Five reasons to thank Die Hard
How Bruce Willis saved Christmas
The latest and loudest instalment of the Die Hard series, A Good Day to Die Hard, is released on Blu-ray and across most paid-for film services like Netflix and LoveFilm. Now, it may not have won many (any?) critics over but it has given a gentle reminder of just how good the original films were. So, to celebrate, here are the five things that Die Hard has given us…
1 A great goodie and a great baddie
In 1988 when Die Hard first appeared, it was a fresh and feisty take on cops and robbers – cowboy and Indians in the towering inferno – with Alan Rickman’s Hans Gruber leading destruction. He’s brutal, he’s funny, he’s exasperated by his bad henchmen and he’s got a great German accent. His brother (Jeremy Irons) turns up in the third film and is equally great. They’re both up against John McClane (Bruce Willis), who’s about to launch a franchise.
2 Almost all 1990s action movies
From Cliffhanger to Under Siege to Speed – the 1990s enjoyed action laden summers where off-duty heroes got caught up in thwarting terrorism single-handedly. And it’s still going – see Gerard Butler’s latest film – Olympus has Fallen – Die Hard… in the White House!
3 Christmas films… as they should be
Snow, Santa Claus, spending time with family, taking time off. And that’s just the first two Die Hard films. Die Hard is the perfect antidote to the seasonal repeats of Elf and Home Alone. Then there’s probably the darkest Christmas joke ever: Hans Gruber finds dead colleague with Christmas hat and reads what’s written on the corpse’s chest (in blood): “Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.”
4 Yippee-ki-yay m**********r!!
John McClane steals the regular final line used in episodes of a favourite childhood show – the cowboy show Roy Rogers – and, well, makes it a little more adult. It’s the birth of one of Hollywood’s most iconic catchphrases, it works whether you get the reference or not because it’s just brilliant to say – particularly if you are about to finish off the baddie.
5 Bruce Willis
History forgets that before Die Hard, Willis was a well-established TV actor who’d made a few films of no great note. Action heroes swarmed the 1980s – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stalone and Harrison Ford – so Willis’ casting was a shock. But he brought a vulnerability and sardonic humour to the Action Hero, which launched him into superstardom. Between Die Hard films, he’s done Pulp Fiction, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense, Look Who’s Talking and adverts for Sky Broadband. OK – it’s not all been an easy ride but those hits are worth every second of those misses.
Edward Craig wishes he was as cool as John McClane and is editor of Haymarket Creative Solutions
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A Good Day To Die Hard is out on DigitalHD™, Blu-ray and DVD now from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment