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Old 07-14-2018, 08:54 PM   #11181
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Originally Posted by Wendigo View Post
Is that Max doing a cameo before his first meal of the day or AFTER his last drink ?

Originally Posted by Wendigo View Post
Jason Lives: Friday the 13th Part VI (1986)
Used to have a HUGE crush on Jennifer Cooke when i was a kid watching V. Whatever happened to her?

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Old 07-15-2018, 04:07 AM   #11182
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Die Hard

July 12, 1988, the day 80s action movies died. Or, it was the beginning of the end, to be nicer. 30 years later, this movie has also proved to be the action movie equivalent of Scream. What I mean is that Scream, while being a highly regarded movie that was a total send-up of slasher films, particularly from the 80s, it effectively ruined the genre, because one couldn't take a slasher film seriously. The horror factor couldn't be presented, Scream told all the secrets and made light of it. In the case of Die Hard, in my opinion, it really spelled out what 90s action movies would be about and effectively made it a weaker decade than the 80s. The bar was set so high by this movie, any that came after, was immediately at a disadvantage. Of course, there were still some fantastic action movies in the 90s, but a lot took cues from Die Hard, the film was that influential. The Scream comparison was what came to mind during my viewing of this film, celebrating its 30th anniversary. The argument I'm making also comes from a bias, as I absolutely love this movie, and it's been something that took over my life in a way, for almost 3 years. Since Christmas 2015, I've seen this movie 11 times, which is insane given my tendency to give space to movies and trying to watch as much as I can. It turned out that slowly, over the years, I've relegated myself to occasional movie viewings, and a lot of them being repeats. Note that my last movie review featured The Room, a movie I've seen 10 times. While I did watch the movie and enjoyed all the big and little things about it, this particular viewing made me think in retrospect, all the 90s action films I've seen, and all the 70s and 80s action movies I've seen. Also of course, the 2000s, which is something I didn't think too much about, because really the best action films from the current century are just that because they take so many cues from the past, to the point where their biggest compliments are that they are “90s style” or “80s style.” There are exceptions, I find the Jason Bourne movies as something that really had an identity, and that it wasn't styled after the action movies of the past. Probably moreso spy thrillers, but still, that trilogy in particular (I haven't seen the 4th Matt Damon Bourne movie) just defined modern action movies for me. Taken is another movie that created its own niche, has its own identity, though a bit 90s flavor inside it, I think. The current decade, John Wick for sure, so much style and substance, its in a class all by itself. Anyways, the point I was trying to make is that I believe Die Hard is the greatest action movie ever. It took me 11 viewings since 2015 (that's not even counting the times I watched it before 2015, which I estimate it being between 3 and 6) to really come to this conclusion. Granted, there are some action movies I haven't seen that are talked about a lot, for example Cliffhanger, The Long Kiss Goodnight, The Hunt for Red October, etc. I don't think any of those will beat Die Hard, it's such a towering milestone in action movie history, that it's so fitting that the main setting is a giant tower.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Dwayne Johnson is starring in a movie called Skyscraper, which just reeks of Die Hard influences, even looking at the official poster, which is a total ripoff of the Die Hard one. I may watch it one day, I just predict it to be like Die Hard, minus the intelligence, and I'm cool with dumb action movies. Anyways, let's talk about a smart action movie.

I just assume everyone's seen Die Hard, so there's that, and just not feeling up to going through the plot in a standard manner. I'd rather just give thoughts and observations I had during this viewing. That being said, I'll start with saying what Die Hard does masterfully well that I don't think any action movie has really done to that high a level. What Die Hard does is create a massive, deep pool of characters, it's like every character that had more than 2-3 lines, is so important, is so well defined, and is so entertaining in various ways, that it's just a marvel of film writing. Also directing, to which these two fields are at master levels in this film. John McTiernan as director, Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza as the writers. Being more familiar with the director and de Souza, I feel like I could spot their fingerprints all over this. The latter had already established himself as being great at scripts with a lot of quips, one-liners, things that give the heroes, some cool edge, funny edge, something above just the standard protagonist angle. Commando is a perfect example of that, Street Fighter is the worst example of that, which I have to bring up since de Souza wrote and directed that fascinating movie (it's hilarious, but that's just my opinion). I remember one review I did of this movie on this forum where I ran through each character, dedicated sections for them. I'm going to be all over the place this review, that I won't repeat that here.

Again, I've seen this movie close to 20 times in total, 11 since 2015, the fact I'm still so enamored with it, shows how incredible the film is. Also, it means that each viewing, I would have to look for small things, as I've already spotted and enjoyed the big things. What separates movies I am fine watching once, and ones that I see multiple times, is the wealth of stuff found by digging deeper, and how rewarding it is on multiple viewings. For this, I just thought about little things that people who've seen it once or twice probably didn't pay too much attention to.

One early example, when John McClane goes through the airport terminal after landing in Los Angeles, he made a quip, “Fucking California.” This was due to a woman running past him, jumping to the arms of her lover. I looked at the outfit of the guy, and I got a better sense of that quip, the dude dressed so white. As if he was from Bel-Air, but felt wearing this preppy outfit, longsleeve shirt wrapped around him like some cape, needed colors. I saw green, red, these warm colors on this douche. The woman, all white, definitely some white leggings, I mean, it does scream California to me. Well, 80s in general, but I just picture that and how it differs from the blue collar NYC lifestyle of John McClane, and I can't help but agree with that quip, moreso than thinking that those two young people were being so 80s.

Another early example of observing little things, when Holly Gennero (or Gennaro, so many continuity errors, I had to double check which is the right spelling, if there even is one, both are displayed in near equal amount of times) called home and talked to the maid, I got way into the woman's speech. I'm Latino, while my English is fluent and totally American, I am surrounded by family members with broken English. They never say “No telefono.” When this woman said it, she meant that John had not called home. If it was my grandmother, she wouldn't say “phone” in Spanish, she'd say “call” in Spanish. “No llamar,” hell, I'd say that actually. Or even “No phone,” surely the woman knows that “phone” is English for “telefono.” I mean, let's be honest, this particular character was stereotyped to death, despite being in only 2 scenes. It is funny thinking about this, and relating it to Donald Trump, thinking how he would respond to this. Separate this woman from her kid...moving on...

Still on that scene, I was looking at the pictures of Holly and her kids, one with John that played a huge part in the plot of the film. The effort in these pictures, to show that this is a real family, is pretty minimal. Two of the pictures had the kids wearing the same outfits, another set had them in different outfits, so it's one session. To make it more realistic, they should've had baby pictures of these kids, but I'm just nitpicking, it means nothing to the plot, it's just an observation. In hindsight though, it's crazy to think that these two kids would become main characters in their own separate installments of the franchise, obviously played by different actors. You had the estranged daughter in the 4th movie, and the estranged son in the last one. I could go on about those two movies...but I don't want to.

By this phone conversation scene, one is introduced to a bunch of memorable characters, beyond the obvious lead in Bruce Willis, and the co-star in Bonnie Bedelia. There is my man Argyle (De'voreaux White) and the sleaziest dickhead in movie history, Ellis (Hart Bochner). Well, also Joseph Takagi (James Shigeta), and even the pregnant woman, Ginny (Dustyn Taylor, who I never talked about before). Other than the fact these characters have more than 2-3 lines, what also indicates how defined and important they are to the movie, are their introductions, that they're named. Every named character, matters. Hell, I'd argue some unnamed characters matter, some leaving impressions on this viewer. The thing about action movies is that these side characters are just that, side ones, novelties that give their 2 cents, you remember them or not, they're just minor discussion points for a movie. I argue that this movie would not be the classic it is, without these people. It took me so many viewings to realize this, these characters are just as important as John McClane, Holly, and Hans Gruber. That's another thing, Gruber isn't introduced until past the 15 minute mark. Why would that happen? I feel like it's to really set the mood, gets these characters introduced, give this sense of festivity, after all, this is also a Christmas movie (BEST CHRISTMAS MOVIE EVER). The atmosphere is set, the bad guys come, and after a few minutes of waiting for them to really introduce themselves to the people at the Nakatomi Plaza, the tone shifts, it immediately becomes a dire situation, the stakes are already high, and they just continue to escalate. It's good storytelling.

Going back to the large amount of important characters, I feel like that's a Steven de Souza trademark, and I assume Universal executives saw that, and thought he'd work that same magic with Street Fighter. A little aside on that, Street Fighter's overabundance of characters from the video game franchise was a result of Capcom demanding that all 16 (at the time) were included in the movie. I assume people saw de Souza's work in Die Hard and thought he can work that magic again. The problem is that too many characters were pushed to the front, as a result, so many storylines clashing, and yet they're supposed to merge, yet they do it so sloppily. Die Hard has one storyline, you do have different aspects of it, John McClane's running around in the tower, Hans Gruber's rule over the hostages, Holly and her co-workers, the growing police support outside the tower, and the annoying reporter angle (good ol' Dick). All these moving parts, they coexist perfectly, and do not muddy the storyline, what really matters, in fact, they add to it, they're all so important.

