Rewind Series: Die Hard (1988)

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Rewind Series: Die Hard (1988)
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Rewind Series: Die Hard (1988) says
Yes, it is a Christmas movie, no matter what your silly friends say. It’s set at Christmas and it’s about a guy trying to return to his kids and win back his estranged wife; that’s as Christmas as movies get. (For further study — Lethal Weapon: set during Christmas but not a Christmas movie. Batman Returns: definitely a Christmas movie.)

But even though that’s why we’re showing it in December, that’s not the interesting part of Die Hard. Die Hard establishes a template for a certain kind of action movie. John McClane is witty, charismatic, cool under pressure and very vulnerable. His success is more about steely will and crazy luck than superpowers. The always-magnificent Alan Rickman plays the villain Hans Gruber as an effete, calculating, generically European technocrat with a staff of loyal thugs. He’s in the terrorism game to make money, not advance an ideology. The cops are bureaucrats who can’t see the real hero in front of their faces. And the city is shown in rain-slick blues and chrome greys, always at night: the visual language of urban modernity at the time. The movies that copy Die Hard exaggerate everything it does to cartoonish extreme; the same way Jaws created the summer blockbuster and Halloween invented the new-breed slasher flick, Die Hard invented the action star. Every line is quotable, every character is memorable. No movie has really done it right since. (2h 12m / R / Action)
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By: Tampa Theatre