On The Edge Films

Cinematic Thoughts for Cinematic Minds

Eye on Xmas: Die Hard

1988/USA

Director: John McTiernan

Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, Bonnie Bedelia

Some people would contest the notion that Die Hard is a Christmas film but a lot of people, myself very much included, wouldn’t.
Sleigh bells in the musical score and a dead body in a Santa hat with “Now I have a machine gun ho ho ho” written on its shirt are things that constitute a Christmas film in my book. A damn good Christmas film. You can keep your elves, snowmen and cheesy romances – Bruce Willis racking up a body count faster than jolly ol’ Saint Nick can fill stockings, all the while delivering classic one-liners is all the festivity and cheer this writer needs.

New York Detective John McClane (Willis) travels to Los Angeles to make up with his estranged wife Holly (Bedelia) at her place of employment’s Christmas party. But Hans Gruber (the beautifully bearded Rickman) is being a VERY naughty boy and taking everybody hostage, attempting to steal the company’s money while splattering the odd hostage brain here and there! No prezzies under the tree for him then. What follows is a gripping action thriller that follows one man against the odds on his quest to save the day with no-one but an LAPD sergeant to help him through his ordeal over a walkie-talkie.

Bruce Willis instantly makes the role of John McClane his and his alone in this blockbuster classic and first of the Die Hard franchise and Alan Rickman is superb in one of his most well-known roles as the malevolent Gruber. The festive mood is maintained even through all the violence with references to it appearing sporadically and leaves us feeling very Christmassy as Vaughn Monroe sings Let It Snow over the end credits for us. These qualities have cemented it as a staple on our TV screens annually during the festive period and secured its place as a masterpiece of its genre – one still considered a benchmark of the action/thriller to this day. If you haven’t yet seen it, I truly pity the life you have lead up until this point.

Having said this, I suppose it is more of a ‘guy’s’ film what with all the guns, explosions and testosterone-fuelled fight scenes and not a lot to appeal to people of the female persuasion but if you want action, excitement and classic tongue-in-cheek humour that never fails to entertain then Die Hard is without question the one for you this Christmas.

YIPPEE KI-YA- uh, I mean, HO HO HO!

4/4

-Saul Nix

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