There are things I've picked up in past viewings that I just seem to laugh at or generally enjoy more in subsequent ones. For this viewing, I really loved this little moment, that for some reason they didn't do another take of. Pay attention to the guy on Gruber's right, Eddie (Dennis Hayden, I always misheard his name as “Fabian,” only mention of the name was Gruber, that accent threw me off).

One of the things that always caught my attention was McClane's scar on his right shoulder. I'm still kind of being chronological in these comments because this scar is first seen when McClane meets Takagi, coke-sniffing Ellis, and Holly. On the latter, they are chatting in Ellis' office, that has a private bathroom, that Holly wants, and deserves. After all, she closed a big deal, it's a reason for the celebration, along with the fact it was Christmastime. Anyways, John and his classic muscle shirt makes its debut. It's there that you notice the scar. I remember reading that it was a real scar, and I had to double check for this review. It is in fact real, Bruce Willis got that from surgery complications from a broken arm when he was 17. Something I never wondered about until this viewing was the little tattoo on his left arm. The reason is that I can barely make it out, it just looks like a smudge. To be fair, they never focus on that tattoo, you're always looking at it from a distance, plus the fact that it's small. I wondered if it was real. It's not, and it's a skull with a hat, I think the hat may look like an Uncle Sam one, American pride and whatnot. I'm not sure. Anyways, I like the look, you can tell the man has been through some shit, just by that gnarly scar. He's not well built physically, showing that his appearance revolves around his police work. There is a little line, in the conversation with Argyle before this, that he has a 6 month backlog in his job, indicating that he's just grinding it out as a cop. The scar does get covered up in some Bruce Willis movies, so it gives the impression that it was made for Die Hard, but no, it's real. Considering also that this was Willis' big movie breakout role, he had been doing the TV show Moonlighting and some smaller movies before. Actually, during the days, he would shoot Moonlight, and at night, this movie. Chronologically, it's the first Bruce Willis movie I've seen, I didn't know he did stuff before, so it's easy to guess the scar was a makeup job. That it wasn't, and that they didn't cover it up, adds to this rugged character.

It did dawn on me that during that conversation in the limo, Argyle asked why John and his wife are basically separated. He guessed that she beat him up. It's funny now hearing that line because I can buy that. Holly doesn't fuck around, you saw how she popped Dick Thornburg (William Atherton) in the face? Also, beating up, John's shirt, another name for it, wifebeater. Get it? I'm not saying Johnny hit her, he did nahht! I just find that funny.

Something I thought about, why did Theo (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) break all that computer equipment after first hacking into it and doing his thing? It wasn't really necessary, nobody was going to use it after him, since they started gaining control, there wouldn't be a stray person just using that one computer system, nor would any of the “terrorists” have some fun there. This was before the internet, so, it's not like everyone would want to use it. Then again, the whole building was going to be torn apart anyways by their C4 explosion and all the mayhem that ended up happening, so not destroying it also wouldn't matter. I'll just chalk it up to the guy having fun, it was clear he was the charming dude of the group, while Hans Gruber had his own brand of charm. Gruber's first scene was memorable, how he just walks and everyone walks with him, like a march, as the GIF I posted earlier shows. You just knew straight away that he was the big bad of this film.

While this movie is a masterpiece in my opinion, there are some things to question, some to call bullshit on. Something I never questioned before, but felt the need to this time was how John passed by the bad guys undetected during that initial invasion. Note, he's in Ellis' room, just finished fisting with his toes, as that guy in the plane (also memorable even though he was in just 1 scene) suggested he do. I assume that the stairs are on the other side of hallway. You're telling me this flat-footed almost middle-aged white man ran past these terrorists without being caught? Were the terrorists just that distracted? What were they distracted by? Checking the rooms before Ellis' office, and then stumbling upon a couple, the same one that wanted to use Ellis' office as the setting for their fuck time. The only instance of live nudity in this movie, topless, almost obligatory. Yeah, you can see them smiling at this, but come on, that just conquered all their senses to where McClane could capitalize on that easily? That's fishy, but then again, how else would that scene go down? You just have to go with it, makes for an interesting point of contention nevertheless.

Since I just mentioned the live nudity, I said “live” because there was another example of nudity, and that was the Playboy picture that got stapled to a circuit breaker door or something. It was important since it served as a navigational tool, like a compass, for John McClane and his wacky travels around the tower.

Analyzing certain lines in this viewing again, there's the little stuff Gruber said to Takagi when he takes him away from the crowd. He pointed out Takagi's suit and how he had two from the same clothing brand/designer himself. I was all “Damn, bragging much?” I mean, was he trying to brag also about his wealth? I assume the suit was expensive, so him bragging about that indicated that he's well off. That begs the question of why be a part of this plot? Maybe what Gruber himself had, was just not enough. I did become curious this time around at a line Hans said towards the end of the movie, about how they'll be at the beach earning 20% while the police are sifting through the rubble. I thought back to that news report, the nice lady and that dickhead guy who botched the location of Helsinki in that one scene. The report was that this “Volksfrei” group that Gruber was a part of, apparently expelled him well before this burglary. What if that was a lie? What if Gruber was still part of this group, and the “20%” referred to basically the division of these $650 million in bonds (that's crazy money in 2018, at least a billion) was going to be among not only Gruber's surviving group, but also this Volksfrei organization? Speculation man, getting into the worldbuilding of Die Hard, even though that organization is never mentioned again. Also, if you look at who is left by the end of the movie, about 4, 20% among those, that's a lot of money for them. I think it was 4, it was that much before the final bullets, but Hans said that before they blew up the roof, and there was still Karl, and Al Leong, and probably other people. Yeah, Al Leong, perennial henchman actor in the 80s, who really threw off the “German” demographic of this evil group. Well, token black in Theo as well. Also, I think Eddie was written as an American. Well, dammit, you get the idea. Al Leong was the odd duck. The writing says as much, he's seen eating candy as everyone was preparing for the SWAT team's intrusion. I looked at the scene deeper, one shot had him eating a Crunch bar, another had him eating a Mars bar. Either that's a continuity error, or the guy just ate both, sugar fiend.

Going back to the nudity, in particular the Playboy picture, a topless blonde in that, this brings up an underlying issue with McClane. He's a pervert. Straight away, the first scene, after that conversation with the guy who suggested the fisting with your toes on the carpet (which I did try during this movie, only with socks), he basically eye-fucks a flight attendant. When he makes it up the stairs after that magical evading of the “terrorists,” he looks out the window and sees a woman with very little clothing, in an apartment building across from the tower. Of course, that doesn't make sense since the tower was shown to not have any surrounding buildings, so that's a continuity error, really exposing that they were in a set, and the tower shots were merely exteriors. Anyways, between that, the attendant, the Playboy picture, come on. Also, he's a straight perv, he was really annoyed at the drunk guy who kissed him as soon as he entered the 30th floor. He made that “Fucking California” quip again, which also makes sense, I just think “San Francisco.” The guy must be from there, and he's gay. Or just drunk and festive, whatever.

As someone who grew up on Jackie Chan movies, I had assumed that everyone did their own stunts, Chan sure did. The bummer is that it's almost never the case, especially in Hollywood movies. On one hand, it just means appreciating the virtually nameless people that make these stunts a reality, on the other, it does lessen the favoritism just a bit over certain actors. I bring this up because Bruce Willis sure didn't do many stunts in this film. A podcast that I loved, since defunct, had a movie review series, and Die Hard was one of the movies. They actually spot it more than me, the obviousness of Willis' stunt double. The fact that he has a notably larger amount of hair, while Willis was losing his, he's most known as a bald man for decades. This viewing, I did pick up a bit of the stunt double, more on that fight scene with Karl's brother, who had bouncing hair, that really caught my attention when the camera followed him in his first solo scene. Hell, the henchmen had stunt doubles, the podcast pointed out that Karl's brother had a stunt double, which I couldn't make out. I also couldn't make out Karl's stunt double. Well, thanks to IMDB, there is one easy case of being able to tell. I never caught this, it took me a while to find the right frame where this is true. According to IMDB, right after McClane lynches Karl with a chain and slams him against a wall, John is against a pillar, setting up his gun. If you pause at the right moment and look over his left shoulder, you can see Alexander Godunov, the man who played Karl, stand on the staircase. I guess they allowed him to witness this scene. I'll draw a red circle to make it as clear as possible.

