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Die Hard starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman

Yippee-ki-yay Motherfucker!

Welcome to TwistedEdge's big, sweaty, manly and strictly heterosexual Die Hard review...

Die Hard starring Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman: Possibly the greatest action movie ever made

[ Transcript of online conversation ]
[ 6th July, 2:54am ]

Niall: Hey asshole, I got a suggestion for your shitty little website. You should do a review of Die Hard for that Death By Cinema section!

Dave: No chance.

Niall: What? Why?! Everyone loves Die Hard! It's really popular! If you reviewed it maybe people would actually visit your site. Face it, the only visitors your site gets lately are moths and rapists. That's because nobody's heard of the movies you review. Spring Break Shark Attack? Get real! Nobody's gonna Google that! Die Hard is awesome! DO IT!

Dave: No. Fuck off.

Niall: You high again or something?

Dave: Maybe. I'm not reviewing Die Hard. End of story.

Niall: Don't be a prick. People only visit accidentally anyhow because Google's convinced your site is a gay porn portal. A Die Hard review would actually make your site be read by viewers who don't have their own secret sex dungeon.
Dave: The reason I won't is because Death By Cinema is meant to highlight the worst movies in cinema history. It's like a Bulgarian snuff movie, but with films instead of people. Die Hard is an amazing movie. I'm not going to taint Die Hard's image by putting it amongst celluloid abortions like Hercules In New York. If Bruce Willis found out he'd actually fucking shoot me - he's that kinda guy.

Niall: Your second most popular article is about the world's longest shit. Don't pretend you have morals. Look, I'll buy you a beer if you do a Die Hard review.

Dave: ... Two beers.

Niall: Ok. Good. We have a deal. Seeing as how I'm funding this though, I want some input. There's a million shitty reviews of Die Hard out there already, but none of them know what really makes the movie so great. I want this review to be about why this low-budget action flick from 1988 is still the best God damned movie ever. Period.

Dave: What's not to love? It's two hours of Bruce Willis shooting the living shit out of Germans. It's like a Medieval death festival full of new and imaginative ways of murdering guys with mullets.

Niall: Yeah! You get it! Right, listen, I want the first section of my review to be about how the Germans get well and truly FUCKED in this movie.

Dave: You're the boss...

The Germans get well and truly fucked in this movie.

Dave: There's three things that every right-minded person hates:
Die Hard: The Germans really do get fucked in this movie
  • German people
  • Terrorists, and
  • Mullets.

The geniuses behind this movie knew what the people wanted, smashed these three things together, and gave it to us wrapped in an unstoppable orgy of violence and bullets. Director John McTiernan gives us all three in one, pits them up against a burned out, borderline psychotic cop, and invites us to marvel as the inevitable cluster-fuck of death and mayhem unfolds before our eyes.

Die Hard pits a likeable, down-to-earth cop (who just so happens to be an unstoppable killing machine) against an army of peculiar-looking, blonde-haired, blue-eyed, butch, muscular and well-oiled German supermen with mullets, knowing damned well which side we're going to be on.

The resulting extravaganza of blood and carnage is perhaps the most rewarding in cinema history, as our guy McClaine spends the next two hours shooting the living shit out of anything with the slightest hint of a German accent. Of course audiences worldwide loved this shit. What's not to love?
It's like a conveyor belt of angry, soon-to-be-dead Germans walking into the cross-hairs of American Justice. It's like a sequel to World War II, but set in the 80's, in a skyscraper, and with a more believable outcome. And possibly an even bigger explosion at the end.

And unlike many lesser action movies, it's not just the body count, violence or gore that set this movie apart. Most action movies are content for their hero to merely shoot the bad guy, mutter a cheesy one-liner, then walk away. But not Die Hard. No sir. This movie invents new and imaginative ways of disposing of its villains. It makes every corpse count. It's mass murder with style.

