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Vulcan Stev Family movie review: Die Hard

Bruce Willis …  Officer John McClane
Bonnie Bedelia …  Holly Gennaro McClane
Reginald VelJohnson …  Sgt. Al Powell
Paul Gleason …  Dep. Chief Dwayne T. Robinson
De’voreaux White …  Argyle
William Atherton …  Richard Thornburg
Hart Bochner …  Harry Ellis
James Shigeta …  Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi
Alan Rickman …  Hans Gruber
Alexander Godunov …  Karl
Bruno Doyon …  Franco
Andreas Wisniewski …  Tony
Clarence Gilyard Jr. …  Theo
Joey Plewa …  Alexander
Lorenzo Caccialanza …  Marco

1988 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for violence and language

Plot synopsis from IMDb: Tough New York cop John McClane finds himself in a tight situation when an office building in Los Angeles is taken over by terrorists. Apart from himself, everyone else in the building – including his wife – is held at gunpoint while their captors spell out their demands. The F.B.I. are called in to survey the situation, but John McClane has other plans for the terrorists…

Vulcan Stev: 1.6 out of 2 pointed ears.

The film that made Bruce Willis a movie star, this is one of the first “violent” films I actually went to see in the theater.  I’ll admit to having a squeamish side (needles creep me out more than snakes do Indiana Jones), I don’t like the sight of blood and this movie has quite a bit.  Definitely a movie of its time period, the story still holds up and with a few minor rewrites the story could be told again today.  The violence is not overly gratuitous but it can be excessive.  The language on the other hand is a little too gratuitous, F-bombs abound.   The whole “terrorism is a front for massive theft” plot, although unique at the time, has been done to death (no pun intended) and in today’s political climate doesn’t seem quite as entertaining.

PIT #2:  1.2 pointed ears
Even though this is the first movie of the franchise, it is the last one that I saw (darn little brother watching movies on his day off from school when I’m not home).  The language was a little too gratuitous for my tastes.  The action seemed minor compared with what comes later.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
This was a cool movie.  I liked the fact that nobody believed him about the terrorists until they were getting shot at themselves.  McClane’s antagonism of the terrorists was also very cool.  I also like the fact that McClane is not above talking to himself.

4.8 pointed ears out 6
This is not a family friendly movie.  Language and violence are pervasive throughout.  The violence can be needlessly gory at times as well.  Older teens should have no problem with this flick but only you can determine what is appropriate for your family.

March 13, 2010 - Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , , , ,


  1. “This IS Christmas music!”

    Comment by Gary Weller | March 14, 2010

  2. Wow. I think this is a classic example of audience bias. IMHO, Die Hard is one of the great action movies. Great action, solid plot, and fantastic one-liners. Of course, I first saw it when I was in my late teens, and “family friendly” has never been a consideration for me. I will admit that it is bloody, and the language is coarse. When I first saw it, those would actually have been plusses in my hypothetical review. Even now, it doesn’t detract from the film.

    Another interesting element that the PITs probably don’t appreciate is that this was Bruce Willis’ very first action role. His only previous widely known role was David on Moonlighting, which was heavy on comedy but light on action. I recall that I was certainly skeptical that he could pull off a “tough” role. Now, that seems to be his default typecast. It seems like he can’t NOT play John McClane.

    Comment by Lugh | March 15, 2010

  3. @Gary – Word

    @Lugh – Yeah I’ll admit to audience bias, which is why I have the entire family work on these reviews. It always fascinates me what my kids’ opinions of movies actually are.

    Agreed about Willis’ other roles. PIT #3 has noticed that as well. He’s made the comment more than once on whether Bruce Willis has played anything other than “John McClane”

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 15, 2010

  4. Well, then, your next movie choice is obvious. The sadly under-rated Hudson Hawk presents a very different Bruce, much closer in many ways to David Addison. Though, due warning in case you haven’t seen it: It does contain a LOT of sexual innuendo. Not so much with the explicit language, and no nudity of any kind, but there are likely to be scenes and comments that aren’t entirely appropriate for younger viewers.

    Comment by Lugh | March 15, 2010

  5. @Lugh – I do remember Hudson Hawk. I’ll have to see if I can find a copy on DVD and we’ll get to work on that review. We’ve got the rest of the Die Hard movies coming this week

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 15, 2010

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