Not going into my full thoughts on DIE HARD (since I don’t feel like it), but I will note that I thought John MacClane’s central inner conflict–he’s a tough guy who, in some sense, felt emasculated by the career success of his wife–is a great one for an action movie. So many movies are action movies, and I think they struggle to find internal conflicts that really mesh with a movie whose primary mode is violence. For instance, yesterday I spoke about John Wick, where the main character movement was John’s attempt to properly grieve his wife’s passing. Now, it’s a pretty tortured line from “grieving your wife” to “murdering a hundred Russian mobsters.” (The genius of JOHN WICK is that it manages to draw that line for us, but still…)
Whereas in DIE HARD the throughline is a lot easier. Here you’ve got a guy who’s, in some sense, wondering if there’s a place for him in the feminized world of Los Angeles (in an early scene he gets kissed on the cheek by a guy at the holiday party, for instance), and he’s rapidly offered his answer: there’s always a need for someone who’s ready, willing, and able to kill people.
It’s not Shakespeare, but it makes for a pretty satisfying film.