Niall: Lesser blood-thirsty action movies like The Expendables, Total Recall, Bullet To The Head or Spy Kids all rack up the corpses in the hundreds, but every single one of those deaths is forgettable. Die Hard has maybe 20 deaths, which other action movies would piss their pants laughing at. But Die Hard wins because every dead asshole gets killed in a particularly satisfying and enjoyable way. Some of the most memorable executions ever occur in this film. Like the "Ho Ho Ho" guy. His death is a work of art.

Dave: Imagine the scene - our hero is trapped upstairs in a skyscraper filled to the brim with homicidal German terrorists. What's worse, possibly the blondest of the lot is hot on his tail, armed to the teeth. He probably has a name, but I'm going to call him Jurgen.

“Nobody is coming to help you. You might as well come out and join the others. I promise I won’t hurt you,” says Jurgen while loudly flicking the safety catch off his automatic high-powered machine gun. He then immediately follows this genius facade by leaping round a corner and firing half a magazine of bullets into thin air. McClaine lures this bumbling schnitzel-enthusiast into a trap with about the same difficulty as Michael Jackson lured kids. Jurgen’s immediate capture leaves only him surprised.

Now at this point, with the suspect cornered and a gun to the guy’s head, pretty much any cop in the world would try to arrest or restrain their assailant. But that would be seriously un-American. Besides, this is an 80’s action movie. An 80’s action movie starring Bruce Willis. Where would be the fun in that?

Jurgen, showing all the raw intelligence of a mongoloid with a concussion, doesn’t seem to understand that though. “You wouldn’t hurt me,” he says with a sly look on his chiseled, Aryan features. “You’re a policeman. There are rules for policemen.”

“Yeah?” smirks McClaine, “so my captain keeps telling me!” He then proceeds to pistol-whip the bad guy, spreading the virtues of Truth and Justice the only way he knows how – with some serious old-school police brutality. Fuck it, here's a montage...
Die Hard: Everyone loves a good montage...

A rather impressive and realistic fight scene breaks out, in which we discover Jurgen has a few sly moves of his own. He smashes McClaine head-first through a wall, through a shitload of conveniently placed metal racks, before the two of them stumble backwards into a stairwell, down the stairs... until we hear poor ol’ Jurgen’s neck snap like a dry twig.

Now at this point, with the battle won and his prey dead at his feet, 98% of action movie cops would be satisfied, leaving things be with perhaps nothing more than a cheesy one-liner for our troubles. But not John McClaine – he does things properly. That’s why he’s a true American Hero.

In the true spirit of Xmas our hero decides to send the bad guys a little present. He straps the dead guy to a chair, writes the now-famous phrase “now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” in massive letters on the guy’s shirt – in his own blood no less – then sends him downstairs in an elevator. The looks of panic and fear on people’s faces are just priceless. I really do like to see a deranged killer taking such pride in his work.

Compare high-quality, refined deaths like this to the slew of bullshit, anonymous deaths in other 80’s action movies like Commando – a film where the kills matter so little they couldn’t even be bothered with blood packs – then you begin to see why there’s such a big fuss about this movie. The director John McTiernan goes to lengths to make every brutal, bloody death count – and we thank him for it.

Incidentally, the “now I have a machine gun, ho ho ho” bit is so famous you can actually buy commemorative t-shirts with that printed on. Go ahead, buy one, because there obviously isn’t enough novelty bullshit already floating around these days.

Having a mullet guarantees you a glorious death.

Niall: The death above pales in comparison to the death of Jurgen's older brother (yes really) who is also on board the Bad Guy Train Of Destruction. Some people prefer big brother's death to Jurgen's famous Ho Ho Ho death, and they could have a point.

Dave: Die Hard goes to great lengths to prove to the world that it is NOT okay to have a mullet, as evidenced by the entertainingly spectacular death of... I can't remember this guy's name either... so I'm going with Stefan.

