Released originally in 1988, Die Hard set the standard for action thrillers. With a budget of $28 million and a worldwide box office return of over $137 million, it was bound to spark sequels. They came out in 1990, 1995 and 2007. The two middle films were not so good. The last one in 2007 was not as good as the original, but a worthy entry in the series.
Bruce Willis plays the tough NYPD officer who arrives in L.A. to visit his estranged wife and kids on Christmas Eve. He ends up at the top of an office building which has been besieged by terrorists who are really clever thieves. Alan Rickman plays the greasy and ruthless Hans Gruber. He is attended by a group of German baddies out to steal $640 million while pretending to be terrorists. The combination of astounding action sequences, big explosions, fights and assassinations set during a robbery make for a fast moving action film that is clever, funny and touching all at the same time. BW ends up barefoot and wearing just pants and a sleeveless undershirt, then finally not even the shirt as he battles bad guys, heavy accents and bloody feet while trying to save his wife and L.A. from a bad beginning to the Christmas holiday.
Now on BluRay, this film finally looks at home just like it did in the theater. It is just as good now as it was then. The disc also contains commentary by the Director John McTiernan and others. A few other features fill out the set. While Die Hard runs a bit long at 132 minutes the pace never waivers and even when the characters stop to chat you know it’s because the stunt folks are busy setting up the next big action sequence.
Beside being shot on the set at 20th Century Fox, the film also utilized Fox’s headquarters building on the lot, which was under construction at the time, for the upper floor scenes where most of the action takes place. The outside of the same building acts as the fictional Nakatomi building which plays a major role in the story.
Bruce W. is still working at big time action films although he turned 57 in March of 2012. He was already over 50 when he appeared in the last Die Hard sequel. Now in preproduction and headed for a 2013 release is A Good Day to Die Hard. Although BW has not yet persuaded Bonnie Bedelia, who played his wife in two of the films, to return, apparently one of the fictional kids in the original story, John McLane’s little son Jack is all grown up and ready to help dad in the fight for good. Aussie actor Jai Courtney who is best known here as Varro in the TV series version of Spartacus plays the new son/sidekick. Patrick Stewart appears signed on to play a bad guy. Obviously this series refuses to Die Easy.
Rated 3.9 out of 4.0 possibilities the next one will be in Imax 3-D in select theaters. I plan to see it.