Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Before Die Hard Bruce Willis was barely known and struggling as an actor. However, the success of Die Hard made him one of the biggest names in Hollywood over night.
Using his frankly cocky charm he breathes life into New York cop John McClane, who is visting estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) at her office in Los Angeles, on the same night the skyscraper is taken over by German terrorist Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his twelve cronies (Clarence Gilyard Jr, Alexander Godunov, Bruno Doyon, Hans Buhringer, Gary Roberts, Andreas Wisniewski, Wilhelm von Homburg, Lorenzo Caccialazna, Gerard Bonn, Rick Ducommun, Al Leong and Dennis Hayden). While the staff - stayng late for the office Christmas party - are held hostage, McClane (who was in the bathroom when the terrorists turned up) is off running around the partially incomplete tower, picking off the terrorists one-by-one and trying to get the whole of the LAPD and FBI to come and rescue the hostages and take out the terrorists.
Director John McTiernan (who already had 1987's Predator under his creative belt) packs the skyscraper adventure with gunfights, explosions and non-stop relentless action as McClane (who could be seen as an antihero due to his smoking, constant swearing and bloody dispatches of the terrorists) listens in on the terrorists' walkie-talkies to try and figure out what their horrific plan is.
Along with writers Jeb Stuart and Steve DeSouza (adapting a Roderick Thorpe novel) McTiernan successfully redefines the action genre as a one-man-army. Willis makes his way through a series of clever setups - when he goes barefoot at the start to combat jet lag, you know his feet will be prominent later, and they are, gettier bloodier and bloodier by the second as they go over sharp metal and broken glass. His vest gets dirtier and dirtier by the second, going from white at the start to dark brown with splashes of red by the end. And his only pal is a single LAPD sergaent (Reginald Veljohnson), with whom he communicates by radio, while all other cops and federal agents are either too ignorant or too trigger-happy to realize what's happening.
Superby acted by Willis as a guy who would rather be somewhere else McClane became a hero for the '90s, who re-utters his "yippee-ki-yay motherf***er" catchphrase in three sequels (1990, 1995 and 2007). Rickman, however, steals the show as Gruber, making Gruber cold-hearted, cunning, spiteful, sadistic and seriously bone-chilling, and in him creating, in my view, one of the best antagonists of all time. Carried by the two actors from start to finish Die Hard is a true rollercoaster ride of a film, that, more than deservedly, has become one of several films between 1985 and 1995 that "redefined the action genre".
Stars: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald Veljohnson, Alexander Godunov, Clarence Gilyard Jr, Paul Gleason, Hart Bochner, Robert Davi, James Shigeta, Bruno Doyon, Hans Buhringer, Gary Roberts, Andreas Wisniewski, Wilhelm von Homburg, Lorenzo Caccialazna, Gerard Bonn, Rick Docommun, Al Leong, Dennis Hayden, William Atherton, De'voreaux White, Joey Plewa Taylor Fry, Noah Land.
Oscar nominations: Best Editing (Frank Urioste, John Link), Best Visual Effects (Richard Edlund, Al DiSarro, Brent Boates, Thaine Morris), Best Sound Mixing (Don Bassman, Kevin Cleary, Richard Overton, Al Overton), Best Sound Editing (Stephen Hunter Flick, Richard Shorr).