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Die Hard Film Review

The 1988 action flick Die Hard stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, and Reginald VelJohnson. The producers are Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver. It is directed by John McTiernan.

The story centers around John McClane, a New York City cop who has come to Los Angeles to spend the holidays with his estranged wife and children. He is invited to his wife’s holiday office party. But as he is washing up and waiting for the end of the party, 12 terrorists led by Hans Gruber take over the 40-story building. McClane is able to elude capture and escape to one of the unfinished floors near the roof. He pulls the fire alarm to get the police there, but the terrorists cancel the alarm. Gruber sends one of them to the floor where the alarm was tripped. McClane sneaks up beside him and a fight ensues. Finally, they both fall down a flight of stairs. The terrorist is killed by the fall and the New York cop confiscates his machine gun and his two-way radio.

The corpse of the terrorist is sent down on an elevator to Hans where he finds a message written in blood on his chest. It reads “Now I have a machine gun! Ho! Ho! Ho!” McClane then uses the radio to call the cops. By chance, Sergeant Al Powell is sent over to the building to investigate. Finding nothing suspicious, he gets in his car to leave. John McClane sees this and drops the corpse of another terrorist on Powell’s windshield, startling him. He floors it and the other terrorists think he is on to them and open fire. Powell calls for backup and, immediately, the whole building is surrounded. After a vain attempt by the police to enter the building, the FBI arrives and tries to outsmart the terrorists, but to no avail. McClane now realizes that it’s up to him to save the hostages and defeat the terrorists all by himself.

The relationship between John McClane and Al Powell adds some sentimentality to the storyline which, I believe, strengthens the movie as a whole. For most of the movie, McClane and Powell communicate only through two-way radios. Powell motivates McClane when he begins to have doubts about whether he’ll survive. One particular scene happens near the end of the film when McClane asks Powell to find his wife and tell her that he’s sorry for being such a jerk. Powell responds by saying, “You can tell her that yourself. You just watch your ass, and you’ll make it out of there.” This is, I think, the strongest scene in the whole movie.

Also, there is a scene when Sergeant Al Powell confesses to John McClane why he has taken a desk job over being out on the street. He took the desk job because of an accident he had. He accidentally shot a kid. The kid had a toy gun that looked real enough from where he was standing. McClane apologizes, but Powell says, “How could you know?” McClane replies by saying that he feels terrible anyway.

 

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