One of the greatest action movies of the late 1980s, DIE HARD ushered in a new standard for the genre. With the dissolution of the Cold War, both the stereotypical Russian threat (represented in movies such as TOP GUN and RED DAWN) and the destructive egoist (as seen in OCTOPUSSY) became less fearful. With DIE HARD, director John McTiernan introduced Hollywood to a new type of villain: the terrorist entrepreneur. Alan Rickman stars as Hans Gruber, a relentless businessman whose lethal tactics achieve his goals. Unlike most '80s film villains who committed globally dangerous acts for liberty, genocide, or megalomania, DIE HARD's Gruber uses guns, explosives, and cunning to storm the Takagi Corporation's Christmas party and heist millions of dollars from the company. In addition, DIE HARD also saw the development of the clumsy or bad luck hero with John McClane (Bruce Willis), a man in the wrong place at the wrong time who chooses to intervene. Action fans would see this misfit hero archetype again in UNDER SIEGE (Steven Segal) and THE PHANTOM MENACE (Jar Jar Binks). Although DIE HARD contains many action movie cliches (one-liners, pyrotechnics), it also broke new ground in its genre.
A New York City policeman, John McClane, visiting his estranged wife and two daughters on Christmas Eve, joins her at a holiday party in the headquarters of the Japanese-owned business she works for. But the festivities are interrupted by a group of terrorists who take over the exclusive high-rise, and everyone in it. Very soon the cop realizes that there's no one to save the hostages -- but him.
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