the Thinking Chicks Guide to Movies

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Die Hard (1988)

Reviewed on 2011 December 1

Ah, the holidays. Parties. Fattening food and friends. Cocktails, lights… and John McClane, wasting bad guys in his bare feet.

Wry cowboy cop John McClane (Bruce Willis, who is absolutely perfect in this role) comes to an office Christmas party in the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles, hoping to reconcile with his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia, equally perfect as his competent other half) over the holidays. The late-’80s L.A. excess of the party is a little overwhelming to the jet-lagged New Yorker McClane, who just wants to get out of there and spend a family Christmas Eve with his wife and kids.

Is this too much to ask for? Not at all. Is he going to get it? Nope.

The plaza is overrun by a group of terrorists, thinking that knocking over an office full of half-drunk yuppies should be a piece of cake. They have no way of anticipating John, who is human napalm.

Two things strike me about this movie. One is that fact that even though is was made in 1988, it doesn’t show its age at all. The other is that even though McClane is a tough cop, he very realistically shows fear. It doesn’t cloud his judgment or stop him from being an army of one, but he still is horrified: check out his face when the terrorists make their first kill. And of course, Alan Rickman is wonderful as the erudite goon Hans Gruber.

Three chocolate morsels and, since it’s the booming ’80s, some egg nog in a Waterford or other snobby crystal glass.


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