Our scene opens with Bruce Willis / John McClaine caught and held at gun point. This is after his Blitzkrieg of death has nearly been completed, during which time McClaine has managed to lose more blood than all the victims of Jaws put together. (He's also lost his shirt, which is something every action hero is programmed to do). Stefan, despite having him dead bang, decides not to win but instead to follow bad-guy tradition and have a Monologue instead.

Despite English obviously being his second language, Stefan seems medically incapable of shutting the fuck up. He talks long enough for McClaine to gather his senses, wriggle free, make a basket full of sandwiches, punch him and escape. The two adversaries then go about proving their heterosexuality by pounding the living crap out of each other...

80's movies had a big hard-on for montages, and so do we...
If anyone can think of a better sound effect than 'DONK' please email in.
Bruce Willis doesn't hate Germans. He just shoots them.

Unlike Jurgen, big brother Stefan really does know how to fight, stunning McClaine with some impressively brutal Ninjitsu kicks to the face. McClaine could probably have blocked these, but seeing as how his main hobbies seem to be Bleeding and Getting The Shit Kicked Out Of Him, we're not surprised he doesn't.

A big fight follows in which our valiant hero gets kicked through numerous conveniently placed barrels and receives blows that would shatter any human being's skull numerous times - including a rather impressive leaping jump kick that put Ralph Macchio’s jump kick at the end of Karate Kid to shame.

Naturally McClaine gains the upper hand due to him having rocket fuel in his veins rather than blood. To be honest, Stefan's upper hand lasts about as long as a pensioner's erection. He knocks Stefan over and begins bashing the guy’s head against the ground over and over again, happily playing Basketball with the man’s scrambled brains. They fight back and forth, up some stairs, until they reach some conveniently placed chains hanging from the ceiling. McClaine quickly wraps these round Stefan's neck, then hangs him. No warrants, no arrests, no Miranda rights, just a brutal and savage Medieval execution - for this is the American way.

Niall: Words can't begin to describe just how hardcore this guy is though - even with that ridiculous mullet glued to his skull. Despite being beaten to a pulp, hung to death and left for dead, naturally this isn’t enough. Later on half the skyscraper explodes, bringing countless tons of rubble down on what's left of our relentless bad guy. But even this won’t stop him popping back up at the end of the movie. The movie's token sidekick black guy calmly guns him down, however, and rest is history.

Dave: Yes, other movies may have more hardcore novelty deaths. But the way in which Die Hard actually spends time building up believable characters makes us care when they're in peril, when they're in danger, and when they're about to start blowing shit up for no apparent reason. Most action movies give us shitty characters with bad dialogue, drop them right in to the action, and expect us to care. Die Hard gives us a fully-formed, well-acted and three dimensional character, then spends half an hour of the movie letting us get to know him. He's believable.

Niall: Compare that to Arnie's character in Commando. Or Sly Stallone in the Rambo sequels. You forget those assholes as soon as you leave the cinema. Yet every knucklehead alive knows John McClaine - why do you think every bastard and his boyfriend turns out en masse to see every shitty sequel?!

John McClaine: A hero we can believe in.

Dave: Let's face it, Officer John McClaine must be the unluckiest man alive. Despite being just a lowly police officer he saves up his wages for months to fly all the way across America, hoping to make up with his estranged wife, choosing to drop in on her at her work's Xmas party. The poor man's sleep-deprived, hasn't showered or shaved since forever, and smells like John Candy's ass crack on a really hot day. Having dropped all his cases and put his life totally on hold, he arrives thousands of miles from home with a skull-shattering case of jetlag, gets lumbered with literally the most annoying limo driver in the history of mankind, then realises the ungrateful bitch hates his guts, has changed her name, and worst of all is sporting the most hilariously bad 80's hairstyle imaginable.

That's not to mention the coke-addled love rival with the incredible beard. (He deserves a special mention).

Oh, and just to top things off, he's just happened to stumble across the only Xmas party in the whole world that's about to be invaded by a battalion of psychotic, aryan maniacs who are armed to the teeth and intent on genocide.

We feel for John McClaine. We really do.