That blew my mind. Once you really dig into this movie, you do find some flaws, and you do question some things. Back to the scene with Karl's brother fighting John, how it ended was a bit unrealistic. Just by tumbling down a set of metal stairs, that was enough to kill Karl's brother. John, though he was the aggressor, fell down that same set of stairs and he was fine. It makes me wonder if the tables were turned, and he was on the defensive during that fall, would he have died? Probably not, after all, he dies hard! Speaking of dying hard, meaning not dying while erect, Karl epitomizes that phrase almost as much as McClane. Now, one can call bullshit on that, the man being too superhuman, especially after being hung by chains, carried off presumably like he's dead, then rise up like a zombie at the end of the movie. It sets up Al Powell's redemption, but it's easy to ridicule that stuff. I just lap it up, it did make for an awesome scene with Powell.

Segue into Al Powell, played by the lovable Reginald VelJohnson, who kind of played the same character in Family Matters. One can argue Carl Winslow is just another name for Al Powell. Making up a story, Al Powell, after killing Karl and generally helping out John McClane, probably got targeted by the Volksfrei group, or even just Hans Gruber's brother (who is the main villain in Die Hard With A Vengeance), and had to enter the Witness Protection Program, name change to Carl, is given a new family. Remember, in Die Hard, he's set to be a father for the first time. He's hooked up with the Winslow family, and life's safe. They let him be a cop again, just in another city. All good...until Urkel appears. Powell's first scene saw him buying Twinkies, he has a little chat with the cashier at the gas station, he claimed they were for his wife. I believed that back then, now I'm sure he was fibbing. Considering his affinity to Twinkies shown later in a conversation with John and him downright eating it in the sequel, it's very obvious. I still have yet to eat a Twinkie, not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Going back to certain characters making impressions despite not being named, that cashier is an example of that. It's mainly by his appearance: a big, rotund white man with a bushy tache, that's just someone you can't forget. Another example of a nameless character making an impression, this lady who probably only got hired because of her screaming ability...

To my surprise in this viewing, she appears again towards the end, a quick shot. It's when the hostages are rushed to the roof, Al Leong's final scene before McClane ices him. Yeah, memorable lady, she could've easily been a scream queen in another life.

Back to Powell's debut scene, it blew my mind when he exited the place, a gas station. You see the prices for gas, 74 cents a gallon! That's crazy, meanwhile, we're cursed with something exorbitant. Inflation, George W. Bush, I don't know. People in the 80s had it easy. I never noticed the gas station prices before. Not only blessed with cheap gas prices, but magical walkie talkies. That's been something I've grown to notice as being very unrealistic. These simple communication devices, which wouldn't surprise me if they were Motorolla brand (the big communication device that Walt, played by Rick Ducommun had was Motorolla), were able to tap into all kinds of channels, and essentially connect everybody. John could talk to Al Powell, Hans Gruber interrupted their conversation at one point, meaning he can access their channel. CB radios man, and Argyle could listen in as well, as he had a CB radio system in his limo, which he brought up to John when bragging about the latest toys the limo had, all of which can connect to the police's radio frequency, and also that more private line McClane reached when he first tried to contact the police. Very dated now, Argyle freaking put in a cassette to play some Run DMC. This was essentially the NSA's wet dream, absolutely no effort in listening in on everybody. I think the most damning of this communication magic is towards the end when John is not even pressing the button to talk. His walkie talkie is on the sink while he is tending to the broken glass on his feet. The only explanation would be if he jammed the button to where it stayed being pressed, even without him holding it down. Movie magic.

In all my ramblings, I forgot to talk about Ginny. As I mentioned earlier, it's my first time really talking about her, she's the pregnant Nakatomi employee, I'm guessing she is Holly's secretary. In her first scene when Holly insisted that she stopped working and have some fun at the party, Ginny asked if the baby can handle a sip of champagne. Holly said that baby can tend bar, referring to the fact that she is so close to being due. Well, that's a bit irresponsible of Holly. They didn't have any other drink? I thought about this, and thought that they should've had Tab! That's an 80s reference, that would've been hilarious. Hell, product placement in the beverages department includes small shots of Evian water (on the sink where John washes up before shit hits the fan) and Coca Cola (what Ellis drinks before he got shot in the head).

You'll never see me complaining about the action in this movie. The explosions, the gun fights, the stunts, they are top of the line on a Hollywood level. Even at the cost of their main star's ears. I do remember the story about Bruce Willis getting hearing loss after using those incredibly loud blanks. It explains the wincing he did in that scene where he shot through a table, killing the jabberring German, who said not to hesitate when you're going to shoot someone. Fucking guy hesitated and look what happened. The wincing is there, but put it into perspective. He is under a table, so there's not a lot of wiggle room, he's holding his handgun pretty close to his chest, thus close to his ears. He fires, the audience is treated to super loud bangs, but imagine those bangs from his perspective. It had to be deafening. The blanks though helped because they were made to add realism to the movie. It certainly worked.

Continuing on with that, there was the fact that Alan Rickman, the masterful actor behind Hans Gruber, he always winced and flinched from the gun noise. This explains all the cuts from his face during his shooting scenes. The ones that don't get cut quickly, you can see the man blinking immediately upon firing the gun, reading his face showed he was trying to hide his fearful feelings. They're hid very well, if I didn't know about his aversion to the noise and flash those guns made, I couldn't fully tell that he was so squeamish at those parts. One scene in particular, he and Karl shoot the glass, this was close to the end of the movie, and it effectively messes up McClane's feet even further. They had close shots of Gruber's face during this, and he looked okay. I still got the impression he was hiding true feelings, but still. They don't hang onto that shot too long, basically leaving little room of exposing this shortcoming. It's most notable when he shoots Takagi, the wincing is clear if you look at it slowly. I did just that, I was distracted at how the blood came out of Takagi's head, it made for a great screenshot at a certain point.

The squibs were fantastic. I noticed it more with leg shots, there was the guy McClane killed that led to hearing loss for Willis, there was also the scene with Gruber and Karl shooting at the glass. Before it was just them, another guy was with them, got shot in the legs, the squibs were very vibrant and jumped at the viewer, it was a flashy red color basically. It seemed like the legs just showed that more. Also, with that latter scene, the guy doing a great fall through a glass window with his legs shot, meaning he fell as if his legs gave out. It looked very convincing. The squib going off when McClane got hit by Karl during their 1-on-1, was also really nice. I feel like the hole that shot caused, appeared before the shot happened, some continuity error maybe. Or I could be seeing things, whatever.

Stunts, man. While I can't credit Bruce Willis for them, his double really pulled through. There's the famous elevator shaft stunt that was totally real, the guy missed a ledge and just fell. They kept rolling though, and it helped make that particular scene really dangerous and risky. The big jump at the end from the roof, while John has the hose wrapped around him, incredible. When he's still tied to it upon entering the building through the window, and the hose was pulling him back to that opening, I kind of winced. That's because I kept imagining what would've happened if he didn't untie himself. He would've fallen to the ground and then explode with organs, guns, blood bursting out and staining the pavement. Yeah...well someone did fall from the 30th floor to the pavement, but that's at the end.

Back to the podcast I mentioned, The Same Coin, might as well name them specifically. They brought up the stuntmen being obviously visible, Bruce Willis' for example. However, they also pointed out that Karl's brother had a stunt double. Going back to his first solo scene where he's walking to the wires, it involves him sliding down a set of stairs. They said it was a stunt double and that it was obvious. I couldn't tell, maybe going by the hair not bouncing during that part. I'll take their word for it, because their descriptions of these stunts were elaborate. That being said, I can buy that the big Karl and John fight scene mostly had the stunt doubles for both actors going at each other. Usually it would be the actor and a stunt double of his opponent. Here, apparently both sides had stunt doubles. Of course there are shots showing that the actors are actually scrapping, but it's easy to guess that the more physical stuff was the result of stuntmen working a lot.

The explosions are insane. When it comes to the 80s, most explosions tend to make me laugh, simply because of the cliché being very entertaining, and those are instances of not taking them seriously. This movie takes explosions seriously, so I'm not laughing, but still I'm very entertained. The explosions were done with models, John McTiernan revealing as much in a making-of featurette. I think there's one instance where it is digitally added, an exterior one where the explosions are outside the building. I can't remember which one, but nevertheless, they all look legit. Picking one is pretty hard. While they generally get bigger and bigger as the movie goes on, there's marveling at the setup. This happens in the middle of the movie, but a strong candidate for the best explosion is the one with the SWAT truck being destroyed. It looked damn impressive since it's made to look like a result of that rocket launcher two screaming angry Germans (stereotype) put together. They showed the process of putting the rocket launcher together, which looked real, and also said clearly that the thing was going to fire, it was going to hit something, and it was going to be epic. It was all that, twice, they fired at that truck twice. There's also the C4 explosion McClane caused that made a sound similar to thunder. Then there's the grand finale of sorts, where the helicopter joins in on the exploding madness, it serving as the backdrop to McClane's huge jump off the roof. I just imagine the people who fired off the explosions must've had a great time, as well as the people who built the model sets. It's like being paid to set off fireworks.

