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