Number of Times Seen – Seriously too many to count (Video, Cable, 13 Oct 1992, DVD, 4 May 2000, Jan 2012 and 24 Nov 2013)
Brief Synopsis – An off-duty New York cop visiting his wife in her LA office gets trapped when terrorists take over the building.
My Take on it – Very few movies can claim to have started a genre, but this is one of them that can.
The formula of one “average guy” against many baddies was not utilized well enough prior to this movie and this one put that genre on the map.
Whats funny is that this movie was originally meant to be a sequel to Commando (1985) with Schwarzenegger and it just wouldn’t have been anywhere near the same with Arnie instead of Bruce Willis in the title role.
The first time I saw this movie was at a friend’s house who’s parent wouldn’t let him watch R-rated movies, so we constantly had to turn it off whenever they would pass by the room. Definitely, not the best way to watch it for the first time.
In the summer of 1989, this movie had it’s premier on HBO and I was traveling on the West Coast with a teen youth group for 6 weeks. During that time, my friends and I watched this movie so many times that by the end of the summer we all knew the movie backwards and forwards. To this day, this movie is my favorite action-thriller.
During that summer, we went to see a TV show taping of a new show called Family Matters which starred Reginald VelJohnson who plays Al Powell here. When we saw him we all started screaming “Whats in those Twinkies?” He laughed and started to say the line. 🙂
Truly a remarkable moment in my movie-loving life since he is one of the few famous people I’ve had the chance to meet.
This was Alan Rickman’s movie debut and it’s truly hard to believe.
I read the book this movie is based on and the things I loved the most were the small “nods” in the movie to elements of the book. One in particular is the fact that a stewardess plays a prominent part in the book and in the opening scene when McClane is getting off the plane, he shares a slight “moment” with a stewardess.
Many other movies over the years have tried to duplicate the theme of this movie, but IMHO none of them truly did it as well as they were able to achieve here.
Bottom Line – Amazing movie. Genesis of a Genre. Many films try to duplicate this success unsuccessfully. Go with the Original that started it all. Highly Recommended!
Rating – Oscar Worthy