Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hans, Bubi: Happy Anniversary DIE HARD!

Twenty-two years ago John McTiernan's DIE HARD premiered to much skepticism. After the role of detective John McClane was turned down by seemingly every big name actor in Hollywood, the producers paid a then-jaw-dropping $5 million to Moonlighting star Bruce Willis.

We all know how this story turned out. DIE HARD became a smash hit that spawned three sequels, Willis became one of the world's biggest movie stars, and the pitch "It's DIE HARD on (fill in the blank)" turned into a cliché that resulted in flicks like SPEED (bus), UNDER SIEGE (boat), UNDER SIEGE 2 (train), AIR FORCE ONE (plane), etc.

I still remember checking DIE HARD out a few days before its official release. The studio was sneaking it at a local theater to help build word-of-mouth and the strategy worked. My buddies and I raved endlessly about the flick for the next 48 hours and even went to see it again opening weekend. And again and again after that. I'd guesstimate I saw DIE HARD about 15 times in the theater.

Hey, what do you want, I had a lot of free time on my hands in those days.

Thank you DIE HARD. Thank you for reinventing the over-the-top action film. Thank you for making it possible for films like HUDSON HAWK and THE LAST BOY SCOUT to get made. Thank you bringing us Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber. Thank you for being one of the single most re-watchable films of the last 25 years.

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