Come out to the coast we’ll get together, have a few laughs. If only John McClane hadn’t listened to those words from his estranged wife. Of course if he hadn’t listed, we would never have experienced the epic events that transpired at Nakatomi Plaza.
Unless you have lived in a cave for the past two decades, you have probably seen Die Hard. If you haven’t seen it, you should just stop reading now and go out and buy it. The film was brought to life under the watchful eye of John McTiernan, you know, the man who also gave us Predator, Last Action Hero, and the ultra shitty Rollerball remake. On a side note, Mr. McTiernan must have taken notes from the villains in his films, as he is currently serving hard time. I know, it’s a shocker that some assclown from Hollywood actually got locked up. Fucking California. Anyway, back to the film. Now I know some of you out there may be asking yourself, how the hell is this considered a Christmas film? Well I am about to explain it, so sit back, grab some egg nog, and feast on a thousand year old twinkie.
We are first introduced to John McClane arriving at LAX to meet his wife for her employers yearly Christmas party. There you go, I told you it was a Christmas movie. Much to Mr. McClane’s surprise there is a limo waiting for him, along with America’s favorite chauffeur, Argyle. Argyle quickly gets to the bottom of Mr. McClane’s problems and offers to stay if things don’t work out between McClane and his wife. You’re a god guy Argyle. On another Christmassy note, we are treated to Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis during the limo ride to Nakatomi Plaza. Such a great jam for the holiday season.
After speaking to the front desk, McClane finds out his wife has chosen to use her maiden name, Holly Gennaro, and learns that she is attending the party on the 30th floor. McClane quickly meets Mr. Takagi and finds his wife. Now it is important to note that we are introduced to one of film’s biggest douche-bags ever during this scene. That douche-bag's name is Harry Ellis and he clearly has his eyes set on Holly. Just hearing him telling Holly to show John the watch he bought her makes me want to smash him in the face. Coked up asshole.
Here’s where is gets interesting. While everyone is having a good time kissing each other and downing martinis, Hans Gruber and his group of Eurotrash baddies have quickly taken over the building.
That damn Professor Snape! Oh sorry, wrong film. Gruber’s intent is to talk Mr. Takagi into giving him the combination to the vault in the building, so he can rob the place of non negotiable bearer bonds. Of course Mr. Takagi doesn’t comply and he is quickly shot in the face. I guess Han’s and his boys will have to do things the hard way. After witnessing Takagi getting his gray matter splattered all over a glass window, McClane resorts to running around the building trying to figure out what to do. He sets off a fire alarm, which is quickly radioed in as a false alarm. It’s a damn shame that Dalmatian didn’t get a kiss. Hans quickly dispatches one of his men to check it out. Of course we end up with McClane notching a kill under his belt. McClane’s first kill just happens to be uber baddie Karl’s brother, which sets off Karl’s need for revenge the entire film. Anyway, McClane picks up some detonators and a shitload of C4. He also now has a machine gun... ho, ho, ho.
The situation quickly escalates once Sargeant Al Powell shows up after McClane contacted the police on the dead man’s radio. Powell quickly checks things out and determines that it was a false call. As Powell leaves McClain drops one of the dead terrorists on his car and turns his police cruiser into swiss cheese. Welcome to the party Sgt. Powell.
The police and news crews show up and we are introduced to ultra douche Dick Thornburg and Deputy Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson. You may recognize William Atherton (Thornburg) from Ghostbusters.
He was an asshole in that film as well and I am pretty sure he still has no dick.
Of course we all know and love Paul Gleason (Robinson) as the principal of from The Breakfast Club. Unfortunately he can’t rack up detention on Hans and his crew. Anyway, as SWAT prepares to take the building by force, Hans readies his men. Ultimately the SWAT team stands no chance and McClane is forced to watch as Hans’ men hit the SWAT team’s armored vehicle twice with RPGs. A pissed off McClane takes drastic measures at this point and drops a shitload of C4 under a computer monitor down the elevator shaft. The resulting explosion will inevitably lead to the building needing a paint job and a shitload of screen doors. Of course McClane got two with that blast. All those poor people covered in glass outside the building. Really, who gives a shit about glass?
Here’s where Ellis steps back into the picture. This cokehead approaches Hans saying he can give McClane to him. Of course Ellis doesn’t know McClane from shit, but hey, he negotiates million dollar deals for breakfast.
