People kept telling me to watch John McTiernan’s 1988 film. You have to see it, they said, with that deep-rooted urgency as if the continuation of my life depended on watching this movie. And I’d glimpse the cover and skim the IMDb profile, listening to the comments that this was The Best Christmas Movie ever.
I’d watch this trailer and think, Sure. Sure, it is.
Then, I watched it.
The setup is flawless. A bunch of highly trained villainous thieves masquerading as terrorists and Bruce Willis – barefoot, scruffy, with a single gun and a whole lot of questions about why he even came to this party.
Alan Rickman is fantastic in this film, Bruce Willis spouts line after line of golden quotables, and the lovely balance between brutality (men getting shot at point blank range with blood spatter everywhere) and humor (the fact that there’s a character named Argyle who spends the entire film solo-partying in the back of a limousine) is masterful and vastly entertaining.
After watching this movie, I wondered – why aren’t all action movies like this? Not following the same formula per se, but constructed with all of the care and fun given this film. Instead of flashy cuts and impossible stunts, why can’t we make more films that are as grippingly suspenseful, hilarious, and beautifully paced just like this one? A question I pose to action film directors and writers everywhere.
And yes. I agree. Die Hard is the best Christmas movie ever.