Yea I know this is late but what the hell. Die Hard, oh boy. Since this thing has been analyzed to death by many many people that are all much smarter than I, all I have to offer are these small number of items I noticed upon re-upping this past Christmas season. And by the way, it really is possibly the best action movie ever made. It’s not necessarily my top favorite but it certainly has such tremendous presence and near flawless execution that I can’t help but feel like a wide eyed excitable little kid every time I throw it on.
Alright enough of that shit, here are some pointless thoughts:
- McTiernan and de Bont’s camera movements are really crazy at times. The camera is very graceful with easy flowing maneuvers, even during the action scenes. The movie feels big and the way it was shot has a ton to do with that. But the movements never call attention to themselves. They interact beautifully with the actors, the tone of the scene, the sets, etc. It’s hard to give examples on this in writing but just keep this note in the back of your mind next time you watch.
- There’s a lot of lens flare in this film and honestly I’m not really a fan. It may not be J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) level but there’s a whole bunch.
- Two of the bad guys survive this fiasco. Of course we know Theo gets knocked the fuck out by my man Argyle (De’voreaux White (Trespass (1992))). But there’s also the guy that gets knocked to the ground spilling bonds across the floor by McClane right before he faces Gruber. I bet those two assholes went to jail.
- When Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson (Die Hard 2)) is checking out the lobby of Nakatomi there’s one shot where he starts to walk down the hallway to the elevators but stops because he figures he’s seen enough. On the left side of the screen there’s a blurry image of one of the bad guys holding his gun waiting for Powell. I never noticed this nice detail before. Maybe it was because of the pan and scan VHS tape I had all these years and this time I saw it on glorious Blu Ray where now I have the full frame? I dunno.
- Ellis is a coke man. He not only does coke but he also drinks a Coke when he attempts to negotiate with Gruber. I’m sure I’m not the 730 millionth person to pick up on that shit.
- Gruber hums Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” while riding in the elevator with Joe Takagi which plays later at full blast when they finally break into the vault. And in that same scene when Gruber comments on Tagaki’s handsome suit he mentions that he hears (Yasser) Arafat buys the same brand. At this point in history it’s an interesting dated reference.
- This year I got around to reading “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Roderick Thorpe which Die Hard is based on. Admittedly it took me a little while to get into it but I have a hard time reading fiction in general. About a third of the way through though I was captivated. The similarities and differences were fascinating to uncover. This isn’t going to be a book review or comparison of any sort but I do wanna point out that this picture owes everything to Thorpe’s novel. Not only the basic premise but numerous details were taken from the book including bare feet, “now I have a machine gun”, Christmas, dumping a dead body out the building, tossing plastic explosives down an elevator shaft and a lot more. I think I have to agree with practically everything the film changed though, which was a good goddamn chunk of stuff. The movie is more fun with a lot of humor that was added and a lot of horrifyingly brutal deaths being left out. The book gets very political as well but in sort of an ambiguous way. Thorpe throws so much out there for you to ponder with regards to the actions the characters take without making a clear judgment. But if you’re as big a Die Hard fan as I am (and I think you might be if you read this far into the piece) I would recommend picking the book up.
Well we made it through another year guys. Not sure about you but it was a weird one for me. Anyway, I hope you had a good holiday and that New Year’s is a blast (please be safe, don’t rob a money train or nothin’). I’ll catch you on the flip side. Take care now. Bye bye. See ya. Later.