Unfortunately for Ellis his conversation with McClane doesn’t go well and he is eventually shot. I would assume in the face. It is Han’s style. I guess good old Ellis couldn’t handle this type of Eurotrash. Every-one's favorite chief of police comes back into the picture after Hans makes some ridiculous demands. Of course this was all a ploy by Hans to get the FBI involved. More on the Johnson’s later. I wonder if they ever did release the members of the Asian Dawn Movement? Now we have Karl getting orders to hunt down McClane in order to retrieve the detonators and Hans heading out to check on the explosives the will be used to blow up the hostages on the roof. McClane and Hans finally meet face to face as Hans inspects the explosives. Of course Hans is a good little thief and uses the alias Bill Clay. McClane hands him a handgun, but much to Hans’ surprise it has no bullets in it. McClane immediately saw through that fake accent buddy.
Here’s where my favorite scenes in the movie takes place. Hans’ baddies led by Karl enter the room and pin down McClane in an office surrounded by glass panels. Hans orders his men to shoot the glass and McClane is left to wade through the sea of glass shards without shoes. Oh yeah, he also lost the detonators in the process of shooting the shit out of the room and taking cover. McClane makes his way to a bathroom where he is forced to remove large pieces of glass from his feet. It is here where we learned Powell shot a kid. Lets hope it wasn’t Urkel. If you remember I mentioned Agent Johnson and Agent Johnson from the FBI a little while ago. These guys reenter the picture as they are forcing the power company to cut the power. By cutting the power, the FBI inadvertently give Hans exactly what he wants. The time-lock to the final lock on the vault now has no power and Hans can finally get his paws on those bearer bonds.
McClane continues to run around the building wondering what Hans was checking on during their meeting a short time ago. He finally realizes the roof is rigged to blow. Lets not forget that Dick Thornburg is out there fumbling around in his pricky little world. He manages to find McClane’s kids and interviews them asking for their mommy to come home. Hans finally realizes Holly is McClane’s wife and quickly grabs her up while forcing all of the other hostages to the roof. Damn you Dick Thornburg! Damn you! McClane takes to the radio to warn of the roof being rigged to blow and half way through he is interrupted by a gun being shoved in his face. Now we finally get the Karl, McClane showdown. This fight is epic and ends with McClane wrapping a chain around Karl’s neck and hanging him. After recovering, McClane makes it to the roof to ask the other hostages where Holly is. Meanwhile the swinging dick FBI agents have taken to the skies in a helicopter Just like fucking Saigon!
Knowing that the roof is about to blow, McClane fires off some rounds to scare everyone back down off the roof. One of the Johnson’s (an awesome Robert Davi of Goonies fame) shoots at McClane and he is forced to jump off the roof with a fire hose tied around his waist. Of course McClane makes it just in time and the roof explodes taking out the Johnson’s. Poor guys. They looked like they were having fun. So we have McClane dangling off the building now. He shoots his way through the glass and makes his way to his finale with HANS!
McClane has two bullets left and two guys left to kill. How convenient! McClane shoots Hans in the chest and the other guy in the head. Happy trails Hans! In one last effort to harm McClane, Hans grabs Holly and drags her to the edge of the broken window. Guess what saves the day? You’ll never guess. Yep! Ellis’ watch! I guess it was a good thing that ass gave her the gift. After the watch is removed from Holly’s wrist, Hans falls to his death.
Thank god it wasn’t one of the hostages! Here’s where you think the film ends, right? Nope! McClane comes out of the building with his wife and finally sees Powell face to face. All of a sudden there is screaming. It’s Karl taking aim at McClane! Just when you think he’s going to shoot McClane, Powell raises his hand cannon and blows him away. What an ending! It doesn’t get much better than that!
Whew! That may have been one of the most epic things I have ever written. I want to note that I did not watch any of the film while writing this. That’s how much I love this film. It is without a doubt one of the finer Christmas films ever made and should be watched every year. The film has it all! Action, extreme violence, sex, blood, and for you softies out there, love. Run out and pick this one up on DVD or Blu-Ray if you haven’t already. Fans of this film know that it was followed up by three more sequels, all of which progressively got worse. Now there is another sequel in the works. Lets hope they get John McClane back to his glory days and make this one a R rated film. If I hadn’t spent too much time writing this thesis on extreme ass kicking I would have written you a review of one of my other favorite Christmas films, Die Hard 2! There is always next year boys and girls. Here’s hoping you wake up Christmas morning and find a copy of Die Hard under your tree. Yippee Ki-Yay Motherfuckers!
- Steve Johnson ( Icon Vs. Icon )