Topic: Die Hard

Die Hard is one of those movies that I was surprised to hear was considered one of the all time greats, back before I had seen it.

As with Se7en and Alien, this movie is the grand-daddy of a whole genre, and a million little tropes that seem obvious today had to be invented for it. Enjoy this classic McTiernan flick to kick start your Down in Front holiday season.

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Die Hard

My retroactive correction for this movie is:

I referred to a certain actor as Ric Overton, his name is actually Rick Ducommun.   

Ric Overton is another fine character actor, but he ain't in this movie.    I got my Micks rixed up.

Also, I mispronounced the screenwriter's name as "De-SOWza".  For the record, it's "De-SOOza".  Please make a note of it.

Last edited by Trey (2009-12-13 20:05:42)

Re: Die Hard

Good, rough fun. Man, I love this movie... despite the awfully stupid cops.

Warning: I'm probably rewriting this post as you read it.

Zarban's House of Commentaries

Re: Die Hard

Watched this for the first time last night.

However radical, bold and impressive it must have been when first released, it seems dated in that 1980s Reagan-era far-right Republican way: the government law enforcement bureaus are useless, only a lone vigilante with a gun can get the job done, heroes are dumb working class all-American schmucks, while villains are culturally sophisticated and classically educated, due process of law is a waste of time. Bruce is the hero even though he killed more people than the bad guys did.

Anyway, it had frequent use of a trope which I don't think has been given a formal name but I've seen it everywhere:

The good guy is in a room and the bad guy is about to come in. There's a cut to the bad guy entering the room, and then another cut to the good guy who is now hiding in a completely different place, for example a closet in an adjoining room. The thing is, the good guy has had NO TIME to get to the hiding place as the editing cuts were done in real time.

Does anyone know if that trope has a name?

And just like that...

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Re: Die Hard

rtambree wrote:

Does anyone know if that trope has a name?

iiuc it's called a Howdy

as in Howdy DoDat  tongue

Jason doesn't teleport.

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Re: Die Hard

The original script for this, iirc, had the police and FBI being very professional and doing all the right things, only to find out that the criminal's plan intended for them to do that. Some of that is still in there, but once filming started the director decided to turn the cops into comedy relief.

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Re: Die Hard

Invid wrote:

The original script for this, iirc, had the police and FBI being very professional and doing all the right things, only to find out that the criminal's plan intended for them to do that. Some of that is still in there, but once filming started the director decided to turn the cops into comedy relief.

Sounds like the Joker in Dark Knight, that can anticipate what the Police will do several moves ahead.

And just like that...

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Re: Die Hard

Well you kinda can. It's called protocol. And I as far I remember government agencies believe pretty strongly in that sorta thing.

Last edited by BigDamnArtist (2012-04-22 00:00:09)

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Re: Die Hard

On the what makes Die Hard with a Vengeance better than Die Hard 2 has everything to do with coincidence and plausibility. In Die Hard 2, it's John at the center of a terrorist plot. Again. A ridiculous one. One that had no hope of working in the real world. And his wife is in one of the airplanes. And Carl Winslow, an LA cop, is also in DC. The lantern hanging of "how can the same shit happen to the same guy twice" line doesn't come close to covering it. The filmmakers banked on the hope that audience would just accept the replay of senario and enjoy the action and set pieces. Which I don't. Actually, I can't even tell you what the villain's goal was and I've seen that movie at least three times. I do remember naked kung fu though. Die Hard 4 basically has the same problems. The first one is about an average cop who is thrown into extreme circumstances. 2 and 4 just step over the line from what's an acceptable coincidence to the contrived. And now he's anything but an average Joe. He's an experienced badass by 4. Boring.

With a Vengeance, on the other hand, is far more plausible. John is targeted. He didn't stumble into a cab with Sam Jackson. He was forced into it. I'd also argue that it's the best entertainment of all the films. The action, puzzles, and comedy are top shelf. I like that Simon's mission to kill John is more of an aside. I always got the impression he did it to prove that he was better than his brother. He was a well developed villain. But that's me reading into the movie.

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Re: Die Hard

I saw this recent article and thought it was an excellent summation of what makes Die Hard so great, even all these many years later.

http://www.screened.com/news/seven-thin … hard/4440/

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. - Carl Sagan

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Re: Die Hard

I loved die hard the first time I saw it and still see it almost every year. Two things Ive learned that I found interesting were that the role of McClane was originally offered to Frank Sinatra, because of his movie the detective. The other thing was that the man who played Karl, the terrorist who wouldn't die, used to be a ballet dancer. I think this is the pinnacle of action movies because it has great moments of action. It has slower points so you can catch your breath, and this is the point it will make you laugh. It is probably the smartest action movie Ive ever seen as well. I know that doesnt mean that much though kind of like being the smartest kid who has to wear a helmet to school.

