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Christmas movies don't come any tougher than this.

Bruce Willis is officer John McClane, an NYPD cop heading for the intimidating Nakatomi building where his wife (played by Bonnie Bedelia) works to try and patch things up marriage-wise. All goes according to plan until a group of bad guys led by Alan Rickman's cocky mastermind Hans Gruber waltz in and take over the skyscraper. McClane soon becomes the hostages' only hope as he tries to foil the big-time robbers' plans from within. What follows is an exciting and nail-biting one-man stealth sabotage mission complete with explosions, shoot-outs, punches and broken glass.

It's weird watching the original Die Hard after the likes of Live Free Or Die Hard because the first film really is in a different league, a different genre even. The first film wasn't about John McClane being this superman who can outrun planes and stop by Kevin Smith's house for shits and giggles: it's actually much grittier than that. What makes McClane an unpredictable challenge for the villains is his wise-cracking, no-bullshit attitude coupled with a tendency to do the unexpected. He doesn't always know whether his daring plans are going to work but luck is usually on his side so it usually works out, despite some cuts and bruises. Die Hard has a slow build-up but when the action gets started, it never stops. This is a tense movie with tons of suspense and unforgettable sequences so you'll never be bored. Die Hard 2 had its longueurs but definitely not this one.

Bruce Willis is in his element here as he gets the opportunity to kick ass as well as joke around, his McClane being both charming and tough, always getting the job done but never taking things too seriously. He's got good support from the likes of Reginald Veljohnson, who plays the only cop in LA who's not a complete douche and of course Alan Rickman who enjoys every minute of his iconic villainous turn. Hans Gruber really is one of cinema's great baddies: slimy, petty, cruel, not very good at pulling off a convincing American accent, he's the guy you love to hate. The film stands out as an action film thanks to its memorable characters, its suspenseful slow-burning plot, its witty script and its badass set-pieces. Die Hard is a classic and it's easy to see why: basically you've got everything you need here to have a good time and the filmmakers make the most of it. Sure the villains are stereotypically very bad and the good guys are almost too good but it doesn't matter, this is hardly the film to go to if what you're up for is subtlety.

If, however, you wanna see a guy jump down an elevator shaft and burst through a window barefoot then it's unlikely you'll do any better than Die Hard.

Yippee ki-yay!

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