I have a feeling the point of Harry Ellis and Dick Thornburg was to give defined unlikable characters to the audience, if it turned out that Hans Gruber was simply too likable, which is what happened. The charisma from Alan Rickman was just pouring out, even though his German wasn't up to snuff in my opinion. It's the last bastion of my own history of German language studies, I need those accents in the film to be flawed so that I look like I still know my German, which sadly I mostly don't. The existence of Ellis and Thornburg proves that scumbags, douches, sleazeballs, are the worst kinds of villains. Rickman's Gruber was simply too competent and smart, with an arguably flawless plan. Gruber made a speech right before that screaming lady made her presence felt. He said that they left nothing to chance. That's really what happened if you took out the McClane equation. They did everything right, everything was calculated, even when McClane was messing things up for them, under Gruber's leadership, they were one step ahead of the people after them. One can't watch that and not be impressed by it all, it sets Gruber apart from previous villains of the decade, who had more narrow minded goals, with narrow minded execution. That's not a diss, the movies made around those villains worked in their favor, again, going back to Commando. It is interesting to make the reference when McClane makes one to Arnie in general, “Enough plastic explosives to orbit Arnold Schwarzenegger.” Even Stallone action films in the 80s didn't have a villain that intelligent and calculating, that action star referenced by Gruber when he first talked to McClane, asking if he's like “Rambo.” Of course that leads to cowboy talk, and the famous line by McClane that everyone knows. It's funny seeing that scene, because McClane made a face after saying that. I imagine it being the equivalent of saying “Aw yeah, you got owned.” Also, he's holding a machine gun during that part, so he did have the modern city cowboy look. Ellis and Thornburg, going back to them, are just detestable. One's all about coke and material possessions, the other is about getting the juiciest news, first. Thornburg represents a kind of journalism that is still present, shades of it seen on TMZ for example. Meanwhile, Ellis' persona is a bit more archaic, because it's representative of the Yuppie generation. Still, a toolbag is a toolbag, and there are shades of Ellis out in the world today, they just exist in different circles.

Picking the worst of these pair does prove to be a challenge. You have Ellis, who had intentions of saving his ass by basically ousting John McClane, trading one body for his own. I mean, it's depicted like a deal where McClane would give up the bag of detonators and everything would go smoothly, presumably no more deaths. That's an interesting thing, the body count on the victim side is very low, only Takagi and Ellis. During the SWAT team shootout scene, Gruber instructed his men to wound the opposition, not kill them, though the same can't be said presumably to the people who drove that armored assault vehicle. In hindsight, it's believable that Gruber's gang wasn't going to resort to slayings, so Ellis' plan had a bit of merit, insurance of being spared. It becomes apparent though that it only matters that Gruber wins, Ellis made himself expendable and look what happened. Also, more of a broad statement, lying is never the answer, dude lied that he and McClane were long time buddies, and that cost him. From that lie, it becomes clear to Gruber that McClane didn't just come to that party by circumstance, he knew someone there. Of course, that turned out to be Holly, and it goes back to the framed picture that Holly put face down. The picture of the whole McClane family, which would've revealed her relationship to John. It's such a small little detail, that played a huge factor. They bring that up in the middle of the movie, before Ellis' grand plan, when Holly stepped up, not taking shit from Gruber, basically saying he was an idiot, and requesting for a couch, so that pregnant Ginny is comfortable. She gives a look at the picture, Gruber's doing most of his business from her office, he catches that look, sees what's behind him, but it was nothing important, the picture was down, who cares? Arguably, if he discovered the picture's contents right then and there, he probably would've been able to bring down John McClane. Who knows? Back to Ellis, he paid the price, but got to have one sip of Coca Cola before biting the bullet, literally. The funny thing I just realized is that the man was all about coke. Coke as in cocaine, and coke as in Coca Cola. See? I don't know why it took me so many viewings to realize that.

Moving on, Thornburg, I think he's the worst. While Ellis is a piece of crap, he did have a goal of saving himself and the hostages. It just came from bad judgement and decisions. Thornburg on the other hand, had no ounce of decency, didn't do anything good, even for selfish reasons. Ellis tried to save everyone, for selfish reasons, he was in over his head. Thornburg is the definition of a leech, all that mattered was getting a big story. You see him just working behind the scenes of a news anchor show, the fact he jumped at this story after listening to Powell's CB radio chatter for help showed that he wanted to be in a bigger spot. He wanted to be a news anchor, more up front and such. He didn't give a crap who he had to step on to do it, he just went ahead. I mean, I'm really repeating stuff that Holly said to him in the sequel, so if a character in the movie thinks this, it's easy for the audience to think it as well. It's indisputable anyways. The role was played perfectly, as William Atherton had experience as an annoying dickbag in Ghostbusters, it's just the kind of character he's great at playing. I don't know if that indicates his true character being like that, or it's just good acting. I'll go with the latter. He got what was coming to him, that's for sure. It took until the end of the movie to get there, so it was quite a journey to experience before karma punched him in the face. Analyzing his words at the end of the movie where he tried to get in Holly's home, I realized that he was bullshitting. He said to the maid that it was going to be the last time the kids would have a chance to speak to their parents. Of course, that's wrong, I knew that, but digging into it a bit, that's technically not even true. The kids didn't talk to their parents for the last time, Lucy the girl just said “Come home,” something along those lines. That's a message to the parents, not really talking to them directly. He oversold the power of media basically, such scum. Going back to the stereotyping of the maid, I mean come on, he threatened to call INS on her. Really? She's an illegal immigrant? Thinking back, perhaps that “No telefono” line is something Mexicans would say in Spanglish. Mexicans are in one spot, the Latinos east of them, another spot, that's how I see things. Hell, I'd add a third spot just for Puerto Ricans. Anyways, that's way off topic. Trying to put current day stuff into this movie, rather than INS, Thornburg could've easily replaced that with ICE. So yeah, Hans saw that footage of Lucy, Thornburg sticking that mic right at her face, he noticed the facial expression of Holly upon seeing that footage, he put 2 and 2 together, raise up the photo, ah shit. So really, Thornburg exacerbated the situation, and Ellis really did that too earlier. I mean, it led to him dying, and that messed up McClane for a bit, so, outside forces ruining things, these two dipshits. They're awful characters, just horrible, but played so well, written so well, they've become legendary in my opinion. It goes back to every named character being so important and memorable.

I've touched on all kinds of parties, but one I barely covered, was the police side. I've talked about Al Powell, but of course, there were other officers of the law. Before I get to them, I have to go back to Al Powell radioing for help. It was hilarious when he punched it in reverse after John dumped that body onto the windshield. I laughed at how that mayhem went on, gunfire as Karl and other gunmen were firing at Powell, and that's in the background. In the foreground, for one moment, fucking Argyle having the time of his life, wearing sunglasses, jamming to music, and he's not alone. Remember, that big teddy bear John got for Holly, he left the bear there, he was partying with Argyle for sure. I laughed so hard at that, the music was just too loud to hear the loudest gunfire in movie history, a cop car in reverse combined with that. Just, nothing to Argyle, that stereo system is insane, you'd think Bose made it. I repeated that moment because another hilarious thing about it was how the body flew off the hood of the car, and hit a tree branch! It's like it got launched in the air for half a second before being brought down by that branch. Oh my goodness, I died at that, it's just something I didn't notice until more recent viewings. I'm not sure if that was intentional or not, but it was sure funny. So that wild scene ended with Powell's car falling off a ledge, still in reverse, and damn. The Twinkies must've all been smashed, the guy's banged up, you feel bad for him. Especially when he drops his backstory, he really fits into the McClane theme of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. As McClane said in that scene with Gruber, getting invited to the Christmas party by mistake. Powell was the closest cop to the Nakatomi Plaza, so he was enlisted on pure convenience, while the cops that followed came in as troops to try and diffuse the situation. It's interesting how McClane's biggest themes related to other characters. The other big theme is, well, Die Hard, you can't kill this person without a lot of effort and luck. Who exhibited that other than McClane? Why, Karl, but more on him later. Gruber too, his persistence when his life was hanging in the balance, that's an example of being hard to kill (I tried to avoid that phrase since it also references a certain Steven Seagal movie).

