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 [Warning: I am a swear face and so is Bruce Willis...and I quote him...consider your self warned]


With a receding hairline at about age twelve, Bruce’s first big movie was Blind Date with Kim Basinger and was on that show called Moonlighting with Cybill Shepherd.  We’re all glad he did Die Hard and became one of the biggest action stars ever. The Die Hard movies are made for a few reasons, but mainly for us to see a middle aged white guy kill terrorists. Well, they’re not always terrorists, but we’ll get into that.
These movies aren’t that relevant, they don’t ask hard questions and they don’t really encourage us to live our lives better.  But...we love them, so, they keep making them.
Let’s get right to it.

 

Click on the movie to read what I thought about it.

 

Die Hard (1988)

  • diehardDirected by John McTiernan
    • Other movies he directed: Die Hard with a Vengeance, Predator, Hunt for Red October, Last Action Hero, Thomas Crown Affair, 13th Warrior, and Basic (like I said, see that if you haven’t already)
  • Bruce Willis (Officer John McClane, you know him from being Bruce Willis)
  • Bonnie Bedelia (McClane’s wife, hm, I didn’t know this, she was in Presumed Innocent and Needful Things, two awesome movies)
  • Reginald VelJohnson (Sgt. Al Powell, you know him from Family Matters)
  • William Atherton (Richard Thronburg, you know him as the jerk in Die Hard, Die Hard 2, and Ghostbusters, he apparently played a jerk so well, people would throw stuff at him when the poor guy was just walking down the street. He assures us he’s a nice guy in real life...I have my doubts)
  • Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber, you may know him as Snape in the Harry Potter series, and no, I’m never going to write about that series, or perhaps in Robin Hood with Kevin Costner, or perhaps Galaxy Quest, or maybe you just know him ‘cus he has a great speaking voice...’cus he does)
  • Alexander Godunov (Karl, you might recognize him as the “other guy” in Witness, but he was really known for being an excellent dancer apparently)


Hans, bubby, had a plan. It was a good plan, it was to steal stuff from the Nakatomi Plaza and make it look like he was a terrorist, and then get a way with it with the help of the stupid FBI guys. Speaking of which, everyone in law enforcement in McClane’s world, even at the federal level, but especially at the local level, are completely inept except for McClain.
Unfortunately, the plan didn’t include an off duty New York cop who has mad moves like Simo Hayha. Ok, you don’t know who Simo is, and neither did I until Cracked.com wrote an article about him. But he was a Finelander who killed around 700 Russians during the 1939 invasion of his country...by himself, was finally shot in the head...thought dead...and then woke up.

During the civilian round up at the beginning, John is in the bathroom and is able to sneak away...but leaves his shoes behind. He kills several bad guys, checking for their shoe size, but they’re of course all too small. This leads to a slightly disturbing scene where McClane is required to run through broken glass in order to survive. Later, he wraps his feet with paper tower and tapes it, repels off the roof after being shot at by a helicopter, and holds himself up while holding onto a hose connected to the roof while “standing” on the glass windows with his bloody, cut up feet. This is the beauty of John McClane, he’s always bleeding, cut up, shot and injured half way through the movie and he still gets the job done.

During the movie he maintains radio contact with Sgt. Alan Powell, the dude from Family Matters, and they talk about Twinkies. Powell made an argument we were all thinking, that although the cops and the FBI guys have tried everything in the book, that McClane is more affective fighting the bad guys from inside the building than the on duty guys.

This movie is just plane fun all around, Bruce (yes, we’re on a first name basis) doesn’t disappoint, and Alan Rickman plays probably one of the coolest bad guys ever. I joke that this is my favorite Christmas movie, as it all takes place during the holidays. Bruce’s character in Last Boyscout said it best, “After you kill a guy, you have to say something cool.” And he does in Die Hard, probably one of the most memorable, dumbest things to say, “Yippie-kiyay, mother fucker”. And because of this new phrase, the world is just that much better.

