Of course the Action Genre existed before Die Hard. After all you had The Terminator, Commando, Top Gun, Roadhouse...but didn't Die Hard absolutely revolutionize the eighties action Genre. It came like a savior and encompassed everything that would blow you right out the back of the theater and made Bruce Willis an absolute idol in the Action world and for good reason. Die Hard had pointless nudity, scores of bad language, bloody death, guns, explosions, a gritty, tough as nails, sweating, dirty hero that takes on everyone with nothing more than a hand gun and his brains. If you watch Willis in Die Hard it's a thing of beauty. His shirt torn off, bare foot, wounds all over him...he looks like he just crawled from a war rather than stalking terrorists through an enormous high rise office building in L.A. The script was so dead on...it was basic, it was to the point, it has great sarcastic humor and one liners that could never be forgotten. And Willis was the man to pull it all together. Add a decent supporting cast, a guy on the ground who is like his partner and a MacGyver style of killing bad guys that will go down in history...THIS IS DIE HARD.
Bruce Willis was brought up right in the Prime of his TV Series Moonlighting where his irresistible charm and personality made him a hit. John McLean was David Addison but with a lot more guts and a lot more ammo. That only made the film more exciting to fans of Willis already. Willis has a way of just making everything edge of your seat and everything believable. Who else could make you smile in fear when he's diving out of a 30 story window attached to a fire hose while the roof of the building is exploding. He really doesn't single handedly make the film...the supporting cast is terrific. Bonnie Bedelia is great as McLean's straight laced, professional and estranged wife. They make an odd yet touching couple. They have some electricity and it's ironic and yet sensible that they don't end up together throughout the series. Still Bedelia is a great female lead and her character is strong and not at all misused in the role. Alan Rickman is just one kick ass bad guy. Can you say anything else?? As terrorist Hans Gruber he is terrifying, evil, brilliant, and you just despise him and you can't wait to see him go up against Willis and he does. He doesn't stand a chance but Rickman is still brilliant as the bad guy. Reginald VelJohnson plays a small yet very important role as Willis' guy on the ground on the other end of a walkie talkie. They don't know each other, and barely know each other's name but yet they become as close as partners and they too are odd together and yet fit. William Atherton has to be mentioned even though it's a very small role, it's Die Hard history that he plays slimy, tabloid reporter Richard Thornburg who gets his just end by Holly McLean's fist which becomes a running joke in the series.
Die Hard is everything that people would look at in disgust now in the new millennium and yet it was everything the eighties stood for when it came to action and heroes. McLean has a cigarette dangling from his mouth, blood pouring everywhere, and a happy ending despite all the destruction around them. If you haven't seen Die Hard you can't ever proclaim yourself an action fan because Die Hard IS action. It's the film every action film strives to live to and will never meet...whether it was before 1988 or after. We won't ever get something like this again. It's an absolute 100% classic!! for all the wrong reasons!! 10/10