It's not just his situation though. Unlike many of the bullshit, macho supermen that other lesser action movies parade around as their hero, John McClaine could actually exist. He could be out there in real life somewhere, stomping the faces of criminals and spreading the cause of American Diplomacy in his wake. It was this refreshing lack of bullshit which endeared him to millions of fans around the world. Plus he was the only action hero of the time who didn't smell of lotion.

You see, something went badly wrong in the 80s. The no-nonsense, strong and silent killers the 70s gave way to a seemingly endless series of oiled up, tanned, pampered and primmed nancy boys - guys who were too busy flexing their muscles and brushing their hair to concentrate on kicking ass and taking names. Action movies became more about being fabulous than fearsome, more about cock rather than carnage. By the mid-80s the typical action movie contained more gratuitous male flesh than even the most imaginative gay pornography. Women existed only to be kidnapped rather than being objects of desire. And catching the bad guys seemed secondary to focusing on long, flowing hair, spandex, ripped biceps and maybe a wailing guitar or two in the background. Even Mel Gibson came out of this looking like an extra from a shampoo commercial.

I mean seriously, here's some of the ridiculous shit hitting our screens around the same time as when Die Hard was released:

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator
No.
Dolph Lundgren in Rocky 4
Christ no.
Carl Weathers in Rocky 3
Erm... no.

Sylvester Stallone in Over The Top
The look on his face says it all. No!

Sylvester Stallone and Carl Weathers showing their unbridled heterosexuality by dancing in the ocean in Rocky 3
Christ almighty no.
Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones
No! And for Christ sake buy a vest!

Sylvester Stallone training for either Rambo 3 or Rocky 3
That's just terrifying. No!

?!?!?!
Erm...... ???
Jean-Claude Van Damme in his underoos and possibly Kickboxer
For fuck sake NO!

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan The Barbarian
No. No. No. And a lot more NO.

Dolph Lundgren in Masters Of The Universe
No! Wrong! Wrooooooong!
Jean-Claude Van Damme in... perhaps the most terrifying and sexually threatening picture we've ever seen
AAAAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!
Bruce Willis in Die Hard
See the difference?
Dave: So many movies of that mind-numbingly terrible decade forgot that they're supposed to have us focusing on the action, not the warm embrace of the hero's muscular chest or the rough yet tender feel of the hero's strong, powerful hands. It should be about body counts, not bubble bath.

This is specifically why Dolph Lundgren had to wait until 2010 before one of his movies was watched by an audience not entirely clad in leather trousers and smelling of talcum powder.

Bruce Willis didn't need a six-pack, massive shoulders, ripped pecs, big shiny arms or a bottle of baby oil to become a legend. He became one of the most recognisable screen characters of all time with little more than a filthy vest, a pack of smokes, a gun and a fuck-load of ammo. He's killed more people than Mad Cow Disease and Smallpox combined and spawned 4 highly successful sequels, all without looking like a pin-up from Gay Times magazine.

The careers of Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Lundgren and Co. all died by the mid-90s because of their refusal to stop looking like Mickey Rourke's character in The Wrestler.

Bruce Willis, however, is still going strong today.
Niall: Well done dickhead. Have you SEEN this page now? You've turned my Die Hard review into an International Nipple Festival, you clown. What the hell is wrong with you?! Why does EVERY page on your website have to have a picture of Dolph Lundgren with his fucking shirt off?! Why?! WHY?!?!

For Christ's sake man, change the subject! Quick!

Two words: Hans Gruber.

Niall: Without a doubt Alan Rickman steals this movie. His performance as the head honcho bad guy Hans Gruber is not only legendary but is - without question - the best bad guy performance ever.

Dave: Rickman plays a villain so cold, calculating and cool that we wonder if there's liquid nitrogen in his veins. He not only plays it with style, charisma and panache, but nails it to the point where he's created arguably the most memorable bad guy seen anywhere in the 80s. I'd even go as far as saying Hans Gruber is the most famous German of all time - quite an achievement considering the motherfucker's fictional.