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Re: Die Hard

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Re: Die Hard

Some aspects of Die Hard I feel need to be mentioned more than they might normally be are the tempo of the film and the cinematography. Most Die Hard copies are amped up action films. Die Hard though is really a thriller at heart, and that is also enforced by the score which almost never strays into action score territory. The best word to use when describing Die Hard is tension, and lots of it. Not many contemporary films would be made in such a competent way that the scene where your hero is dangling from a machine gun in an airshaft is one of the best scenes in the film.

And Jan de Bont really knows his shit. The cinematography is superb, bordering on masterclass throughout this film. The anamorphic lenses alone are gorgeous and the use of lens flares are not overt, but used for memorable scenes. When I think of the scene where the vault finally opens to the tune of Ode To Joy, the first thing I think of is the camera push-in on Alan Rickman and a huge gorgeous flare (and a windmachine for good measure).

Personally I don't see how anyone, even those who watch this movie way after-the-fact, could not love it, because it really exels in all areas of filmmaking).

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Re: Die Hard

The audio file for this one is messed up.  I'm pretty sure the length of the file is correct for the movie but the actual commentary is fragmented and skips forward in time, similar to what happens to Bradley Cooper in Limitless.  I'm guessing you lose about 45 minutes of content because there's that much silence at the end of the track.

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Re: Die Hard

It's that time of the year again! I wrote this last Christmas, hoping to put the "Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?" debate to rest once and for all. Hopefully some of you get a kick out of it smile

Disclaimer: if you dislike the tone of a post I make, re-read it in a North/East London accent until it sounds sufficiently playful smile

16

Re: Die Hard

Ooh, also relevant is Marian Call's recently released song Christmas in L.A. (Yippee Ki Yay)

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Re: Die Hard

That is delightful! I warmly embrace this as a new Christmas tradition big_smile

Disclaimer: if you dislike the tone of a post I make, re-read it in a North/East London accent until it sounds sufficiently playful smile

Re: Die Hard

We all float down here...

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Re: Die Hard

The New-Yorker: I Watched “Die Hard” for the First Time

Interesting review, but ultimately a view of the film I strongly disagree with.

How does the elevator shaft scene make McClane superheroic? He almost dies here, and almost purely by chance manages to get a grip on a vent opening. The film makes a point of having McClane be resourceful, but human. He doesn't have a "spare, elemental power that disperses ludicrously when the police arrive". He gets things done while he can, but ends up out of his depth. Jeez, watch Die Hard 4 and you'll see a ridicously superheroic McClane.

I don't really like the second part about the pop-cultural references either. The author makes it sound like a completely commercial move and the product of a global wave of nostalgia. What if pop-cultural references are simply a way for the writers to ground their character in the real world? Make them a little bit less an entity of fiction and fantasy, but someone you can relate to more easily? The part about a common nostalgia for the fifties in the wake of the sixties is interesting, but I don't see how it applies to Die Hard. I don't like the underlying feeling of exploitation.

Last thing- the idea of a culture of violence and of violence as redemption. Die Hard is a violent film, there's no denying that. The way for the hero to move things forwards is to kill. But:

...it is only by means of his heroic effort to fight the terrorists that McClane saves his marriage, just as Al, through violence, saves his police-hood—in effect, his manhood.

I completely disagree. Violence is a side-effect arising from context. McClane doesn't save his marriage by shooting up bad guys. He saves it by coming incredibly close to death, which makes him reflect on his life and realize things. The bathroom scene, his lowest point - it's his moment of resolution. You don't see Holly hanging on to him like the original Star Wars poster, the damsel in distress who's looking up to the hero who just butchered a bunch of german thugs. They have a moment of crisis, fearing for their lives. Anybody will reflect on their life and put aside petty arguments in such moments, at least for a while. McClane and Holly are simply happy to be alive, and get a chance to work things out in a different state of mind from that moment on.
Al doesn't redeem himself by killing Kraut Jesus - again, context. He surpasses a fear, something that had been holding him back for years. It's a matter of self-confidence. Anyone here who has never experienced this? Didn't think so.

Anyway, thought I'd write these few words because this review challenged my view of Die Hard as a flawless and honest movie, but in the end, it remains unchanged and I think its author has a very biased look on it.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Saniss (2017-08-09 08:29:32)

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Re: Die Hard

I would love to jump in on this, but to be completely honest, I haven't seen Die Hard since the DIF, and I'm fairly sure I only became acquainted with Die Hard to record that DIF, so... yeah, I'm out.  neutral

Teague Chrystie

I have a tendency to fix your typos.

