The Die Hard Series Reviewed

Die Hard is one of the best action films ever made and has spawned a great series of films (sort of). Any who I have decided to review the entire series of Die Hard films to date. Obviously I am doing this to celebrate the release of A Good Day To Die Hard this weekend and am hoping for a Die Hard film somewhere between 1 and 2. “Yippie Ki Yay Motherfucker” Can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this before. Do you like Die Hard? Do you agree with my score? Is the first Die Hard a Christmas film? What’s your favourite? And finally are you going to see #5 or have you already seen it?

Die Hard - Banner

Die Hard (1988)

Bad German and his henchmen take over office building near Christmas and have plenty of hostages, but one of those hostages is cops wife who is in the air vents causing havoc. Cop kills henchman, this annoys Hans, then he falls out of a window and it finishes. I really love this film and I am not quite sure why I described the film in a very stupid way just then, still it’s a great action film and easily one of my all-time favourites. You can watch this film over and over again and it’s still fun.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 100%       Acting: 100%      Visuals: 100%      Dialogue: 100%

Action/Thrill: 100%      Style/Sound: 100%      Characters: 100%

Total: 100%

Die Hard - Poster

I think the main thing to think about when talking about this film is that it can only be unique once and this easily was a unique action film with its office building setting, one good guy against a bunch of bad guy thieves and that whole feeling that this guy seriously needs a holiday after this like no one has ever before needed a holiday. With the sequel it didn’t really meet up because it was fairly similar but then it’s next sequels where very good because they both had new ideas and scenarios to go with. As for the characters it was perfect because of the sheer contrast between the villain Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and John McClane (Bruce Willis), This kind of chemistry of distain for each other is what I think is missing from most action films today because they don’t seem to grasp what causes conflict, which is contrast. My favourite scene would have to be when Hans pretends to be one of the hostages and does an accent, that whole scene was a perfect example of what made this film great which is the chemistry between its two mains.

Must Watch Trailer:

Die Harder (1990)

John McClane is back at Christmas to save the day from the baddies. Bad guys take over airport systems and take down a few planes. But their secret plan is to free a South American bad guy prisoner. John proves everyone to be completely incompetent in their jobs and saves the day by killing everyone. The film is ok but absolutely pales in comparison to the first with a plot that is bigger but somehow less exciting. The setting doesn’t work with the original idea and they tried too hard to keep the two the same.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 70%       Acting: 70%      Visuals: 80%      Dialogue: 60%

Action/Thrill: 65%      Style/Sound: 50%      Characters: 45%

Total: 62%

Die Harder - Poster

The story is good but seemed to cram too many scenes from the first into it. The acting was good from Willis who had become very comfortable with his role as McClane but the rest of the cast just didn’t do it for me, especially the villains of this film John Amos was ok but nowhere near a good counter to the hero of the story. Visuals good, can’t complain much. Dialogue was ok but pretty weak really. Characters where weak and I struggle to remember them. I never felt anywhere near as excited watching this compared to the first and it just stalled too often. My favourite scene would have to be either the big fight in the closed section of the airport or the moment he knows the guns are blanks and shoots at the airport security guy, very funny watching that guy squirm.

Must Watch Trailer:

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

You just can’t beat having a Gruber as a villain. Oh and Samuel L. Jackson as a person called Zeus! I really liked this film and I think this is down to it being so different than any before it. Here’s another stupid man describing the plot. Hans’s brother is out for a little revenge against McClane, first he saids him out to embarrassing and dangerous situation but then accidentally joins him with Zeus to make a great due who have to hunt down bombs with nothing more than riddles to get to the right place and save lives. However big twist means new Gruber didn’t care about first Gruber and just wanted to distract the city whilst he makes off with all the gold. Sweet sweet gold!

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 90%       Acting: 100%      Visuals: 100%      Dialogue: 95%

Action/Thrill: 90%      Style/Sound: 85%      Characters: 100%

Total: 94%

Die Hard with a Vengeance - Poster

Some people don’t like this and I really don’t know why. I love it and think it has a great cast and an interesting story. The story and dialogue really got an improvement based on the second film and I think it’s to do with who you put the character of John McClane with. Zeus was a fantastic ally for him to have and work with giving us many great scenes of dialogue. Gruber mark 2 is just what you need to fight McClane as they are so different, and because of this his victory over him is so much sweeter because Simon Gruber is so smug and you just have to love seeing him fall to a character like John. The visuals and action really got an upgrade in this instalment and I really had a lot of fun watching the explosions and car chases. My favourite scene would have to be either John and Zeus’s meeting in Harlem or their argument with the water bottles, I just thought they were really fun.