Niall: Even with a ridiculous 80s beard and a German accent that somehow sounds 100% English, he hits the ball out the park. Every movie critic in the world collectively emptied their nutsacks over the towering greatness of the performance. But out of the thousands of reviews of Die Hard floating around online, few of them manage to describe quite why Alan Rickman / Hans Gruber is so God-damned cool.

Dave: This is because Gruber reaches new stratospheric levels of cool which surpass the mere confines of the English language, making it near-impossible to put in to words. We'll try though...
Having created a rough, crass and foul-mouthed hero, the writers needed the perfect opposite as his foil. Enter Hans Gruber.

He's concocted the perfect plan, having spent years putting every minute detail in place. He's hired a crack team of only the blondest, most fabulous Germans to carry out his daring robbery of $600,000,000 from the Nakatomi Corporation's high-tech vault. He's just one night's work away from having enough cash to buy a whole fleet of nuclear submarines, putting him firmly in to Bond Villain territory.

A lesser villain would lose his cool, cracking under pressure when the corpses of henchmen start piling up in the dozens, or when the building he's robbing begins to explode in an apocalyptic mushroom cloud of C4, or when his plot begins to unravel thanks entirely to one under-paid cop in a dirty vest. But not Hans Gruber. This guy's so cool he could make the sun freeze over.

Not only that but everything he does is performed with a level of style that would make Liberache scream with passionate envy. The man exhibits almost Brando levels of cool, class and sophistication.
Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in Die Hard. Cold as fucking ice.
Take for instance the scene where he's face to face with Joseph Takagi, the chief of Nakatomi Corporation. He's offering a life or death deal - either hand over the vault codes and live, or get your brains splattered all over the conference room doors. Most would resort to anger or violence - not Hans. He takes pride in his work, taking the time to discuss men's fashion and tailoring with his captive, admiring the man's suit. "Nice suit. John Phillips, London. I have two myself. Rumour has it Arafat buys his there." Now if lines like that don't bleed pure cool through every pore, I don't know what does.

Niall: Have you ever been to John Phillips in London? I have. It's fucking expensive. Hans Gruber clearly doesn't mess around.

Dave: Did you see Arafat there?

Niall: No, idiot. The man's been dead since 2004.

Dave: Hans wants people to know he's well above your standard thief or terrorist. He's a classier breed of bad guy - the creme de la creme. Takagi asks "You want money? What kind of terrorists are you?" Gruber, oozing with charisma, simply smiles and replies "Who said we were terrorists?" Naturally though Gruber dispenses with the pleasantries and blows Takagi's brains out, because he is a bad guy after all. "I wanted this to be professional. Efficient, adroit, cooperative, not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life." Again, smoother than a porn star's gash.

I also like the scene where he's negotiating with the FBI in order to buy time, and throw them off the scent. How? By demanding the release of terrorist organisations he's never even heard of. And if in doubt, he's got the stones to just make shit up on the fly: "The following people are to be released from their captors: In Northern Ireland, the seven members of the New Provo Front. In Canada, the five imprisoned leaders of Liberte de Quebec. In Sri Lanka, the nine members of the Asian Dawn movement..." "Asian Dawn?" mouths Stefan with a confused look on his face. "I read about them in Time Magazine" quips Hans with a smile. Even Darth Vader didn't have the nuts to pull off a move like that.

Not only is Hans the smoothest motherfucker this side of Samuel L Jackson, but he also takes down the whole FBI and city police department with all the ease of swatting a fly. They try cutting the power, he just laughs it off, having anticipated this move as standard text-book procedure - and uses the power-cut to get past the vault's high-tech security systems. The Feds bring in a helicopter with a huge machine gun on the side? Hans simply moves the hostages to the roof and uses them as human shields. Easy. SWAT team trying to storm the building? No problem - Hans already has his highly trained Aryan killing machines in position, allowing us to wallow in his glory as the finest police strike force money can buy are left bloodied and screaming on the Nakatomi front steps.