Back to the police, ah man, Deputy Chief of Police, Dwayne T. Robinson. What an entertaining character, played by the late great Paul Gleason. An overwhelming theme about the cops in this movie, is that they are idiots, so incompetent, it's crazy. Powell's the one exception. As soon as Robinson made his debut in the movie, he immediately played skeptic, criticized Powell and McClane. For crying out loud, he once said McClane was possibly a bartender, in response to his ability in spotting a fake ID. He also thought the chatter Powell received could've been a terrorist jerking his chain. All false, crazy assumptions, and this guy is a high ranking police officer. This goes into John McTiernan, the belief that he makes cops out to be terrible at their jobs. Perhaps just the LAPD, because in Die Hard 3, the NYPD are very competent, it's not just one person. The SWAT team are horrible as well. They were slow to catch the tactic of the bad guys firing at the spotlights, the head of that team saying it was just panic fire. Powell knew what was up immediately, and after a minute, Robinson repeated what he said. You see? They're just so slow. So one big reason Gruber and company were one step ahead of the cops was because they are just plain awful. It was intentional too, why else would there be a scene where the SWAT team are running to the entrance of the Nakatomi Plaza, and one of the guys pricks his finger on a thorny bush? Seriously, there's a scene featuring that, you just know from there that these guys are pansies! After that truck is blown up, you see the SWAT guys at the entrance, crumbling in pain, crying. That's just so telling, that sums up the SWAT team. You couldn't continue with them after that, hence them pretty much disappearing after the scene. It continues to be Powell and Robinson at odds, the latter saying the former is free to leave this scene, but Powell's not having any of that. Damn right. When it came time to talk to Gruber via the walkie talkies, Robinson changed his tone and sounded more, I guess, receptive to whatever Gruber wanted. He didn't exhibit his hard-nosed, stubborn and misguided demeanor to Gruber like he did to Powell. That just says a lot about his character, he's secretly a bit of a pansy in his own right. Still, a very lovable idiot. Just in the delivery of lines, it's really funny, even simple ones like “Kick ass,” or “Holy shit.” That's talent right there. Talent that exists across the board, making the most out of detestable characters, even lovable characters. Reginald VelJohnson as Al Powell, so damn lovable, a teddy bear, you just want him in your corner. The character itself is easy to like, but VelJohnson made it a step above. All the actors made their characters a step above what they would've been.

Continuing on the police side, we move to the federal level, the F. B. I. I love the cadence Gruber exhibited when saying that, as well as “Ho. Ho. Ho.” At the third quarter, we're introduced to Special Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson, no relation: Robert Davi and Grand L. Bush respectively. Fun fact, Grand L. Bush (it's funny to say his name, especially without the L), and Robert Davi appeared in a few movies together, one I've seen already was the second or third Maniac Cop movie. Also, Grand Bush was in another Steven de Souza movie, a little thing called Street Fighter. Yeah, and he played Balrog. A short, nonathletic black man playing a tall buff black boxer. That's Street Fighter the movie for you. Despite being in suits, taking control of the police, Davi smoking a cigarette, giving off a cool vibe, it turned out they were just as incompetent as Robinson, it's downright hilarious. They were more passive aggressive, until Davi just flipped the switch and went off on those city workers, one of them being Walt, ordering them to shut down the power of the Nakatomi Plaza. He got his way, but it turned out to be exactly what Gruber wanted, the Christmas miracle he promised Theo, as they needed one to crack through the 7th lock of that safe. Special Agent Johnson continued into being excitable when he was on one of the helicopters and was cheering, holding a machine gun, a hat turned backwards, ready to shoot at them bad guys. It's ridiculous, it's like Robert Davi lost the plot of the movie. It's funny nonetheless. During that scene, he was all “Just like fucking Saigon, right Slick?” Agent Johnson, being Slick, responded with “I was in junior high, dickhead.” That's quite an exaggeration, Grand Bush was in his early 30s at that time, and I assume the Saigon reference dates back to the mid 70s. He would be of college age, not junior high. He certainly isn't fooling anyone in trying to appear like he's in his 20s. Anyways, funny little thing I had to mention. It's arguable that these FBI guys were the worst because they ended up being dead. Robinson was very cautious of things the FBI guys just wanted done, such as shutting down the building. It's really that caution and minding the red tape that kept Robinson from being reckless. Well, reckless in that way, he was reckless early on with his wild accusations and statements about the situation. Really, all this tells the viewer that the police lack tact and patience. Slow and steady won the race, basically.

One character that was particularly a grower on me was Karl, Alexander Godunov. It wasn't that I disliked him at first, it was that it took me multiple viewings to really grasp his awesomeness. With that, came the comparison to John McClane. This man did die hard. He was a fighter through and through. I mean, the man lost his brother, and that's because of McClane. If you flipped the script, Karl's motives actually come off more clear in being justified. At the same time, Karl represents more of the 80s bad guy archetype. It really makes a huge statement that his character was second to Gruber, really showing a paradigm shift. To put it simply, Karl could've easily been the main villain in Commando, Cobra, these classic 80s action movies. That he's second in command showed that times were certainly changing. Of course, Karl's the bad guy, you're not really rooting for him to get his revenge. Well, I'm not, but you understand it, he said it best, “We're both professionals, this is personal.” His motivation was winning out at first, he kicked McClane's ass, and the man had to resort to a chain to win the fight. Leading up to that, McClane made some weird quips, like that he was going to cook Karl, and eat him. He said Karl should've heard it when he broke his brother's “fucking neck.” Seriously, what a shit talker, and this is the hero of the movie. It's interesting in hindsight, the first antagonists introduced were actually Theo and Karl, they came in with the car right to the entrance, while that Pacific Courier truck that housed the rest of the guys and Gruber, entered through the parking lot. Now I think that the fact those two were introduced, really spoke of how valuable these guys are. Theo was the talker, but Karl sure had his own swagger about him. It's shown more when he disrupted his brother's wire cutting in the beginning of the movie. Apart from that, he did come off as an intimidating Lurch looking character, but after finding out about his brother, that's when Karl came alive. It was pretty much the start of his campaign of awesomeness. Another guy who passed away, but at least he left a very memorable mark in action movie history. He wasn't totally obedient, but he was very focused on getting McClane. Also, his moment in the end, back to that podcast, one of them ripped that scene apart for not making sense. I get it, the logic is almost 0. The fact he was stretchered out meant that he was dead. You see him clearly being dead, hung by a chain, high from the ceiling, a couple feet above the ground. That's death. Also, imagine the people retrieving him, they probably checked on him and assumed correctly that he was dead. So, for all intents and purposes, he was dead. I did think that he faked his death, did a tricky tactic where he lowered his heart rate to being near zero (dubbed a ninja technique in Step Brothers). Then, when it was time to attack, he rose up. Yeah, but now I just think he did die. But, you know, there's been cases of people who were dead for a couple minutes. I mean, none of them were as long as Karl, which there is no clear info on how long he was dead. Going by the time of his death and his resurrection in the movie, if that was real time, then he was dead for 22 minutes. Yeah, that's just not possible, he'd be brain dead by then. So, Karl the zombie? He looked all messed up that he could pass off as a zombie, he rose from death like one, so, hey, I can live with that. The resurrection was great simply because it facilitated Powell's redemption. As revealed during one of the gay conversations between Powell and McClane, he shot at someone in a dark alley, it turned out to be a kid, he swore off the streets and became a desk jockey. He got his confidence back in that scene, so, I can't argue against its inclusion, it belonged there. I mean, alternatives that still ended with Powell firing that shot could be considered. As far as the body count, I'm pretty sure there was one other member of Gruber's gang that wasn't killed, and that was the guy McClane knocked out with the machine gun right at the end of the film. I know, Theo, but he got owned by Argyle, let Argyle have his moment under the sun...or moon. So, that guy could've come out, but eh, he was a little white guy. Karl is a tall, imposing motherfucker. Powell could've taken care of the small guy by just blowing at him and he would've flown away in the wind. It had to be Karl, considering also that it took 2 or 3 shots to really take down this beast of a man. Yes, Die Hard kind of prides itself on being a very realistic action movie, but it had just enough of the Hollywood fantasy to where it became a beast of many colors, rather than 1 or a few. I remember reading that it was going to be very serious and with no levity, but thankfully that was scrubbed. I think that's based on the book where this film was loosely adapted from, was all serious. For the purpose of making it a Summer blockbuster, they succeeded in that. So Karl had the last hurrah he deserved, and I'm happy with that.

