“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.” ~Hans Gruber
Welcome to the first article in the new Wednesday Warriors series where testosterone doesn’t take a day off, and guys wearing their hearts on their sleeves is an anathema. At least in the beginning—I’ll eventually have to talk about American Beauty’s Lester Burnham, but for now, let’s start it off with a bang.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a practical cop. His no-nonsense approach comes in handy when he visits his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) during her new company’s Christmas party. He just came off the plane with a lump in his throat. He never did like flying. One of the other passengers gives him a coping mechanism: walk around barefoot while curling your toes. Advice that comes in useful later on, yet for now, he can’t even find his wife in the company registry. Not until he searches for her under her maiden name Holly Gennaro does he find her.
Once at the gathering, the real party starts. Walking around barefoot, enjoying terra firma in his room, a team of terrorists takes over the building and holds the partygoers hostage—including Holly. John makes a mad dash to the upper floors of the building where he’ll plan his response. He must be kidding himself. How could he possibly beat a well-armed squad of killers barefoot? Yes, he didn’t have enough time to put on his shoes when he had the genius idea of leaving the confines of safety.
Which brings us to the inevitable statement the Die Hard series created—John McClane is the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nothing prepared him for what was about to happen next.
Hans Gruber (Harry Potter Professor Severus Snape‘s Alan Rickman), the leader of the terrorist group, sends a hit squad to eliminate their thorn in their side, John McClane (Roy Rogers as John so eloquently introduces himself with the series catchphrase). You probably know what I’m talking about without my repeating the words, of course.
When the supposed terrorists catch up with John, he manages to handle the situation his way—by the end of the barrel of a gun. This prompts the terrorists, who survive John’s onslaught, to march from an elevator while Holly looks on:
Ginny: [Karl smashes a table of glasses in fury] God. That man looks really pissed.
Holly: He’s still alive.
Holly: Only John can drive somebody that crazy.
If only the terrorists knew who they were dealing with, they would quickly make a beeline for the exits. This does not happen.
The conclusion sees all of them dead as John McClane emerges soaked in their blood while Beethoven‘s Ode to Joy plays in the background and the building burns to the ground—as with all true 80’s movies.
On a personal note, I don’t think a Christmas has gone by without Die Hard or Die Hard 2 making an appearance during the holidays. They’re that good. And why not? With the protagonist transforming himself into a reluctant hero, what’s not to like? He is a teacher to those who don’t know what to do with a bad situation.
His solution? Make it work.
[Author’s note: In celebration of the new Wednesday Warriors series, I’ve changed the header color to reflect the cool winter season. What’d y’all think?]
What do you like about John McClane? Which Die Hard movie is your favorite?
17 thoughts on “John McClane”
You know it.
Heh. It’s funny that the first two Bruce Willis movies I ever saw were The Sixth Sense and The Kid…so when people told me he was an action movie actor I was very confused, since I’d only ever seen him act in movies with kids. 😛
Great movie, and good timing–it’s one of my favorite “Christmas” movies. I’ve always been tickled by the fact that Hans Gruber sounds like Franz Gruber, who wrote “Silent Night.”
you know I was never a big fan of the 2nd movie… but the first and 3rd are amazing… 4th wasn’t too bad… but that last one was like a badly written spy movie that they just shoved Bruce Willis in so people will go see it… but that first one is so awesome… McClane can tear up some building that’s for sure… and I have to say you deserve a high five for being able to use the word ‘anathema’… you know I know these words but they never come to me when I’m writing… but I always appreciate it when people strive to use the full breadth of the English language…
The Nakatomi Plaza was actually the FOX building back in the day. The producers thought they’d save money if they shot on location at the studio headquarters.
apparently today has just been a day for learning interesting facts… somehow knowing things like that just makes the movie cooler…
Cool article, Jack! Ah, this is one of the ’80s action movies I’m not steeped in, but my FIL loves the series. I suspect the first movie is the best and is probably his favorite, too.
I thought the header was different, but couldn’t think why!
I’ve preferred Bruce Willis as he gets older and thought he was excellent in the two Red films. He comes across better alongside the likes of Malkovich and Mirren and wears his age well. I’ve never thought of Die Hard as a typical Christmas film. . . .
I just saw Bruce Willis in G.I. Joe Retaliation and thought, doesn’t this guy ever age?
Die Hard is so great, ditto Bruce Willis.
I like the header and the new feature. I’ll look forward to more Wednesday Warriors!
One of my favorite action movies. Think I have it tied for favorite Christmas movie alongside Gremlins. Really hard to say which is my favorite between the original and the third one. I was 8 and 10 when the first two came out, so I started in one the 3rd one. Can I call it a draw?
Die Hard is traditionally the only “Christmas” movie allowed in my presence. I love it. Most of the sequels can go pound sand, though…
Die Hard is also my favorite with Die Hard II coming in a close second.
Love the header! I would like to say I am not a fan the the ‘Die Hard’ movies but, well, I love a hero. The violence? off the chart, but so cool!
I loved the first Die hard movie. Hands down.