Shit out of luck and fresh out of options, the cops even try ramming the building with a fucking tank. Hans laughs, mutters a few words into his walkie talkie, then a hired goon with a God-damned bazooka is in place. Two shots from that, a glorious mushroom cloud of fire and Christ only knows how many millions in property damage later, and the FBI are left practically begging for mercy.

Like the ultimate chess master, Hans Gruber is always one step ahead, and runs circles around a whole city's police and the FBI without even breaking a sweat. No matter how many anonymous, soon-to-be-cannon-fodder cops are thrown at him, he dispatches them in bloody, extravagant style without even ruffling his beard.

How then, you may be wondering, does the expert plan of this unbeatable super-villain come so spectacularly unstuck, simply via the interference of one wise-cracking cop? Simple. John McClaine is American. Very American. Extremely American. If John McLaine were any more American he would literally sweat bullets and shit bald eagles. Hans Gruber, and all his infinite hired guns, resources and ideas, is still German.

And as anyone who's ever seen an action movie knows, if you're German, you're fucked.

If John McClaine were any more American he'd literally sweat bullets and shit bald eagles
If history has taught us anything, it's that if you're in an action movie, always bet American.
Yippee-ki-yay Motherfucker!

In conclusion...

Dave: In my short but colourful lifetime I've sampled some of the finest things this world has to offer, such as:

  • Fine Parisian champagne
  • A grilled shark steak, caught that very morning
  • A case of rich single malt whisky dating back from when Elvis was not only alive, but skinny
  • The finest china white cocaine
  • A ride in a Ferrari prototype so cutting-edge it didn't even have seats in it
  • Pizza that had seventeen different types of cheese on top
  • Niall's mother
  • The warm yet oddly moist embrace of the late Rodney Dangerfield
  • A second helping of Niall's mother

None of the above, however, had the same impact as this film did. I have yet to experience a more pleasurable movie-going experience than Die Hard. To say that this is the greatest action movie ever is to state the obvious. It is like what Tyson was to Heavyweight boxing. It's like Godzilla vs Tokyo. It's like John Candy vs pies. Compared to a towering bohemoth like this, other lesser action movies don't stand a chance. Not only did this movie's greatness set up Bruce Willis's career for the next 30 years, it also set the benchmark against which all other action movies are measured.

Niall: And yes, all the other action movies are found badly wanting. Die Hard simply fucking rules. Need we say more?

This movie contains the following chunks of wholesome goodness...

Dave: Here's some content symbols for you to feast and ravish upon. For an insight into our ratings system etc click here. This movie contains generous amounts of:

Badass
kung fu.
Dead Germans.

Fashion
suicide.

More dead Germans. Macho bullshit.
Violent death. And even more dead Germans.            


The score...

Niall: Well? What's the verdict? What score you gonna give the best action movie ever?

Dave: No idea. Normally for Death By Cinema I'd rate a movie by how many bottles of Jack Daniels (out of 10) it would take for the emotional scars to heal. Like this:

However that's just not going to cut it for a movie as good as this. Die Hard really is greatest action movie of all time. It's only here really to point out what a great movie should be like, to shame the other movies featured on this crappy little website.

So Christ knows what I'm going to put. God knows how to score this one.

I'm... erm... fuck it.
Other websites have imagination. We have kittens instead. Do you like kittens?
Here's a cute picture of a kitten instead.

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Mini-update:

A "fan" of our site emailed in to ask about the cool-looking machine gun that Stefan is pictured holding. The gun in question is a rather excellent piece of killing technology called the Steyr AUG. It is the Rolls Royce of automatics, and the crown jewel in the collection of any aspiring maniac. Built with the very best in Austrian manufacture, and made with murdering efficiency in mind, this truly is the choice of Cultists, Revolutionaries and medium scale Drug Kingpins everywhere.

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Click here to see the barrage of other crap we have lying around