is the iconic and absolutely beloved classic action hero who is just one big “Die Hard.”
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his family, which has moved to the California Coast. Estranged wife Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia) is working for the Nakatomi Corporation and Mr. Takagi (James Shigeta) this sets John’s ever-loving badge on edge. Yes, he is a New York City cop and darned proud of it too. It is the Christmas season so he’s being as gracious as he can at his wife’s party.
What he doesn’t yet know is that a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) are about to make John’s visit a whole lot more interesting. Along with Hans is Karl (Alexander Godunov), Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza) Franco (Bruno Doyon), and computer wizard Theo (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) all of who are not going to let anyone get in their way.
Their will might be strong but John McClane’s is much stronger! He realizes that the party has been raided and hides from the gang hoping limo driver Argyle (De’voreaux White) might have heard the commotion. John comes face to face with one of Hans’ gang and when he can’t get any help from the outside – he creates it getting the attention of off-duty cop Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson).Now it’s a party!
The LAPD is on full alert with Al keeping communication open with John, who he now refers to as ‘Roy’, but it doesn’t stop DP Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (Paul Gleason) from trying to muck up the works. All of the action gets the attention of hungry journalist Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) who immediately takes a crew to Nakatomi Plaza and begins recording everything that happens.
What’s happening is that John McClane isn’t sitting idly by while waiting for the LAPD to figure out its next move. Instead, he goes floor by floor drawing out who these guys are and taking them down one by one if he has to. This isn’t all sittintooto well with Hans, especially when he realizes that John has a bag of goods he needs.
While all of this is happening, Holly is keeping the hostages calm – and a secret! A final showdown means John and Hans are going to finish what was started!
Willis as McClane is smart, funny, witty and in 1988 brought a brand of action hero that turned this role iconic in every way. Of cour,se many of us were already in love with Willis but man did this character seal the deal. I think what made everyone falls for McClane was the average-Joe persona that was relatable. Here is a cop having martial problems with a bit of an ego who just happens to still love his wife and know how to do his job. Both of those things were necessary to draw us all into a building of chaos. Now, what makes this even cooler is that John McClane, whether intentional or not, became a Christmas staple in many households (including mine). There was no turkey without McClane in Nakatomi Plaza and here it is all these years later and still happening.
Rickman as Hans is absolutely breathtaking to watch. He is the ultimate criminal but damn is he cool as a cucumber (even when he’s not) and looks good in a suit. The scene between Hans and McClane on the rooftop is perfection for both of these actors but I give Rickman one up for whipping out his ‘American’ accent with no struggle at all. This was probably my first introduction to Rickman and I enjoyed his performance so much that I went looking for other things he had done and followed him ever since. Rickman went toe to toe with Willis and wasn’t going to fall without a fight.
Bedelia as Holly knows her husband can be difficult but when she needed him to be ‘himself’ the most McClane comes through with flying colors. Her amusement on her face when realizing that John was upsetting the terrorists is classic! VelJohnson as Sgt. Powell is McClane’s link to the outside world and that isn’t always a good thing. VelJohnson adds his humor, honesty and concern on his sleeve for a man he doesn’t know yet feels a connection too. It’s the beginning of an awesome buddy situation that will come to play again later.
The a-hole group is as follows beginning with Atherton as Thornburg. I mean lets just say it out right now – this guy is becomes the poster dude for the reason people don’t like reporters. We all get satisfaction at the hands of Bedelia so there’s that! Gleason as Robinson is just a douche, let’s get that right! There is always one and Gleason’s character is absolutely it. Bochner as Ellis is another douche but his pearly whites and narcissism doesn’t help him in the slightest.
Terrorist shout out to Godunov as Karl the tall psycho who clearly has anger issues. Then again it doesn’t help with your pulling a heist and your brother gets capped in the first 10 minutes. He has a grudge and revenge is his new mission and Goduov gives it everything. On a side note – this role shows a crazy side and only two years earlier shows his comedic side in the 1986 film “The Money Pit,” which is one of my all-time favorites. Leong as Uli makes a heist and a candy bar worthy of a giggle.
Davi as Special Agent Johnson is a psycho of another kind looking for any reason to go rogue and Bush as the other Special Agent Johnson loves saying ‘no relation’ when introducing himself and his partner. White as Argyle has his own little show going on in the basement and reminds us all from time to time that he’s there!
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Blu-ray, and digital HD. Their amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have go to www.fox.com.
The Blu-ray special features include “Commentary by Director John McTiernan and Production Designer Jackson DeGovia,” “Scene-Specific Commentary by Special Effects Supervisor Richard Edlund,” “Subtitle Commentary by Various Cast and Crew,” “The News Casts Featurette,” “Interactive Still Gallery,” “Interactive Articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer,” “Full-Length Screenplay,” “Trailers” and “Television Spots.”
Other cast include Andreas Wisniewski as Tony, Joey Plewa as Alexander, Hans Buhringer as Fritz, Matt Landers as Capt. Mitchell, Carmine Zozzora as Rivers, Dustyn Taylor as Ginny, David Ursin as Harvey Johnson, and Mary Ellen Trainor as Gail Wallens.
“Die Hard” is just a fantastic piece of filmmaking that has brought us all iconic lines “Yipee-ki-yay mf”, “oh, these are very bad for you”, “come out to the coast, we’ll get together, have a few laughs” and I will admit to using them all from time to time. The film doesn’t waste any time or any frame which makes every minute of this film just loads of excitement, laughs and cheers for the good guys!
Here is some trivia about the nominations and awards won by “Die Hard”. Nominated for Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Editing by the Academy Awards, also nominated for awards from the DVD Exclusive Awards, and Edgar Allan Poe Awards. There were many awards won from the Awards of the Japanese Academy, Blue Ribbon Awards, BMI Film & TV Awards, Hochi Film Awards, Kinema Junpo Awards, National Film Preservation Board and Motion Picture Sound Editors Award.
It has been 30 years since John McClane came into our lives and he hasn’t been out of our hearts. In 1990 John and Holly are back with another encounter in tight spaces with
“Die Hard 2,” in 1995 “Die Hard with a Vengeance” hit theaters, in 2007 we were told to “Live Free or Die Hiard” and in 2013 it all came together with “A Good Day to Die Hard.” In each of these fil,ms there is a bad guy but one thing doesn’t change — John McClane. We all have Bruce Willis to thank for bringing us all in for the ride of our lives.
Now, “Die Hard” is on Blu-ray, which means that the action is brighter, the chaos is crisper and it’s just frakken fabulous all the way around. Make sure to get your Blu-ray of
“Die Hard” and celebrate other holidays with it as well.
In the end — the thrill is back and his name is McClane!