The granddaddy of a whole genre of action films still remains sharp, tough, and exciting. "Die Hard" spawned its own franchise and influenced other action movies, providing reviewers with easy catch phrases like, "Die Hard on a boat... plane... mountain" and more.
Few of the spin-offs were able to match the sublime blend of ironic humour and suspense of the original. Thankfully few imitated the vest-attired style of Bruce Willis, a New York cop visiting his estranged wife in LA at her work Christmas party. This shindig is being held at the skyscraper headquarters of a major Japanese multinational. It's the type of outfit that attracts both large amounts of money, and criminals to steal it.
Of course the night that Willis is in the building is the same night Alan Rickman and his henchmen roll up to relieve the corporation of all its money. It's bad news for all concerned as Willis proceeds to pick off the men one by one, while putting himself in some perilous situations.
It's the classic plot hook of one man against many, right against wrong. But "Die Hard" is more layered than your average action movie. The bickering newscasters, the friendly patrol cop whose career is slipping by, the chauffeur driver who remains oblivious to the calamity around him. These are all nicely crafted characters that lend a little depth and warmth to a violent film.
Willis proves an excellent casting choice as a sardonic action hero. Director John McTiernan keeps the pace up around him, and ensures maximum suspense from the many well-executed set pieces.
Read a review of "Die Hard 2".