Is Die Hard the ultimate Christmas movie?
Forget It’s A Wonderful Life, which only sees its denouement set at Christmas time, Die Hard is the movie that really gets the Christmas spirit going. What’s not to like about this festive treat?
It has bucket loads of action; a character with a heart; a villain in the best pantomime tradition and Dean Martin singing at the end as paper falls in a snowy fashion from the Nakatomi Plaza.
Bruce Willis has rarely been better than in this movie. Here he brings his television persona into a more adult content with relish, and he appears to be enjoying himself.
“Now I have a machine-gun, ho-ho-ho.” Is one of the best lines in any movie, and deserves to be up there with ‘may the force be with you’ or ‘here’s lookin at you kid’. The line is delivered with deftness and evil by the brilliant Alan Rickman, who nearly steals Willis’ thunder. The scene between the two of them on the roof is so tense that repeat viewings still make the heart flutter.
Yes there are other Christmas movies, Die Hard 2 for example; but they just don’t compete with a film that brings you everything that most of today’s blockbusters do not. It gives you a reason to feel for the main character, a simple plot that is never convoluted, a villain that you feel scared of and an ending that is satisfying. Unlike its sequels, which have not aged well, this is an Eighties movie that can be enjoyed time and again.
I can now admit, being a (cough) forty-something (cough), that I went to see this perfect action movie while under age. It was the Spring of 1989, and looking older than my sixteen years, I managed to get myself and a good friend into the cinema one cold night. The movie was being played in screen three of the ABC cinema at Tunbridge Wells, a beautiful cinema sadly no longer standing. Like Nakatomi Plaza, it was destroyed by greed and villainy. The last Bruce Willis film to play there was also one of his best performances, The Sixth Sense, which contains that classic line ‘I see dead people’.
Die Hard has proven to be a classic, and long may it remain so. It gave us Bruce Willis as a new John Wayne type, something that he struggled to remove himself from and his ease at producing yet another Die Hard movie would suggest that not many good parts are coming his way. Yet he should be proud of this film, it has heart, soul and action. It is a blockbuster in the truest sense, the Towering Inferno action movie. Long may it reign.