Narrowing down on character discussions, I'll focus a bit on Theo. Very charismatic, if he wasn't working for Gruber, he'd do well as the partner of Al Powell. Hell, he'd be a good replacement for Argyle. Those two are kind of similar. I mean, Theo's basically a hacking computer nerd, and Argyle's just a fun loving limo driver, but they just seem to be cut from the same cloth. Maybe it's because they're part of the token black character field. Yeah there's Powell, but he's in his own realm basically. His first lines were just comments on some play during a Lakers game, and the line delivery was filled with so much energy. The coolness comes in with his hacking, but also that little part during Takagi's death, where Karl handed him some money, an apparent bet that Theo won. I think it might've been on whether Takagi would be shot or not. Also, “Merry Christmas,” that line delivered after he, the short white guy, and Gruber were in complete awe at the contents of the vault. I mean, it's like they were all the protagonists, there's a sense of relief, celebration at this great accomplishment, but then after that section, it does come back to mind that they are the villains. In hindsight, Theo didn't have too many lines, but he sure had some personality. He said to Gruber that he didn't hire him for his charming personality. His computer skills were legit, so bring him on board, the fact he's charming is really just a bonus. It makes me wonder how he'd fare today. Would he be hacking Twitter accounts? Maybe shutting down banks, he's the kind of character I'd like to see a modern interpretation of. The closest I've seen would be a black nerd that does some hacking, but they're protagonists. That just makes me think of Power Rangers, in particular the Dino Thunder season and the 2017 movie version of Billy. Close, but no cigar. You don't see them getting knocked out by one punch by another black man. In Theo's case, my man Argyle. It was a great part of the plan, Theo came out in an ambulance, they definitely could've pulled it off, if outside forces didn't mess them up. I did picture during this viewing how Theo was able to crack through the security system of the tower, and I think it has to do with him studying the tower before. If there was a prequel, he'd be seen touring around the tower, in a disguise. He would then inquire about the technology in that facility, and he'd go from there. Or, he's just so damn smart, that he was just able to wing it. He did already know about the 7 key security thing, so it's clear that research was done on that system and the building before Gruber and company invaded. As I mentioned earlier, Theo didn't die, unless Argyle's punch to the face was so God-tier that it killed Theo. I don't know if that would be so surprising...

Quickly, Joseph Takagi. He is definitely a memorable character, he did make that topical line in response to McClane not knowing Japanese people celebrated Christmas “We're flexible. Pearl Harbor didn't work, so we hit you with tape decks.” That's a dated line, but does symbolize how Japanese electronics and technology really affected the US in many ways. Hell, when Takagi said that, during this viewing, I was thinking about Nintendo. The Nintendo Entertainment System and that company ruled the world during the 80s, Japanese invasion for sure. Anyways, Takagi had his life detailed by Gruber in a somewhat frightening way, it really showed how cold and smart Gruber was, to do that research over this man. The man he ended up shooting in the head. Really, Takagi asked for it, he came off a bit cocky, albeit sweating bullets, when he kept saying how futile getting the code from him for the locks would be. His final words were “I'm telling you, you just have to kill me” Gruber didn't hesitate, bam. I like to imagine he annoyed Gruber and paid the gravest of prices. Poor guy, memorable character though.

Holly, ah yes. It has now dawned on me that Holly is really the only major female character in this movie. A total sausage fest, but she had so much power that she was filling in lots of women character slots. She was a damsel in distress, someone who didn't take any shit, someone who was vying for a higher position (Ellis' private bathroom being referenced), a lady having success in a major business, she was kind of wearing many hats. The writing and the acting of Bonnie Bedelia really brought it all together, to where she wasn't a weak character, despite being Gruber's personal hostage at the end. She was a bit sexualized when they had her shirt partially unbuttoned, and you get a decent look at her white bra, and by that point, she was sweaty. Heaving bosom. At the end of the day, you wouldn't mess with her. Whether or not that entails her estranged husband getting involved, one is still met by a powerful lady. The way she talked to Gruber was a great example of that. I mentioned that scene where she gave a list of demands to Gruber, acting as the de facto leader of the hostages. At the scene where you see her white bra, before that, she's criticizing Gruber as just a common thief. She just knew how to strike a nerve. The argument she had with John early on, she basically won that argument, McClane criticized himself after that (Bruce Willis trademark of talking to himself). Physically, yeah, come on, Dick Thornburg can attest to that, multiple times, she got him good in the sequel. Despite the third movie being awesome, it is disappointing that Bedelia wasn't in that movie. Well...she was, if you know what I mean, her character was mentioned, there was that phone call at the end of the movie, I think she was the voice on the other end, but yeah, that was it. With the quality of the 4th and 5th movie, she was most definitely missed. She's basically the business lady and mother version of Marion from Raiders of the Lost Ark. She got into some situations of distress, but she could definitely kick anyone's ass, and didn't take shit from anyone. Quite the coincidence, I was thinking about Marion earlier this week, and just now I made the comparison between her and Holly. The 80s generally wasn't wrought with strong female characters, but you have to dig around to find the diamonds (obvious one being Ripley from Aliens). Holly Gennero McClane, is definitely a diamond.

That just leaves one person, John McClane, the barefoot warrior with the wifebeater that magically went from white to brown. This viewing really brought everything together for me in terms of John's character. He's basically a jackass. He's such a flawed character, and that's what really worked. He's not the ideal character, physically, mentally, emotionally. Yeah, the difference in appearance from Rambo and John Matrix are obvious, McClane represented the everyman, a blue collar action hero, the archetype that pretty much set the tone for the rest of time, the impact still being felt today. This viewing, I spent more time thinking about John's character, and I can't help but think that he's a jackass. He's very stubborn, he doesn't really get along with everyone, he has that loose cannon edge that had been a staple before him (Harry Callahan being a prime example), he's a pervert, as explained earlier, he also makes some boneheaded decisions. Positives: he does have flashes of intelligence, he is extremely resourceful and basically the master of improvisation. He is very determined and will kind of jump at things head on. He has positive traits that fit him into a hero role, but he has some serious personality setbacks that kind of makes him almost a mixed bag. Saying all that, I don't think a better character for this movie could've been made, and really, no better actor could've embodied that. This is where I get into the real life person. Bruce Willis over the last few years has really shown himself to be kind of a grumpy guy, not really passionate for acting. It shows in modern day movies he has done, especially the Die Hard films. He's kind of like how Harrison Ford is to his Han Solo character, but this is over many roles. There have been flashes of greatness over the last couple years, in particular Moonrise Kingdom and Looper, but generally, Bruce Willis has kind of became what John McClane was in this movie, as well as the added aspect of age and grumpiness. He's going to reprise his character from Unbreakable in a rather surprising crossover between that film and Split, creating an apparent trilogy, though supposedly it was something mapped out all along by M. Night Shyamalan. I still find it strange, but hopefully Willis delivers on that movie. I definitely trust the other two main actors for that movie to be great, Willis is the wild card. Despite the feelings towards Bruce Willis now, I won't deny the movies where he was just great. Die Hard, just great. Not the most likable character, but a hero at the end of the day, and just the right one for this movie.

It is a bit weird to give Bruce Willis props because really, he's just lost that luster on me. I have to give the Devil his due basically.

One of the funniest parts during this viewing was when McClane and Powell meet for the first time. They just looked at each other and knew, it was such a romance story moment. What really made it comical was my imagination. I just thought that the music used for this, was alright, score music, Micheal Kamen, great composer (also did Road House), rest in peace. However, I have to say that the perfect song to go with this would've been “Hello” by Lionel Richie! I was dying thinking about that, wow! I thought about the music video, and before the hugging, one of them should've just touched the other's face! Oh my goodness, that would've been hilarious. Anyways, they had a gay ol' hug, it was lovely.

Speaking of gay, there was some serious undertones of gayness in this movie. The bubbling relationship between McClane and Powell, yeah of course. Also, when McClane first talked back at Dwayne T. Robinson, he said “I'm not the one that got buttfucked on national television, Dwayne.” I mean sodomy, really? Man to man, sodomy was mentioned. That's gay. Then Robinson turned it around in a later scene, saying he was going to “nail his ass,” referring to McClane, and he really milked that statement. Right after that, Powell said “The man is hurtin'.” What the fuck? Hurting from what? Anal sex? Yeah yeah yeah, I know, from dealing with “terrorists” and all that stuff. However, the choice of words there was really telling. We can also touch on the members of Gruber's gang. Some of them looking the part of a German bad guy, others looking like male models. Karl's brother for example, Eddie, some of these guys were real lookers. Al Leong of course, is not one of those men. Still, the model looks, men? Gay much? Also, when Powell mentioned that he and his wife are working on their first child and McClane told him that he has 2 kids himself, they talk about having a little playdate with the kids at a park. Powell said it's a date, but McClane has to bring the ice cream. What the fuck?! Are they going to eat ice cream together off the same cup or cone? Come on, that ice cream is not for the kids, they didn't establish that, so...yeah. I don't know if it's a de Souza thing or McTiernan thing, but man, some gayness really seeped into the movie. Also, the second movie had some gay undertones, John Amos' character giving out some questionable words and lines such as “Jerk that cocksucker off” or something close to that. Also, at the final battle, he said “I'll do him.” Jesus man. Actually, Steven de Souza was a writer on that film, McTiernan didn't direct that, Renny Harlin did. So the gayness was a de Souza thing. Oh yeah! That reminds me, in Street Fighter, Guile (All-American Jean Claude Van Damme) and Charlie Blanka were depicted as having a gay thing for each other. Just going by a scene where Guile gets all misty eyed looking at home video footage of him and Charlie. There are women there, supposedly their wives/girlfriends, but come on man. I'm just having fun, but you does make one think.

