HOLLYWOOD—It has been debated for years, but I am here to say it once and for all, “Die Hard” is absolutely a Christmas movie. Why? Hello, it does take place during the Christmas holiday and while it’s an action movie who is to say the flick has to be all warm hugs, giggles and everything Christmas? I for one enjoy the fact that the flick is not your typical Christmas flick.
For years, I have watched “Die Hard” every Christmas Eve while wrapping Christmas presents to prepare for the one holiday during the year where we spend money like crazy. I wouldn’t really say the movie places me in the Christmas mood, but its nostalgia. It reminds us all that sometimes not everything is going as perfect as you expect or want it to, but in a high-octane, action-packed extravaganza starring Bruce Willis as the great John McClane.
John McClane is indeed a classic; a hero who you expect and delivers on multiple fronts and is NOT afraid to drop a few f-bombs and break the rules along the way. This movie works so well because the narrative is direct, not overly complicated and gives the audience exactly what you want in a movie; a hero you root for and a villain who is iconic, as depicted by the late Alan Rickman in Hans Gruber. Rickman balances being true villain with wit and frustration that excels throughout the movie, as the hero puts a ripple in his plans.
A group of terrorists, one cop, what could possibly go wrong? Everything people and John McTiernan stages that action to epic proportions as a vast majority takes place inside a high-rise building as a group of people celebrate Christmas with an office party. In the midst of festivities kicking off, Hans and company take over and a bold move is made that informs the audience our villains are not messing around, but in comes John to place a ripple in the mix and from there on out it’s a game of cat and mouse.
“Die Hard” does remind you of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holiday with Reginald VelJohnson’s character just wanting to get home to his pregnant wife, but finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and gets thrown into the mix and becomes an ally to John McClane in his mission to take down the terrorists.
I will admit the setting of Los Angeles doesn’t place you in the Xmas mood, but I think that’s the point of the movie to place you in a setting that doesn’t feel like Christmas, but as a result you feel like it is indeed Christmas. Pesky reporters trying to get the scoop, an epic climax and iconic ending that has one of the most infamous lines of dialogue in movie history.
That third act really propels the Christmas theme in my opinion because it ties up all the loose ends and gives the audience that ending we want with a few surprises along the way. Now if you were to ask me if “Die Hard 2” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance” are Christmas movies? My answer would absolutely be NO, even though the sequel is set during Xmas time again and we actually get snow, it just does scream Christmas like the original people.
I know there are plenty of people who feel like the need to get into the Christmas mood involving watching “A Christmas Story,” “It’s a Wonderful Life” “Christmas with the Cranks,” “Home Alone” or some actual Christmas movie, but sometimes it’s a classic that breathes more life into the Christmas spirit than you think and “Die Hard” the 1988 action-flick is at the top of my list people.