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Re: Die Hard

Nice to see this thread get bumped up, just because i love this movie so much.  It's nearly impossible to not see this movie through a 2017 lens if you haven't seen it before, so i can understand if it doesn't hold up to some.

and two things - possibly mentioned in the commentary, i can't remember, it's been a while since i listened.

one thing that always bothered me was the Die Hard 2 doesn't take place during New Years Eve.  one of the last lines in the movie is Argyle saying, "If this is Christmas, I gotta see new years!". 

The other is the shoot the glass scene.  the idea that the german terrorists don't understand "schieß dem Fenster" until Hans says it in english is just nonsense.  but you know what? i don't care.  i'll go to the mat for this movie....i'd guess along with every other 35-50 year old dude.

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Re: Die Hard

Saniss wrote:

The New-Yorker: I Watched “Die Hard” for the First Time

Interesting review, but ultimately a view of the film I strongly disagree with.

How does the elevator shaft scene make McClane superheroic? He almost dies here, and almost purely by chance manages to get a grip on a vent opening. The film makes a point of having McClane be resourceful, but human. He doesn't have a "spare, elemental power that disperses ludicrously when the police arrive". He gets things done while he can, but ends up out of his depth. Jeez, watch Die Hard 4 and you'll see a ridicously superheroic McClane.

I don't really like the second part about the pop-cultural references either. The author makes it sound like a completely commercial move and the product of a global wave of nostalgia. What if pop-cultural references are simply a way for the writers to ground their character in the real world? Make them a little bit less an entity of fiction and fantasy, but someone you can relate to more easily? The part about a common nostalgia for the fifties in the wake of the sixties is interesting, but I don't see how it applies to Die Hard. I don't like the underlying feeling of exploitation.

Last thing- the idea of a culture of violence and of violence as redemption. Die Hard is a violent film, there's no denying that. The way for the hero to move things forwards is to kill. But:

...it is only by means of his heroic effort to fight the terrorists that McClane saves his marriage, just as Al, through violence, saves his police-hood—in effect, his manhood.

I completely disagree. Violence is a side-effect arising from context. McClane doesn't save his marriage by shooting up bad guys. He saves it by coming incredibly close to death, which makes him reflect on his life and realize things. The bathroom scene, his lowest point - it's his moment of resolution. You don't see Holly hanging on to him like the original Star Wars poster, the damsel in distress who's looking up to the hero who just butchered a bunch of german thugs. They have a moment of crisis, fearing for their lives. Anybody will reflect on their life and put aside petty arguments in such moments, at least for a while. McClane and Holly are simply happy to be alive, and get a chance to work things out in a different state of mind from that moment on.
Al doesn't redeem himself by killing Kraut Jesus - again, context. He surpasses a fear, something that had been holding him back for years. It's a matter of self-confidence. Anyone here who has never experienced this? Didn't think so.

Anyway, thought I'd write these few words because this review challenged my view of Die Hard as a flawless and honest movie, but in the end, it remains unchanged and I think its author has a very biased look on it.

Thoughts?

My only real response on this is a general agreement, that violence is a byproduct, a result of consequences of choices, which is something that I actually find very refreshing in an action film. It doesn't feel like violence for the sake of it, but deliberate choices that are ramping up the stakes, that, honestly, John has little control over at first.

The other aspect is the fact that it isn't a redemption story-it's a story of vulnerability, perhaps symbolized best by John's bare feet.

I don't think its a perfect film, but I don't think it's the pure violence as that linked review discussed.

God loves you!

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Re: Die Hard

Shackman wrote:

Nice to see this thread get bumped up, just because i love this movie so much.  It's nearly impossible to not see this movie through a 2017 lens if you haven't seen it before, so i can understand if it doesn't hold up to some.

and two things - possibly mentioned in the commentary, i can't remember, it's been a while since i listened.

one thing that always bothered me was the Die Hard 2 doesn't take place during New Years Eve.  one of the last lines in the movie is Argyle saying, "If this is Christmas, I gotta see new years!". 

The other is the shoot the glass scene.  the idea that the german terrorists don't understand "schieß dem Fenster" until Hans says it in english is just nonsense.  but you know what? i don't care.  i'll go to the mat for this movie....i'd guess along with every other 35-50 year old dude.

I first saw all three Die Hard films in December 2016, when Saniss came to my place. We planned on watching them all and make a weekend out of it.

And you know what? Dated schmated. I loved 2 of them, namely Die Hard, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. Die Harder didn't sit as well, but I'll still watch it again.

Tomahawk Ellingsen

www.extendededition.net