 

Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)

  • diehard2Directed By: Renny Harlin
    • Other movies he’s directed: Cliffhanger, Long Kiss Goodnight, Deep Blue Sea
  • Notable Cast:
    • Bruce Willis (Officer John McClane)
    • Bonnie Bedelia (McClane’s wife)
    • Reginald VelJohnson (Sgt. Al Powell)
    • William Atherton (Richard Thronburg, A.K.A. the jerk)
    • William Sadler (Col. Stewart, you might remember him from The Mist, or The Shawshank Redemption, Demon Knight)
    • John Amos (Maj. Grant, you might remember him from the show Good Times, or Coming to America)
    • Dennis Franz (Capt. Carmine Lorenzo, he was also in City of Angels and Dressed to Kill, but he is better known as Sgt. Andy Sipowitz on NYPD Blue)
    • Fred Thompson (Trudeau, this guy has been in a lot of different movies, and in TV shows as well like Law and Order, but he’s also a Republican politician that ran for president at least once, so, you know, there’s worse things than being in a crappy sequel)


As far as sequels go, this one takes the cake for being so outlandishly unlikely that we stop caring and just enjoy the bad movie. McClane, this time, is at an airport for some reason and so is his wife.  She gets stuck on a plan along with jerk reporter Richard Thronburg. Terrorists, again during the holidays and again when McClane is conveniently around, attempt to hold the entire airport hostage in order to do...something. Honestly, that part is a bit fuzzy...and it’s been a while and I don’t really care to watch it again.
The main points are this, McClane beats the terrorists who are attacking during the holiday season, he gets shot, cut up, blown up, and bloody. He proves himself more capable than anyone else, and he says the tag line “Yippie Ki Yay, Mother Fucker”.  
Here’s some dumb trivia for you. Apparently, according to IMDB.com, John McTiernan (the director of the first one) had planned to do the sequel, but was busy directing The Hunt for Red October. Reminds me of what happened with the X-Men series. Also, after 9-11, Die Hard 2 wasn’t shown on TV for a few years, for obvious reasons. (If those reasons aren’t obvious for you, I’ll spell them out, the terrorists take over an air port AND jets, so, now you should get it).
This movie was pretty bad and not just because of the premise. The villains, story line, etc... were just not as fun as the original. The only thing this one had going for it besides Bruce Willis kicking ass were three major characters brought along from the previous Die Hard movie to retain continuity, namely the jerk, the wife and the buddy cop. We lost all of these in the third one, but we didn’t care and I’ll tell you why.

 

Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)

  • diehard3Directed by: John McTiernan
    • Other movies he directed: the good Die Hard movies (namely the first and the third)
  • Notable Cast
    • Bruce Willis (John McClane)
    • Jeremy Irons (Simon Gruber, you should know him, but if you don’t, he was the voice of Scar in the Lion King, he was in Appaloosa as the bad guy, Kingdom of Heaven, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Mission (yeah, remember that one?)
    • Samuel L. Jackson (Zues Carver, you should know him from being Samuel L. Jackson, or from Snakes on Plane, the dead black guy in Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, or as a Jedi from Star Wars, the pre-...*gag* quels. Also, if you haven’t heard it yet, look him up in YouTube reading “Go the Fuck to Sleep”, so freekin’ funny).


I heard a rumor that the script was originally intended for a Lethal Weapon movie, whether or not this is true doesn’t really matter, what matters is that McClane kicks more bad guy ass, and he does.  Except this time he has a side kick Zues played by Samuel L. Jackson, who, is a racist against white people and McClane calls him out on it towards the end of the movie.
Out of all the side kicks and helpers McClane ever had (including the 4th one), Zues proves himself not only quite helpful, but also enjoyable. The two play off of each other well and make for a good team.

But the most enjoyable element in this movie is the villain, Simon Gruber, brother of Hans Gruber, the villain in the first movie. Jeremy Irons plays Simon and does a VERY good job. The plot here is that Simon wants revenge for McClane killing his brother. But really, this is all a rues, Simon really just wants a shit ton of gold. This, in my opinion, is the most diabolical villain ever in the history of ever. He makes the protagonist, and everyone else in the entire city, believe he is taking the entire city hostage just for some revenge plot, when really he just wants money. Just freekin’ diabolical this guy, and Irons plays him perfectly.

