64. Die Hard (1988)

Date First Watched: Long time ago
Date Last Watched: 6/04/2011
# Viewings: 5+

Now this is an action film. I generally cite this as my favourite pure action film [and Christmas film] and there really is nothing else like it. Superficially, it’s a generic action thriller, but it’s so meticulously well-crafted that it stands way above the rest. I normally don’t like action films because they are boring. Why? Because they have no tension, no build-up and think that what they need is 99% explosions. Die Hard works so fecking well because of the scenes in between the action. Action is meaningless without the build-up.

But the action is done well here too. The fight scenes are well shot and the editing is great. Although I feel a couple of characters feel like a bit of an afterthought – Holly and the limo driver dude – they are still likable enough to fit into the world of the film without a huge distraction. Alan Rickman was born for the role of Hans Gruber and this is probably my favourite Bruce Willis role too. They also play off each other really well.

Even the cheesy action-dialogue doesn’t feel cheesy here. The film has a good sense of humour, but is dark when it needs to be dark. I also love how even the smallest detail ends up being relevant later on. Ok it’s not really subtle foreshadowing, but it isn’t just plonked in there for those reasons as they do all develop the plot or characters at that point in time too. Eg, the watch Ellis gave Holly.

The score is fecking amazing too. I’d never paid much attention to it before, but damn it works well. It’s just a really damn well made film with no real filler or bad points. And the climax scene is so fecking great.

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