Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (7.5).

This film was... not as good as the original. The characterization is weaker, the story is weaker, the action goes for spectacle over realism, and we have to put up with Samuel L. Jackson playing a painfully un-self-aware Angry Black Man stereotype as co-protagonist alongside Bruce Willis. (His mildly racist exterior inevitably cracks so that he can learn the True Meaning of Friendship With White People.) That said, the movie is still more intelligent than the average action flick, and it doesn't deliberately treat the viewers as morons. Overall, it has enough fun bits to make it worth a watch. Score: 3 stars out of 4.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Die Hard (1988)

Links: TVTropes, Wikipedia, IMDB (8.3).

I'd somehow managed to reach adulthood via the 80's and 90's without ever seeing any of the Die Hard films. Knowing little except for the poor reputation of the fourth installment, I began with rather low expectations. Fairly quickly, I found myself rather pleasantly surprised: it's far more intelligent than your average guns-akimbo 80's action flick, and it isn't willing to casually throw realism out the window for the sake of Rule of Cool. In fact, it seems to take a certain delight in slamming the characters, both heroes and villains, against brick-hard reality whenever it gets the chance. Overall, I have a hard time thinking of anything I didn't like about the film, which is not something I can frequently say about an action flick. Score: 4 stars out of 4.