Not only is this well directed with a good story, but it also ties into the previous movies with John McClane attempting to call his soon to be ex-wife, but then having to leave her on hold to get the bad guy. We didn’t have the three characters that followed McClane into the 2nd movie form the first one, but we don’t really care and it wouldn’t make sense to force them into this one anyway.

As always, McClane is ultra bloody and knows how to beat the bad guys better than the rest of the cops in New York even though he’s a washed up alcoholic. I can’t really remember if he says the line Yippie-Ki-Yay, but it wouldn’t have been missed since it was that good. I think there must be a formula somewhere, where if the Die Hard movie is good enough, you don’t need Yippie-Ki-Yay, but if it’s not that good, then you need it. This leads me to the fourth Die Hard.

 

Live Free or Die hard (2007)

  • diehard4Directed by: Len Wiseman
    • Other movies he’s directed: Underworld and Underworld: Evolution (ah, that makes sense)
  • Notable cast:
    • Bruce Willis (John McClane, you might know him as Demi Moore’s ex husband...on that note, how is it that he’s totally ok with the mother of his children being with Ashton? Like, he’s freekin’ John McClane, he would eat Ashton...I just don’t get it)
    • Timothy Olyphant (Thomas Gabriel, the bad guy. You might know him from The Crazies or that new show Justified).
    • Justin Long (Matt Farrel, you might know him from Accepted, or Drag Me to Hell, but most of you know him from the Mac commercials as the mac guy always making fun of the PC guy who never seems to work right. Weird that that guy can’t ever get his PC to work right, but I’m writing all of this on a PC, designed my website on a PC, edited and tweaked images on my PC, and PLAY COMPUTER GAMES on my PC...for a few hundred dollars less...)
    • Kevin Smith (Warlock, you know him as Silent Bob, but he’s also the director and creator of Clerks, Dogma, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and apparently Cop Out, among many others)
    • Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Lucy McClane, John’s daughter, you might know her from Death Proof, Final Destination 3, or may soon see her in a remake of The Thing (very excited for that) or the soon to be released, and I’m not even kidding, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter)

So...right away you will notice two things about this movie. It’s not directed by the good Die Hard director, John McTiernan, and that it’s not rated R, so there will be less blood, less violence, and no “Yippie-Ki-Yay mother fucker.”  That right there did this movie in.
Now, I’m not going to say that this was worse than the second one, but it wasn’t as good as the first and third either. One of the main problems was that they tried to be “relevant” or whatever by having John McClane fight cybercrime. Ugh, no. John McClane doesn’t fight cybercrime, he barely knows what a computer is.  If someone asked him to fix their computer, he would ask where he should shoot it to fix the problem. 
Now, this is not to say that cybercrime isn’t scary, or relevant, or real. With the recent hacks into Sony’s Playstation network and other very serious attacks, this is even more relevant than when this movie came out. And as you may have noticed, I’m an avid reader of Cracked.com, and they pointed out in this article that a fake attack was setup and they actually gained access to very sensitives information and control over things, shut other things down...well, read the article. Bottom line, yes this could happen because apparently the people running things in Washington believe the Mac guy who makes us believe we don’t need to know how computers work, we just need it to look pretty and for everything to be easy.

I don’t know why people keep on making sequels with a PG-13 rating when the previous one’s are rated R. This is a sure sign that the production company isn’t confident in the quality of the movie and want to open it up to teenagers who don’t know any better. The same thing happened with AvP.  In the unrated, DVD release, we get a bit more violence and the catch phrase, so... I guess see that version.  

I will say this, the fourth movie does a decent job in tieing in the rest with McClane’s daughter, and what’s her face does a good job. Plus, he takes out a helicopter with a car ‘cus he ran out of bullets. Yes, that happened, yes that was awesome. Here’s some dumb trivia for ya. Remember when McClane breaks the window with his gun to get into a car they need, and the whiney sidekick guy says something about trying the door first or whatever? Yeah, watch later when they’re going for a nice country drive and the window is magically back. Yeah....

 

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