The Story So Far

by Alan Rapp on June 26, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

In 1988 Bruce Willis starred in a action flick which changed both his career and the formula for this genre.  Die Hard became an instant hit, and remains so today (ranked #155 on IMDB’s Top 250 Films of All-Time).  From that point other films “borrowed” the formula to give us Die Hard on a Plane (Passenger 57), Die Hard on a Boat (Under Siege) and Die Hard on a Train (Under Siege 2: Dark Territory), among countless others.  So with the dormant franchise that spawned so many imitators getting a new lease on life in Live Free and Die Hard out tomorrow (come back for our review) we thought we’d take a look back at the first three films in the series and give you a look at the story so far…

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Die Hard

NY Police Detective John McClane (Bruce Willis) travels to Los Angeles to reconnect with his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia).  At the company party terrorists arrive and take everyone hostage.  McClane manages to loose himself in the building, call for backup, and spends the night discovering the terrorists real agenda and killing them off one by one until the final showdown with the mastermind Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman).  Great supporting performances from William Atherton as a slimy reporter, Paul Gleason as a schmuck of a Deputy Police Chief, and Reginald VelJohnson as Sgt. Al Powell, the only friend McClaine has on the outside.  Memorable for many moments including McClane toying with the terrorists, the revelation the terrorist are in fact bank robbers, the ill-fated FBI team of Johnson (Robert Davi) and Johnson (Grand L. Bush) – no relation, a lesson why you should always wear shoes in public, and the famous catch-phrase “Yipe-Ki-Yay, motherfucker.”

 


Die Hard 2

Shaking of the ridiculous promotional title of “Die Harder,” and an overly convoluted conspiracy plot with unnecessary twists, the second film in the series finds McClane working in Los Angeles as a cop and on Christmas vacation with his wife’s family in Washington.  Waiting for his wife’s plaine to land McClaine uncovers a merecnary plot to take over the airport runways and force the release of a Latin American drug dealer (Franco Nero) whose plane is secheduled to soon arrive.  Though not as good as the first film, it does have built in suspense as McClane is forced to stop the terrorists, led by a former military hero (William Sadler), before his wife’s plane runs out of fuel and crashes into the earth.  Nice supporting performances from Dennis Franz as the pain-in-the-ass airpot cop and John Amos as the military commander brought in to deal with the situation.  And don’t forget the stun-gun scene between Atherton and Bedelia’s characters miles above the ground.


Die Hard: With a Vengeance

The third film, and the last entry into the franchise for a dozen years, finds the once great hero down on his luck, separated from his wife, and back in New York.  With the help of shop owner (Samuel L. Jackson) McClane is forced to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with a mad bomber who has placed a bomb inside a school somewhere in the city.  As McClane and Zeus are sent on mindless errand after errand, and the police scattered across the city looking for bombs in schools, the villain (Jeremy Irons) pulls off a heist of the Federal Gold Depository and laughs all the way home, except for the fact he can’t seem to kill McClane who keeps surviving his traps!  A good film with some intriguing plot twists and a nice return to the swerve bank robbery formula of the first film.  Memorable moments from the film include the revelation of the true identity of Simon and the reason behind his hatred of McClane, the many riddles Willis and Jackson have to solve and some fun buddy-cop moments between the pair, and a chase scene which involves garbage trucks.

 

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