Yippie Ki-Yay!

When I found out they were doing a Die Hard marathon with all 5 movies (including the new one!), I could not pass it up. Die Hard is simply one of the greatest action films of all time. For a while, it was the standard by which you measure all other action films - Speed? Oh, it's Die Hard on a bus. Air Force One? Die Hard on a plane. Paul Blart: Mall Cop? Die Hard in a mall. I will admit that I love the original Die Hard and its sequel, Die Hard 2. Most Die Hard fanatics will say Die Hard 2 wasn't that good, but I loved how they pretty much stuck to the formula from the first movie and placed it in an airport. I have only seen the third and fourth movies a couple of times - so it was nice to see those again, especially on the big screen. It was certainly an awesome day!

But it didn't start out so great - first I was going to an AMC theater I don't normally frequent (and which is a bit more ghetto than what my fine, sophisticated tastes require). And then they said they were having a problem playing the first Die Hard! So! We watched the second one first and then the third one. They finally got the first one working, but we had to go to a different screen to view it! And the sound was a little wonky - the gun shots sounded like pop-cap guns and certain scenes were missing musical cues. The fourth was okay and then the new, fifth Die Hard came on and that was an experience. First the screen was lower so that the bottom part of the film was cut off. At first, I just thought the movie was showing subtitles for all the Russian talking. I thought, huh, that's an interesting choice. But then I noticed the top of the screen was blank. I had to leave the theater to let them know the problem and I missed about five minutes of the movie.

But I'm not finished yet! This couple decides to come in about thirty minutes into the movie. There's about only 10 or 15 of us and we've been there the whole day and they sashay into the theater with pop and snacks in tow. Not less than 10 minutes later, they both fall asleep. And the dude starts to snore loudly! It's extremely annoying and thankfully someone got an usher and they escorted those people out! So my experience with the fifth movie was a bit tarnished, so I tried to review the movie as objectively as I could in a separate post!

With all that drama, I still had a great time! It was really cool to watch all the films back to back and you start to appreciate different movies more than others after seeing them all together. Plus you start to see some faults in certain iterations that normally wouldn't have bothered you but are more glaring after this kind of marathon. This is the second marathon I've seen in theaters (LOTR being the other) and I have to say - both times I've immensely enjoyed myself. I'd love to do this more often with other franchises. The Avengers comes to mind - watching maybe the first Avengers and the phase two movies and then The Avengers 2 would be pretty sweet. Star Wars would be awesome when Episode VII comes out (just watching the original trilogy) and also the Dark Knight trilogy when the new Batman movie comes out (if they continue the storyline created by Nolan). These marathons are fun and you get to watch all these movies with people who love them as much as you do. So bring it on!

Die Hard (R) - Runtime: 131 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Director: John McTiernan
Writer: Jeb Stuart, Steven E. de Souza

There's really not much to say about the first Die Hard. It's a classic and there's been countless clones and bad copycats. 25 years later, this movie still holds up very well. Sure, it's a very 80s movie with the style and technology present, but the movie itself - the story, characters and setting are timeless. John McClane is one of the greatest action heroes of all time - I love how he talks to himself a lot in this movie - it's something I'd probably end up doing in that situation. And his foil - Alan Rickman is amazing. Hans Gruber is one of the more underrated villains in cinematic history. Die Hard never gets old and it's never not a good time to watch it!

Die Hard 2 (R) - Runtime: 124 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, William Atherton, Bonnie Bedelia
Director: Renny Harlin
Writer: Steven E. de Souza, Doug Richardson

A lot of people don't like Die Hard 2. I love Die Hard 2. I think it's just as good and if not as memorable as the first one. It's a bigger movie - instead of the Nakatomi Tower, it's the whole freakin' Dulles Airport! And there's way more at stake here - there's tons of passengers in planes that will probably die. And the villain is just as memorable and crazier. The movie is somewhat a relic of its time because there's no way in hell in this post-9/11 America would any of this happen. There's even a nice little "This is the 90s" quip from Mrs. McClane. But how do you top throwing yourself off the top of a tower while the roof explodes? Well, you have a huge fight on a freaking plane wing and watch a trail of fire explode said plane in the air! Talk about awesome!

Die Hard: With a Vengeance (R) - Runtime: 124 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons
Director: John McTiernan
Writer: Jonathan Hensleigh

I think DHWAV is possibly my favorite Die Hard. Instead of McClane going at it alone this time around he has a badass partner with him - Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson). You can't get better than that. Plus the movie has this sense of urgency more so than the others - mainly because McClane and Zeus have to decipher clues around New York City in order to stop the bad guy. Plus you have Jeremy Irons playing Hans Gruber's much more clean-cut brother as the main villain. McTiernan returns to direct this second sequel. And the movie's better off because of it - the camera work is fantastic and there's just something more gritty and realistic about how he shoots movies. I can't quite put my finger on it but when they're flying around in a taxi in New York - it felt really visceral and raw. Amazing stuff and certainly my favorite Die Hard movie.

Live Free or Die Hard (PG-13) - Runtime: 128 minutes
Starring: Bruce Willis, Justin Long, Timothy Olyphant
Director: Len Wiseman
Writer: Mark Bomback, David Marconi

This is probably my least favorite Die Hard movie. Don't get me wrong - I love this movie, but it lacks a certain something that the other three had. I know this sounds weird, but the movie seemed way more unrealistic than the others. I could believe most of the crazy hi-jinx in the other three movies, but when McClane jumps off a jet fighter that's when it crossed the line. Plus the movie is just too slick-looking and clean compared to the other gritty and close action camera work of the first three. I do love certain aspects of this film - like the cell phone problem in most action movies. If McClane and everyone else in the first three Die Hard movies had cell phones most of the stuff wouldn't happen. It would have been Die Hardly Ever. So the movie shuts down the whole info grid and I think that's pretty awesome. Olyphant does a good job as the main villain - but he's definitely not on the same level as Jeremy Irons or Alan Rickman. A pretty awesome action flick, but it certainly didn't live up to its potential. Oh and the PG-13 rating was laughable - thank god there's an R-rated version on DVD. Unfortunately, the PG-13 version is the version I saw in theaters.

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