johnlink ranks DIE HARD (1988)

DIED HARD is a movie from my childhood. Used to watch it all the time growing up. It was interesting to watch it again, with a little more critical eye, and see that it holds up better than most action flicks of its era. The most ’80s things about it are the limo, the giant German bad guy, and the principal from THE BREAKFAST CLUB. Most everything inside the Nakatomi tower has a timelessness to it which helps elevate this movie to classic status.

I usually try to provide a spoiler free one-line synopsis of what the movie I am ranking is about. In this case, I won’t bother. If you don’t even know what DIE HARD is about, then I’m pretty sure you haven’t been a member of our society in quite awhile, and you probably couldn’t turn on a computer to read this ranking anyway.

I watched DIE HARD (1988) on 3.4.09. It was probably the twentieth(ish) time I’ve seen it.

NOTE: THIS RANKING UTILIZES THIS SITE’S ORIGINAL SYSTEMIC ARTICLE WRITING METHOD. THE METHOD BY WHICH THE RANKINGS WERE ARRIVED AT, HOWEVER, REMAINS THE SAME.

FILM

This gets a better score than it might because of the timelessness mentioned above. As an action film it succeeds in doing its job (so well that it has oft been imitated). As a moral compass or a social commentary, it’s fairly bland. It has something to say about media presence and one of its failings is the way it generalizes police ineptness. SCORE: 6

MOVIE

Surprisingly, this score is one tick lower than I thought. The end of the second act, with the police fumbling about, is actually pretty bland. It’s hard to imagine the police wanting to screw things up so badly and being so blindly ignorant. It actually takes away from the enjoyment of the film for a bit. But I’m being picky. Everything that happens inside the tower is highest level entertainment. SCORE: 8

ACTING

How does Bruce Willis get away with talking to himself so much? Bad actors do that all the time and look stupid. Bruce Willis makes it feel natural, even fitting. Alan Rickman (aka Snape) is one of the top few villains of all time. You see him thinking, pondering. You see how he doesn’t have zero regard for human life, but will kill anybody to give himself an advantage. Perfect hero/villain dynamic here. It’s the acting that happens outside the tower that hurts the score a bit. Reginald ValJohnson (from FAMILY MATTERS) is solid, but everyone is forced. SCORE: 7

WRITING

Again, if this movie just happened inside, it would be higher. But I’ve harped enough on the LAPD issues in this movie. Let me just say that the structure of this script is spectacular. The small details in the beginning find their payoffs (i.e. ‘fists with your toes’ culminating in having to pull glass out of his feet in the bathroom). I give it props for having a false death not involving the major villain. Don’t remember seeing that before. But the line about being okay with losing 20 to 25 percent of the hostages, which is supposed to be funny, feels extremely dated in modern times.  SCORE: 6

FINAL TALLY

FILM: 6; MOVIE: 8; ACTING: 7; WRITING: 6

6+8+7+6+0= 27

FINAL SCORE: 6.75


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~ by johnlink00 on March 4, 2009.

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