Die Hard (1988)

Ⓒ Twentieth Century Fox
Ⓒ Twentieth Century Fox

Director: John McTiernan Cast: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald Veljohnson

New York cop John McClane (Willis) finds himself at the centre of a terrorist takeover at the office building where his wife works in LA, on Christmas Eve. McClane is the only one inside the building capable of taking on the bad guys, while outside the local police are totally inept, minus the efforts of officer Al Powell, McClane’s man on the ground. Explosions, fights, and lots of climbing around in lift shafts ensue.

The second in my Christmas Crackers series, Die Hard is (tragically) not considered by many to actually be a Christmas film. But, it takes place at Christmas, has a Christmas soundtrack, features plenty of tinsel and Christmas lights, plus Santa hats (look out for the terrorist in the lift…)- which all add up to festive fun in my book. Die Hard is probably up there with my favourite Christmas films, because it makes a change from cringey Christmas cheer, and adds a bit of action to an otherwise sickly-sweet genre of film. It’s great fun, with all the elements you’d want in an action movie, except with the added bonus of seasonal festivities. There a funny moments, Alan Rickman plays an excellent baddie (of course), and for those who still aren’t convinced that it’s a film for Christmas, it has the classic storyline of forgiveness and reconciliation that we all like at this time of year.

I know that a lot of people find Bruce Willis annoying, but this is easily his most iconic film and he fits the role of action hero perfectly. He brings a bit of humour to the part, and I like that he’s not super sleek and polished- he is amusingly clumsy at times. The beginning of the film is also effective in building tension, for example when McClane first enters the building: by this point we know that there’s going to be some kind of drama going down, but we just don’t know when or how it’s going to play out, and the large, echoing entrance hall (with no soundtrack in the background) feels quite tense.

So, Die Hard is absolutely a Christmas film and ideal for those who are tired of predictably happy and twee seasonal movies. It’s probably not really appropriate for young kids, but it works well as a Christmas film for adults.

4 stars

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