You know, McClane was able to sniff out the identities of this group as being European and using phony IDs, and on the former, he caught that through their choice in cigarettes. That plays into other parts of the movie, such as McClane and Gruber having a smoke in that one scene. Special Agent Johnson had him some cigarettes, it would've been interesting if someone, Powell or Robinson, asked the man what kind of cigarettes was he smoking. Even better if he said they were from Europe. McClane is just a smoker through and through, despite saying to a dead body that they are bad for you. I just realized how cigarettes played a role in the movie. I'm padding the review...

There are three scenes I want to single out. I've been referencing this one a bunch of times, Gruber and McClane's first scene together. It was not in the script, it was put in as it was decided during production that these two characters needed to meet before the end. It was apparently an improv scene, both actors riffing off each other, and it was also added because of McTiernan and the producers' affinity towards Rickman's ability with accents. So you had Gruber trying to be American, slick skills also using the name “Bill Clay,” and smart camera work to have a shot of that employee list to show that there was a “Clay W” on it. I've read about this scene being a plothole, and I've had my own thoughts about it before reading about this stuff. I always thought that McClane did believe Gruber's lying. The contradiction is the fact he gave Gruber a gun that was empty, showing that he knew ahead of time. I thought differently, the empty gun was a security measure, not fully trusting Gruber saying that he knew a bit how to use a gun, and basically arming him for the sake of having a partner that would look intimidating when they joined forces. Of course, Gruber reveals himself and that goes south. If I remember the plothole description, it was mainly about how McClane knew all along that it was Gruber. I just remembered the article that addressed this, so to make sure I don't go by just memory and possibly being wrong, I went to it. It cites Steven de Souza's Q&A that he had after a 30th anniversary screening of The Running Man last year. There was a scene cut from the movie where the villains gathered in a circle and Gruber said to synchronize their watches. They put their arms out in a circle, camera catches that they all were wearing Tag Heuer watches. In a longer cut of the scene where he searches through Karl's brother's body, he notices the watch. Subsequent kills and searches, McClane spots the identical watches on these bodies. Also, when he talked to Dwayne Robinson, what was cut was him saying that they all had the same watch. That scene where Gruber personally checks on the detonators, and bumps into McClane, and his hair gets a bit messy, symbolizing the transformation to scared American man, he is wearing a watch. McClane spotted it when he offered a cigarette to Gruber, and quickly formulated a ruse that sniffed the big bad guy out. This watch theme was cut because it came into conflict with the last minute addition of the ambulance escape plan. The cut scene of them synchronizing their watches was in the back of that Pacific Courier truck, which had no ambulance. With the ambulance plan in play, all that stuff had to be cut out. John McTiernan told the editor to cut as soon as he can when they get off the truck so that we don't see that there's no ambulance. This made scenes where McClane notices the watches, nonsensical. That's what de Souza said, and quite honestly, I still haven't really noticed the man spotting the watches. I'll have to keep this in mind on my next viewing. I went back to the entrance of the villains from the back of the truck, to see if the editor succeeded in making that cut McTiernan wanted. Sadly, he didn't do a perfect job. Now knowing all this and going back to the scene, it's clear that you can see that truck, and it not having the ambulance. However, I always thought there were two Pacific Courier trucks, so maybe a Mandela Effect. As a result, I never questioned the ambulance, when really, I should've, because that is a plothole, how that magically appears from the back of the truck. I thought it came from another truck. Nope, one truck, I even went back to make sure. Totally crazy, right? Does any of this hurt the movie? Hell no, but it's fascinating trivia. It doesn't change the fact that this scene was really good, both actors doing a great job and showing some chemistry.

That went on longer than I expected. Next scene to single out, the climax. The Same Coin podcast really brought to light how there was a serious logic gap in that scene. When McClane makes it to the 30th floor and is face to face with Gruber, who has Holly by the arm, it's shown as they all laughed about McClane's “Yippee ki-yay motherfucker” line that McClane had a handgun strapped to his back, 2 bullets left in it. The podcast questioned how McClane was able to perfectly tape that gun right on his shoulder blade region. I never thought about it until they brought it up, but note that they themselves have seen the movie lots of times. Basically, it's something most people probably don't question on their first couple viewings. Yeah, it is weird, and they also question how McClane was able to do this and not be heard. He did this in the 30th floor, right before he made his presence felt to the villains. There's fire around them, stuff falling apart, but at the time of this plan by McClane, there wasn't really any loud sound. So, anyone in that floor could've heard McClane tearing out pieces of tape. That's not a quiet sound. So, just have to suspend your disbelief to an insane degree. In the end, I do suspend disbelief, it's still a fantastic finale. By the way, the name McClane gave Powell, “Roy,” in reference to him mentioning Roy Rogers to Gruber before this, that's an old name. Nobody goes by Roy anymore. The only exception is the Fire Emblem character Roy. McClane's gun slinging though was great, two bullets were enough, at Gruber's chest area, then right at Eddie's head, beautiful. Happy trails Hans? Not yet, the man was very persistent, holding onto Holly's wrist, hanging off the side of the building. This viewing, I kind of questioned how Gruber's life basically depended on that Rolex. That fucking Rolex Ellis wanted to show off as a gift to Holly, him wanting to make McClane jealous or something. Yeah, it is implied that Ellis wants Holly, slimebag. Anyways, McClane takes off the watch and Gruber falls to his death. It wasn't really clear to me that he was holding on specifically to that watch, rather, Holly's hand and wrist. So, if the watch came off, it wouldn't affect Gruber, the thing would've slid off the wrist and if Gruber was really as persistent as he was, which I believe so, then he would've kept that grip tight. I don't know, it's a case of letting it go, since it led to that fantastic death scene. Alan Rickman did fall 20 feet off a set, and the stuntman who let him go, did it early, not on the agreed-upon count of three. So, Rickman's reaction was totally legit, making for a fitting end to his character. That fall always makes me wince, the thud sound in particular. Having since watched real life footage of those kind of falls (without sound), I can now picture the fall clearly. Basically, it's like dropping a stuffed bag of meat from a high spot. When it hits the ground, the bag breaks and the meat flies out. That's what happens to a human body, like a rag doll, it falls down, impact is made, and blood spurts out. It's...something, unsettling. Thankfully, I haven't seen that first hand, but video footage is still brutal. Oh and Robinson had a funny little line during the fall, “Oh I hope that's not a hostage.” My man, delivering those lines and being a bit funny.

The third scene I want to single out is McClane's breakdown. Again, I adore this movie, I love it, the rating I give this is high despite this growing grievance. I get that it shows vulnerability. McClane, after picking glass off his feet in a bathroom and talking to his gay buddy, gets emotional, requesting Powell to find Holly, which he says not to ask how, he'll know once he gets there (makes no sense), and tell her that he's said “I love you” to her so many times, but she never heard him say “I'm sorry.” So, tell Holly he said that he's sorry. Not that he loves her, but that he's sorry. That is worded awkwardly, the acting from Willis is pretty off the mark, and it just didn't work. Good on paper, bad execution. If it wasn't for Powell playing motivator and telling his lover to hang in there, then the scene would've been a total bomb. The more I watch that scene, the more I notice the low quality of it. This is a case of a bad egg not ruining the basket.

Despite not wanting to cover the plot, I pretty much covered every major scene. Despite saying I wouldn't do dedicated sections to characters, I pretty much did that, it's just that formatting isn't so clear. Similar to The Room, this movie just brings a lot out of me. Well, I'm just a long winded bastard, all my reviews are like this. Well, all the reviews I post. There are some movies where I can't be bothered to make long reviews about, let alone post about. For example, DarkWolf, I watched it last month and just found it very mediocre. I only watched it because there was a Power Ranger alum who got naked in that. To my surprise, Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th fame, was the werewolf in that. Well, the human form of that. Other than seeing him and seeing a hot nude body, it's just a total blah movie. The CG transformation sequence from human to wolfman was shit, the leads were boring. The dead body effects were nice though, and it did dawn on me that the whole section that contained the nudity was great, as there was a funny little Latino man. However, these are small aspects of a movie that was the epitome of bland horror. That's the extent of my review, to go any further would be a bit of a waste of my time.

The point is, great movies get me typing, as do shit films (Dragon Ball Evolution) and very contentious mixed bag films (2017 Power Rangers movie). This film is not only great, it's a masterpiece. I can keep talking about it, going into the IMDB trivia page, which is massive for this movie. I did that though in 2016, which it feels weird now to think that it was 2 years ago. Time really flies by. Anyways, I covered everything I wanted to cover, going into trivia would just be adding something I didn't originally intend for. This review is already long as it is.

