Review: Die Hard

Vintage Viewings

Review: Die Hard

Will Campbell, Writer

There are not many Christmas films that truly encapsulate the Christmas spirit as well as I’d like. Many are iconic, sure, but none of them really make me think “Yeah! Christmas!” But there’s one film… One that goes above and beyond, and truly demonstrates the Christmas spirit and is watched every Christmas as part of a tradition in the Campbell family.

And what film might that be, I hear you ask? Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? Home Alone? Santa Claus is Coming to Town? No… there’s only one true Christmas film. “Die Hard.”

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Yes, “Die Hard”, the classic Bruce Willis action film about a cop killing terrorists on Christmas is the penultimate Christmas movie. Directed by John McTiernan, the movie is often remembered for amazing one-liners, lots of explosions, and John McClane, our main character.

The film stars Bruce Willis as John McClane, an off-duty cop who goes to a party at his wife’s workplace. Of course, something terrible happens, and our main character springs into action to save his wife and the rest of the people inside the tower at Nakatomi Plaza.

Photo via under Creative Commons.

Upon release, the movie garnered generally good reception, except for a few rotten reviews, including one by Roger Ebert, in which he rates it at 2/4 stars, and criticizes the stupidity of one of the police characters in the story. Otherwise, most critics found it to be great and, nowadays, it’s considered a holiday classic by many.

The movie does a lot really well. Like many action films, it doubles as a comedy, with McClane often spouting high-quality one-liners, up there with the likes of Indiana Jones and the duo from Lethal Weapon.

The story isn’t innovative, but no action movie, at least from those I remember, have ever had interesting or truly creative stories. Many stick to familiar ground and branch out from there. And I think that’s the best way to go about it. An action flick is meant to be something you can sit down, turn off your brain for, and just watch, with a few chuckles thrown in there for good measure.

The acting is top notch. Bruce Willis comes across as both super awesome, and also hilarious, and his interactions with Sgt. Al Powell, played by Reginald VelJohnson, are some of the highlights of the film. Alan Rickman’s (may he rest in peace) Hans Gruber is also a highlight, his chemistry with Willis making for an excellent and often intimidating villain.

Photo via under Creative Commons.


The cinematography isn’t anything unique. In fact, I’d say it’s one of the weakest parts of the film. But, that’s not bad. It’s nice to have something simple for once, and not something that tries to baffle your mind with confusing and hard to look at shots.

In the end, this film will always be near and dear to my heart, and I hope that everyone who reads this review gives the movie a watch. And remember this: it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls from Nakatomi Plaza!

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