Die Hard is a Serious Action Film

If you’ve never had a chance to listen to the director’s commentary for Die Hard, I can wholeheartedly recommend getting hold of a copy - John McTiernan’s comments are fascinating, and complement the talented acting of both Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman. It rapidly becomes obvious that McTiernan takes action film very seriously, as an artistic genre - not something to turn a fast buck. This is clearly one of the reasons why Die Hard is such a polished film and is a canonical example of the action film genre.

One interesting anecdote is that in the 80s, when the film was made, cutting in the middle of a camera move was forbidden by the studios, to the point where he was almost fired from Predator for doing this. A co-operative editor was the only reason Die Hard was able to use these kind of shots in the finished film. To me, this is an interesting example of how established conventions for the ‘best’ way of doing things don’t always turn out to be the best (after all, Die Hard was a huge commercial success, and no-one now watches it and comments on the strange camera moves).