Director John McTiernan
Written by Jeb Stuart, Steven E deSouza
Novel by Roderick Thorp
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Alexander Godunov, Paul Gleeson, De’voreaux White, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, James Shigeta, Clarence Gilyard Jr, Al Leong, Robert Davi, Grand L Bush.
Its Christmas Eve and New York police detective John McClane (Willis) heads to LA to reunite with his estranged wife Holly (Bedelia) at her companies Christmas party. The only problem is a group of high tech robbers led by the charismatic Hans Grueber are holding the party goers hostage in order to rob the company of $640m in bearer bonds. McClane has managed to hide, and is the only thing stopping them from getting the money.
Quintessential 80’s action is only strengthened by the cast. Both Willis and Rickman were relative unknowns when they were cast as the hero and villain. What made Willis such a great lead was his ‘everyman’ look. This was the era of the Arnie/Stallon/VanDamme (who a couple of these are mentioned) action hero where the lead has muscles on top of muscles. Willis was against the norm, and did a great job. He has recently retired from acting, so it was great to watch this while he was in his prime.
This was also Rickman’s first Hollywood film, having been a bit player in British television before this. One of his best moments is when the English actor, whose German character, is putting on an American accent. Bravo sir, we miss you!
There has always been the argument that this is a Christmas movie or not? I’m in the side that says that this is a Christmas movie – aside from the obvious – that it is Christmas. There is also the fact that the lead female’s name is HOLLY, which is a clear reference to Christmas.
There is also some instrumental Christmas Carols spliced within the score. The remainder of the score from the late Michael Kamen is also very well done.
The action is a lot of fun, with the obvious suspension of disbelief of what characters are able to endure.
There are some scenes that are a product of its time, with McClane able to have a gun on a plane, and smoking in an airport – however the rest of the film holds up very well, even over thirty years later.
Solid Christmas movie!