Die Hard

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox Movie (2)

Die Hard is an action film released in 1988, written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Sousa, starring Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, Alan Rickman, William Atherton, directed by John McTiernan. It was a smash success that started a subgenre of films unofficially nicknamed "Die Hard in a..." where a solitary hero fights a deadly cat-and-mouse game against a group of villains in an isolated building or large vehicle. The film features Willis as a sympathetic hero with typical human weaknesses, unlike the Übermensch heroes typically played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It revitalized Willis' career, giving him more credibility in action and dramatic roles, and helped Alan Rickman become a popular player of villains in American film.

The movie is based on a 1970s novel by Roderick Thorp titled Nothing Lasts Forever, itself a sequel to the book, Detective, which was previously made into a movie starring Frank Sinatra). The novel's hero is Joe Leland, a cop who is in a Los Angeles skyscraper when a terrorist named Tony Gruber takes over the building, with his daughter in it. Leland must battle the terrorists and rescue his daughter. Many parts of the movie are very similar to the book, despite the years that passed between the book's publication and the movie's 1988 release.

The film has spawned two sequels, Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995). The fourth film in the series, currently in production, is titled Die Hard 4.0. In Die Hard 4.0, John McClane will not be a cop, his eldest daughter will have a prominent role, and the plot may include themes of information warfare. A previous attempt at a fourth Die Hard eventually evolved into Tears of the Sun.

The popularity and impact of Die Hard on the action genre has also led to the coining of the phrase "Die Hard on/in a...", often used when casually referring to action movies of a similar "one man versus the bad guys" plot. For example, the films Under Siege and Speed were both described by critics as "Die Hard on a boat" and "Die Hard on a bus".


The film opens with New York City police detective John McClane coming to Los Angeles to reunite with his estranged wife, played by Bonnie Bedelia, for the 1987 Christmas holidays. He meets her at her place of work, a large office building called the Nakatomi Tower, which is in the middle of a Christmas party. After an initial meeting which included strained greetings with her boss (Joseph Takagi) and an oily colleague (Ellis), the couple have an argument over their separation and her decision to be addressed by her maiden name "Gennero." Holly rejoins the party while John stays in a room kicking himself for picking a fight with his wife.

Unknown to them, a gang of terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, invades the building and seizes control of the security and communication systems, isolating them from the outside. Then they take the entire staff of the Nakatomi head office as hostages and take the regional director Takagi for some private business. Once alone, they reveal that they are not terrorists, but actually criminals who are posing as terrorists in their plan to steal $600 million worth of bearer bonds from the Nakatomi Plaza's main security vault. When the director refuses to give the access codes to the vault, he is shot dead with a headshot and the gang implement their secondary plan to break into the vault. Secretly, they are also planning to murder all their hostages with explosives in a cold-blooded scheme to fake their deaths in order to hide their escape.

John McClane manages to slip away and, shoeless and armed only with his police Beretta pistol, tries to call for the authorities. When he pulls the fire alarm, the gang detects it and call the fire department to report it as a false alarm. One member of the Euro-terrorist gang is sent to investigate and kill the meddler, but John kills him instead as they roll down a flight of stairs together. Grabbing his two-way radio, McClane desperately calls for help from the roof, but the police don't believe him and are more concerned about him calling in another false alarm from the same location. Only when the police hear automatic-weapons fire as three of Gruber's minions attack McClane do they respond. Unfortunately for McClane, Gruber's gang overhears this attempt and already have a member in the lobby to pose as a security guard to divert investigators.

While McClane is fighting for his life, Sgt. Al Powell played by Reginald VelJohnson is sent to investigate the building and is fooled into thinking all is in order, because one of the terrorist is dressed as a security guard at the front desk and informs him that all is well. After killing two more members of the gang who storm into his room while he tries to break a window to signal Officer Powell, McClane learns to his horror that the cop - his last chance to get help - is leaving the scene. In one last desperate effort, McClane throws one of the dead criminals on top of Powell's police car, forcing the cop to call frantically for backup as the terrorists scare him away with gunfire.

Missing image
Nakatomi Tower (in real life actually known as Fox Plaza)

With proof of a terrorist attack, the LAPD respond in full force. However, this was part of Hans Gruber's plan, and he intends to manipulate them into helping pierce the vault and set up their escape, as will become apparent later. The problem for them is that John McClane, upon seeing the incompetence and overly-cautious attitude of the LAPD caused by hard-headed police chief Dwayne Robertson, begins to fight the terrorists from inside. McClane has taken the detonators for the explosives that were in the possession of one of the slain gang members. What follows is a cat-and-mouse game as Hans Gruber tries to implement his group's plan while recovering the detonators and simultaneously trying to stop McClane from interfering further.

Eventually, after numerous deadly engagements during which Powell is McClane's only ally among the authorities, Gruber recovers the detonators after an ambush in a computer lab where John frantically escapes from. McClane figures out their plan which involves blowing up the roof with the hostages on top. Fighting off a martial arts terrorist (Karl) by strangling him, John drives the hostages off the roof and barely manages to escape himself when Gruber sets off the explosion. In an exciting scene, John jumps from the roof with a fire hose tied around his waist. The FBI cuts the electrical power to the building, allowing Gruber's gang to bypass the last electromagnetic seal on the vault. Meanwhile, an irresponsible TV reporter finds out about McClane's activity in the building and goes to his children's home for an easy news story. This alerts Gruber that Holly, who wisely hid her marriage to John from him, is Johns wife by seeing her in a picture along with the kids shown on TV as "McClane's children". He deduces that she is an ideal hostage.

The film climaxes with a battered and beaten McClane confronting Gruber one last time. With only two rounds in a gun hidden on his back, McClane manages to kill two of the remaining three gang members, including Gruber, and rescue Holly.

Hans Gruber falls from the window but takes Holly with him. McClane rushes to save her and manages to hang on to her, while Gruber aims his gun in an attempt to finish them both off. Gruber hangs on by Holly's watch and so McClane undoes the watch causing Gruber's evil smirk to disappear into a flash of terror as the villain falls to his death from the 32nd floor window.

External link

he:מת לחיות ja:ダイ・ハード sv:Die Hard


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