Christmas Classics: ‘Die Hard’

Review

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Christmas Classics: ‘Die Hard’

'Die Hard' (1988) thrills audiences with it's action and Christmas charm.

'Die Hard' (1988) thrills audiences with it's action and Christmas charm.

Photo By Graphic by Mae Bruce

'Die Hard' (1988) thrills audiences with it's action and Christmas charm.

Photo By Graphic by Mae Bruce

Photo By Graphic by Mae Bruce

'Die Hard' (1988) thrills audiences with it's action and Christmas charm.

By Hayden Swanson, Sports Editor

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When you think of classic Christmas movies, it’s unlikely that Die Hard comes to mind. With the entirety of the movie taking place on Christmas Eve, however, it could be considered one. Starring Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, and James Shigeta, this movie is highly regarded as one of the greatest action movies ever made.

Originally released in 1988, the film’s plot is at its core a high stake rescue scenario. John McClane (played by Willis), a New York police officer, travels to California to be with his wife and children for the holiday season. He meets with his wife Holly, after an extended time apart, at her workplace, the Nakatomi building. Unfortunately, while they are both present at a holiday party, the building is attacked by a group of German terrorists. Naturally, John and Holly are in the building with around 30 other people attending an office Christmas party, and everyone but John is taken hostage. Unbeknownst to his foes, he navigates his way to the top of the building, releases a distress signal, and plans to rescue the hostages and stop the terrorists. Each and every encounter John has with one of the twelve terrorists is filled with an immense amount of suspense and thrill, and the intensity of these scenes makes them really enjoyable to watch. Since the movie sets up all the characters so well in its beginning sequences, you end up caring for all of the protagonists’ well being. One of the film’s strongest points is its attention to continuity, and minor details brought up earlier in the movie gain in significance much later.

With fewer main characters to handle, more time is spent developing each and every one of their stories. The casting was perfect, and each actor did an excellent job portraying their characters. Willis plays an excellent lead and was born to play an action hero, with his memorable quips and stunts. While the concept for his character has grown a little dated and cliche, being the big muscular action hero with constant one liners and stunts, his performance is memorable. The movie’s main antagonist, Hans Gruber, played by the late Rickman, was designed to be as intimidating as possible. You know your villain is good when Ode to Joy is his theme song and it’s incredibly threatening. All of his interactions with John are tense and a delight to watch on screen. While Willis and Rickman are the two main characters, every other actor does an amazing job with their performance and are successfully able to make their characters unique and hard to forget.

Despite the claims that Die Hard is far from a Christmas movie, there’s plenty of evidence that suggests otherwise. For example, the setting is a key component in determining this movie’s genre, and it is set on Christmas Eve with holiday decorations everywhere. The abundance of Christmas music, most notably in the closing credits, also suggests that this film in fact is supposed to be a Christmas movie.

While Die Hard may not be the most iconic Christmas movie, it’s one of the more unique ones. If you’re looking for a less cheerful holiday movie, this one’s a great pick. It’s definitely still watchable today, and afterwards, you’ll never even think about going up in a tall building ever again.