In conclusion, Die Hard is my pick for best Christmas movie ever, as well as best action movie ever. To further clarify, I separate the action movie from martial arts movies, I don't bother comparing this to my favorite Jackie Chan movies for example. In terms of Hollywood action films, I'm more firm in saying it's the best of the best. I love Rambo, I love Commando, I love Taken, John Wick, the Bourne movies, but this particular film edges them all out. A big part of it really is the deep pool of memorable characters. They all are key ingredients to a main dish that already excelled in gun fights, explosions, blood, stunts, things that every growing kid needs in their action movie consumption. Die Hard basically wastes nothing with their many characters, creating a movie that is layered. Not in some artistic sense of being a deep, thought provoking movie. Rather, it being layered in offering laughs, heart-pounding moments, and a great showcase for so many acting talents, as well as the talents of crew members, the writers, the producers, and of course, the director. While Die Hard 2 is an awesome film and Renny Harlin did a great job directing, Die Hard 3 and its high quality proved that McTiernan was a major figure in making a classic action film, a classic Die Hard movie. Flipping it back to de Souza, he did help write the first two movies, but he wasn't involved in the third, so one can argue his charm and quality wasn't added to the third movie. However, that film's so good that it did just fine without his contribution, moreso than Die Hard 2 doing just fine without McTiernan's directing, if all that makes sense. This is a movie I've surprisingly enjoyed watching so many damn times since Christmastime 2015, and I believe this increased love for the movie will only sustain for the rest of my life. It's really a case of watching something so many times to truly appreciate it at the highest possible level.

Die Hard is pure class, it set the bar so high and made so many marks in action movie history. From the heavy load of supporting characters to the blue collar working man hero, to the British/general foreign bad guy with loads of intelligence, to a smarter and slicker edge. It's the pinnacle of action movies, and will now remain as an all-time favorite movie. The key difference between this and other action movies is simply wanting to thank everyone who contributed to this, rather than a select few, or even a bunch of people from other action movies. This was basically lightning in a bottle, and the magic was faithfully redone two more times, though of course not surpassing the original. Unfortunately, when the 90s ended, that lightning in a bottle goal was simply unreachable, and the last two Die Hard movies didn't reach those levels, couldn't reach those levels. With the fourth movie, it tried. The fifth movie however, didn't try at all, and is easily the worst of the franchise as a result. Anyways, I now stick with the first three movies, a grand trilogy for the ages. A movie that launched the film careers of Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman, thrusting Steven de Souza and John McTiernan to highly respected Hollywood people territory, getting Reginald VelJohnson's name out there and essentially setting up his own sitcom, that did get usurped, for the better, by one Jaleel White. A movie that redefined the action film, and just a super fun time watching it. This rating is well deserved, a true kick-ass classic.


PS: I was willing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Die Hard, but not celebrate Friday the 13th. Ah well, maybe next time. Referencing Kane Hodder in an off-topic way in the review actually should count as somewhat celebrating Friday the 13th, seeing as how he is the definitive Jason Voorhees, at least in my opinion. Anyways, I intend to watch certain movies in the near future that will have a pretty loose theme. That theme being that they star Power Ranger actors, it's a way for me to still talk about the series beyond the three theatrical films of that franchise. There's one movie in particular, that does star a Power Ranger actor, but I'll end up watching the whole series of films in that different franchise. That's more in the distant future, so I won't say what movie series is. Just that it will be a first time viewing. I mean, not really meant to build up excitement, just, I don't know, I feel like sharing it. I'm currently on a Power Rangers season that features an actor who was in a movie I've seen once that I really enjoyed. As soon as I finish this season, I'll watch the movie again, which I didn't put 2 and 2 together that this actor was in this film and Power Rangers. Also, that movie has another Power Ranger alum. Anyways, I'll watch and review that eventually.
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Old 07-15-2018, 11:41 AM   #11183
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Originally Posted by Oh hi Mark! View Post
Die Hard
I read to about the 13 paragraph and that's when I realized there are 100 more and I stopped reading.

It was like Jesus H. Christ on a bike moment!

But I still clicked Thanks for your effort.

Originally Posted by loosegoose View Post
The Ultimate Cut which includes an animated version of Tales Of The Black Freighter apparently goes for about three and a half hours.
The director's cut has more nudity!

I didn't much care for the Ultimate cut.

I have all 3 version.

Watchmen is one of the most underated comic books based movies ever and it's a case of you either love it or hate it.

I am surprised a sequel was never made.

I guess it's because it's too complex and people want comic books based movies that are brainless with nothing but big action sequences like the crap we have been getting in the past 8 years every year from several different comic books based film franchises.

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Old 07-15-2018, 06:19 PM   #11184
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Wink Ah go on, check it out and marvel at how shotgun pellets (For random example) in this film can travel over a four hundred yard distance

Originally Posted by Starkos View Post
Is that Max doing a cameo before his first meal of the day or AFTER his last drink ?
The fibs (Trails) keeps spreading of me occasionally sipping the odd AppleTeenie (Hold the teeny) , or not being an avowed Pescatarian (Which is tougher than it sounds given am allergic to fish) is fake news , fake news

Think the glowing reviews here have to be fake ,


I mean have you read them ?. According to many professional (Dem`lucky bastards) reviewers the film is a gritty serious empowering believable tale of rape and redemption.
When in truth it plays out more like a bloody (Oh and I do mean bloody) mostly always unbelievable black comedy.

On the subject of blood. Hands up who knows how many pints the human (Inhuman in my case) body holds ?.
Well the director disagrees. No he believes it`s a couple dozen pints or more.

Not that I`m dissing the thing. As if you take it for what it actually is, rather than what has been claimed. It`s extremely watchable funny.

Plus Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz is not only great performance wise but jaw dropping visually
My hypocrisy only goes so
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Old 07-15-2018, 08:48 PM   #11185
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Part 9 of my Jason Voorhees marathon os delayed as I have had to buy Jason Goes to Hell again

meanwhile ...... starting on

Subspecies (1991)

The king of vampires calls his two sons to their ancestral castle in Transylvania, the evil elder (and more gruesome looking) son Radu kills their father to obtain the Bloodstone, a mystic stone that contains the strength vampires can usually only obtain by drinking blood. The other brother Stefan tries to fight him but Radu is stronger.
A party of three female American history students arrive to add a touch of sex to the horror element

I love this series of films

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Old 07-16-2018, 12:03 AM   #11186
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Originally Posted by wildtig2013 View Post

Watchmen is one of the most underated comic books based movies ever and it's a case of you either love it or hate it.

I am surprised a sequel was never made.
I don't know. Unless you made it a prequel, with Dr Manhattan gone and Rorschach dead I'm not sure where you'd take it. But you're right it is hugely underrated. IMHO, after Psychokinesis, the best superhero film yet made.
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:26 PM   #11187
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Can a former FBI operative,now security consultant stop a group of terrorists and save his family from a beyond towering inferno?

One of the best things about this movie is that it doesnt horse around.If you want action it gives you action.One sequence was so thunderous and bad ass i almost applauded.Praise to the sound mixers/editors.
Dwayne Johnson has charisma and then some plus mix in some every man charm.
Im glad Neve Campbell wasnt side lined in the movie.She's given a nice foundation to work with.
The CGI generated tower The Pearl was a mixture of something from Krypton and Elysium.
The SFX were done well.This was the first time in awhile in which i said wow i wonder how this scene would have looked in 3D.Some good fights and kills throughout the movie.

The problems i had with the movie:I've said it before certain actors show up in a film and i know exactly what path they are going to go down which is usually a sinister one.
Ultra predictable turns and plotholes bring the film down a few levels.
A lot of the baddies are not given much to do and are just easily dispatched.
Some of the visuals were way off.There are huge leaps of suspension of disbelief.

This would make for a good rental and please do yourself a favor and watch it in 4K HD !!

Scale of 1-10 a 6 ½
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Old 07-16-2018, 06:56 PM   #11188
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Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)

The opening scene is almost like they were making a film about Jason as he is caught in the crossfire of a SWAT style ambush and blown to smithereens. The remains are taken to a morgue for an autopsy ... during the autopsy the separated heart starts to beat so if you were a coroner what do you reckon is the best thing to do, burn it, chop it up, pour acid on it .... er no .... you eat it
The film delves into the background of Jason, his family and his supernatural existence as a series of murders appears to be leading towards Camp Crystal Lake However, Jason is not the only psycho in the area.

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Old 07-17-2018, 02:35 AM   #11189
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Cloverfield (2008)

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Old 07-17-2018, 06:23 AM   #11190
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Originally Posted by Wendigo View Post
Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
Tried to watch this last night for the first time in mabye a decade as I just bought the unrated cut but the disk locks up every time I go to the play movie button on the menu.
I actually really liked this entry in the series in past viewings.
Its different for sure but it has possibly the best most decent acting cast of the franchise. Best gore, not the best but a solid Jason design & a great ending.
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