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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Die Hard - An Unconventional Yuletide Classic

Updated: Apr 9

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Released 07-22-1988

Watched 05-28-2023

Reviewed 06-29-2023

Watched on Amazon Prime Video

"Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."

In the annals of action cinema, few films have impacted the genre as substantially as "Die Hard." Directed by John McTiernan and released in 1988, the film boasts an impressive list of merits. Among them, it catapulted Bruce Willis, erstwhile television star, into the pantheon of big-screen action heroes. Willis delivers a compelling, wry, and audaciously resilient performance as John McClane, the gritty New York cop thrown into a most precarious Christmas Eve.

Die Hard's dialogue is another of its shining attributes. Laced with humor, tension, and memorable one-liners that have since seeped into the fabric of pop culture ("Yippee-ki-yay..."), the film's script weaves a narrative that is as engaging as it is invigorating. The interplay between characters—especially between Willis' McClane and Alan Rickman's dastardly yet urbane Hans Gruber—bristles with an energy that keeps viewers riveted from start to finish.

In terms of plot, Die Hard stands as an exemplar in action storytelling. It's a taut, high-stakes tale of a lone hero pitted against a building full of formidable adversaries. Each twist and turn is designed to keep you on the edge of your seat, and it does so impeccably, delivering an effective blend of suspense and excitement without ever feeling convoluted.

However, where Die Hard truly excels is its action scenes. These sequences are deftly choreographed and shot with a visceral intensity that not only heightens the drama but also accentuates McClane's odds-defying resilience. From firefights to explosions to a nerve-wracking crawl through ventilation shafts, each action set piece is a thrilling spectacle that still holds up even decades later.

And then there's the controversy that perennially swirls around Die Hard: is it a Christmas movie? To some, the debate may seem frivolous, but it underscores how Die Hard has become more than just a film—it's a cultural phenomenon. For me, the answer is unequivocal 'yes'. Despite its carnage and mayhem, Die Hard exudes an undeniable yuletide charm. Its story unfolds on Christmas Eve, its soundtrack sprinkles in holiday tunes, and its themes of resilience, reconciliation, and underdog triumph echo the spirit of the season.

All in all, Die Hard is a masterpiece of action cinema. Its innovative storytelling, razor-sharp dialogue, captivating performances, and adrenaline-fueled action scenes not only make it an exhilarating watch but also a film of enduring cultural relevance. And yes, it is most undeniably a Christmas movie—albeit one with a distinctive twist. So here's to Die Hard, a five-star spectacle that deserves its place in the holiday viewing rotation alongside the more traditional festive fare. Yippee-ki-yay, indeed!


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