These movie flat-out rock. Even #2, which is kind of cheesy and only rates 2 stars, is well worth watching. Weird, even though the series started 22 years ago, I’d somehow missed the whole thing. Until now. Will post a review a day for the next four days to avoid the wall-o-text effect.
#1, Die Hard: 4 Stars.
NYC cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) jets out to LA at Christmas to make up with his estranged wife, a bigwig exec. He’s limmo’d from the airport to the wife’s work Christmas party, a pretty swank affair in her company’s new skyscraper. Euro-trash bad guys move in, cut outside communication, and now McClane has to (a) get word to the local cops, (b) minimize trouble to the party guests, and (c) stay alive while doing all of this. Lots of action, cat-and-mouse games, outright puzzles for McClane to solve, and wisecracks that became the trademark of the series. (The quip “Welcome to the party, pal” has become universal shorthand for “Now that you’ve been whacked with a clue-by-four, thank you for finally waking up to the situation.”)
So why 4 stars? Because McClane uses his brain, uses his brawn, and just doesn’t quit, ever. A shining example for us all. That, plus Alan Rickman in the role of the head bad guy Hans Gruber held the trophy for Best Bad Guy Ever until Heath Ledger as Joker finally took it from him. Yeah, Rickman’s Hans Gruber is that good.