I have become aware in the past year that I have never watched any of the traditional action movies. My boyfriend, who happens to be an action movie enthusiast, was shocked to learn that I have never seen the Matrix, Terminator or Rambo. Since then, he has made it his prerogative to introduce the classics to me. So, last weekend his mom and the two of us hunkered down with ice cream, blankets and the first Die Hard.
My initial impression is that it is a total guy movie. First off, it’s a grown man’s jungle gym. Bruce Willis is seen climbing from floor to floor, even through elevator shafts to save his lady. My next point, spoiler alert: the guy gets the girl. All of John McClane’s ex-wife’s reasons for being opposed to him, seem to disappear after she is put in a dangerous situation that he saves her from vigilante style. This infers that a man only needs to impress his girl to get back on her good side instead of working through the obvious relational issues with persistence and time. Beyond this, there was a lot of fire, many explosions and numerous guns. Talk about typical guy themes!
My next thought is that the movie is slightly ethnocentric. Like many other movies from the ’80s, the bad guys were clearly foreign. The movie continued to point out that they were from somewhere else, which—to be fair—was relevant to the report and description of them. However, I am still inclined to believe that the writers were playing on the psychological tendency that people have to fear those who are different.
The last major thing that I noticed was the representation of the law enforcement. McClane is supposed to be an off-duty New York cop. In crisis he tries to get help from a less-than-helpful emergency line. Later it shows the police chief adding to the chaos as he blunders out orders. Even a helpful cop later says that he once accidentally shot a kid. In the end however, there is a strong sense of police comradery between McClane and the other cop that is a kind of badge bond.
To sum it up, I probably wouldn’t pick it out as a personal favorite, but it was interesting for a one-time experience. However, if you are into explosions or boyfriends who are, this might be your film!