Die Hard (1988) Film Review | Advent Film Calendar Day 16

‘You got any Christmas music?’

‘This is Christmas music!’; And thus begins one of the greatest action films of all time. We all know the story; New York City cop John McClane, played by a young and hunky Bruce Willis, gets trapped in Nakatomi Tower in L.A when it’s attacked by terrorists led by the iconic Hans Gruber. Outmanned and outgunned, McClane has to use all of his wits and police training to save the day and make it out alive. Oh and it’s totally Christmas. 

Die Hard is a film that deconstructs the action genre while at the same time reinventing it. John McClane isn’t a Schwarznegger-esque action hero, he’s just a regular cop, caught up in a situation he is wholly unprepared for. As the film goes on, McClane gets more and more injured and by the end of the film he is just done with all this bullshit. He’s a very relatable character because of this; when the cops arrive and start making the situation worse, we feel his frustration, we celebrate with him as he one-ups the terrorists. He is really easy to root for throughout the film and it’s one of the things that makes Die Hard so fun to watch. In fact, all of the characters are great to watch and they all have enough varied personalities and development that they become interesting.

Die Hard has a reputation as a dumb 80’s action film and it kind of is. What sets it apart from other action films though is that Die Hard is fully self-aware about this fact. The jokes, corny catchphrases and ridiculous action is all delivered in a ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ kind of way and it’s so good because of that. Die Hard also knows that it’s a Christmas film, with multiple moments in the score including sleigh bells and motifs from famous Christmas songs. The film takes place on Christmas eve after all. 

Die Hard isn’t just one of my favourite Christmas films, it’s one of my favourite films there’s really not much to say about it except that it’s an incredible action packed and hilarious thrill ride, perfect for Christmas or any time of the year!

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