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Die Hard
1988 - R - 131 Mins.
Director: John McTiernan
Written By: Steven E. De Souza & Jeb Stuart
Starring: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedalia, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason, Alan Rickman
Review by: John Ulmer
   
One of the most full-out action movies of all time. It had the best formula, the best dialogue, the best stunts, the best characters, and the best explosions. "Die Hard."

Bruce Willis plays John McClane, a recently divorced cop who travels to LA for the opening of his wife's new workplace, Nakatomi Plaza, owned by a rich Japanese man. His wife (Bonnie Bedalia) is happy to see McClane come, and we feel that they want to get back together. Perhaps this opening party will do it. But then it happens. As John takes a trip to the bathroom, a gang of terrorists (headed by Alan Rickman) take charge of the company building, demanding money. John hides out in the building and tries to think of a way to get the bad guys. They have no idea that John McClane is loose in the building, and only realize that someone is out there watching them when an elevator shaft is blown to pieces by Willis. Pretty soon, the LAPD, FBI, CIA, and just about anything with three or more letters is outside, and only one man has contact with John McClane from the outside - Reginald VelJohnson, a cop with a walkie-talkie.

This is, without a doubt, Bruce Willis' best film. By far. His personality fits the persona of John McClane. It's fun watching him, for once.

The formula for this movie is what makes it so great, however. Think about it. A man, trapped in a building with some bad guys; a one man army. The perfect action flick formula. But what makes it even better is the non-stop action and excellent, adrenaline-packed explosions and gunplay. People can criticize this movie for being unrealistic, but everyone needs an escape from reality once and a while. One of my favorite parts is where John grabs a fire hose from the top of the building, ties it around himself, and jumps off the edge of the building, smashing into the outside of the glass. Yes, it is very unrealistic, but I'll be darned if it isn't fun.


Reginald VelJohnson, of TV's "Family Matters," is perfect as The Cop on the Outside, having contact with The Man in the Inside. VelJohnson has mainly gotten supporting roles in films over the years. These credits include "Turner and Hootch," "Die Hard," and "Die Hard 2: Die Harder," which was more of a cameo than anything else. Regardless, he is a good actor, and it's too bad his career has been so bad lately that he has had to resort to his old days by re-doing his character from "Die Hard" by voicing him in a PC game. It's sad enough when actors resort to videogames, but it's even sadder when video games only want you because of an old character you have played and not because of you, yourself.

If action is your specialty, see "Die Hard" as soon as you can. And if you don't like action...well...there's always "Gods and Generals" for you!

 
Movie Guru Rating
A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic. A masterpiece.  An Essential film.  A classic.
  5 out of 5 stars

 
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