Must Watch Trailer:

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

Why do a lot of people have a problem with this film? I really liked it and I do get that they didn’t like John McClane taking down a jet fighter. But other than that it was a really good film. John McClane is now in the 21st century and the bad guys are more of the cyber variety, but don’t worry he still gets to beat up and shoot plenty of people. Timothy Olyphant heads the bad guys as a man who tried to warn the government about security and ultimately seeks revenge (and money) for being fired. As he tries to shut down the government he manages to cross paths with the wrong cop and finds himself fighting an old school solution to terrorism. McClane with the help of his hacker recruit manages to save the country and his daughter.

Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended.

Story: 85%       Acting: 90%      Visuals: 100%      Dialogue: 85%

Action/Thrill: 90%      Style/Sound: 80%      Characters: 75%

Total: 86%

Live Free or Die Hard - Poster

I really liked this film because it’s a good sequel in that it keeps its characters but changes the game. The story is planned out and works to be quite neat in its delivery. The acting I thought was good and I think Timothy Olyphant is great and played a surprisingly good villain which is contrary to his normal roles. Willis knowing his age decided to play as an older character getting mightily tired of this same shit happening to him. It worked well for me because we get to see what happens to the hero after his many victories and whether it really pays off for him and as a story it always works better when he is still doing pretty badly. The visuals where great and the fights where really fun to watch with some interesting styles throughout. My favourite scene would have to be him taking down the jet fighter haha, no but I did like the dead helicopter ahahahahahaha!

Must Watch Trailer:

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About Tim The Film Guy

Very opinionated about films!

48 responses to “The Die Hard Series Reviewed”

  1. Ben says :

    I agree with you on the order of quality. I love the third film and the fourth film too. Its just any opportunity to see Willis play classic McClane, which he does really well in all the movies. Unfortunately, he doesn’t bother in the most recent one!


  2. Jack Flacco says :

    Die Hard has to be my absolute favorite of the Die Hard series. The trailers for the movie were amazing.


  3. bakedmoviereviews says :

    Great summary! My costume at the office Christmas party this year will be the ‘Now I have a machine gun ho ho ho’ guy.


  4. jelliclezombi says :

    Mmm, Alan Rickman…oh the films? Yeah they’re pretty good 😉 I think the third one get’s a bad rep too, that film is fun as hell! Great write-up, I must invest in the box set at some point.


  5. markmc2012 says :

    I have the first three in a boxed set and like all of those. I enjoyed the third one a bit. I probably like the second film more than most people because I am a huge John Amos fan. Have yet to see the fourth movie.


  6. atothewr says :

    Nice post. I still think the first is the best and yes it is a Christmas movie. I would give the fourth one a nod as second favorite for me followed by three and two. I wanted to see the latest in the theater, but the reviews have been pretty bad so far. Probably going to be a rental.


  7. Ashley_Christie says :

    Great reviews. Bruce Willis can do no wrong in my book. I enjoyed the latest one more than most. It felt like it paid homage to the first more than the others. It relies more on action than story but it gave me exactly what I wanted … John McClane killing baddies and blowing shit up! 😀

    I’ll hopefully have my review up today or tomorrow.


  8. filmhipster says :

    YES! YES! YES! and…….not sure yet! Nice reviews man.


  9. ruth says :

    The first one still tops the franchise indeed. If I were to rate the movies, it’d be Die Hard, Die Hard 3, Die Hard 2 and 4 are pretty much tied for me (though I didn’t care for Justin Long in the 4th one). The fifth one is an abominable!!


  10. wordschat says :

    Got the Blurays but maybe not the time to see it this weekend. Amour planned for Saturday. I too liked love Free or Die Hard. Thnx for the recap.


  11. Brian says :

    Die Hard is the best action movie ever, and Die Hard with a Vengeance is extremely underrated. The only time Die Hard 2 is worth watching is the TV edit for “Yippie Ki Yay, Mr. Falcon!”


  12. sidekickreviews says :

    I really liked Live Free Die Hard because I didn’t have big expectations especially after such a long time in between sequels. Do you think if the new movie bombs at the box office, it will be the last one?


  13. Last Road Reviews says :

    Excellent write ups. Awesome franchise. When I get more cash I need to replace this. Though I wasn’t overly find of Live Free. I didn’t hate it, but found it a little above average.


  14. r361n4 says :

    Great list, I actually haven’t seen #3 but I completely agree with the other 3. I was actually really looking forward to 5 but it was incredibly disappointing, especially since the last one proved that even though Bruce Willis is in AARP territory he is still capable of making a good Die Hard movie.


  15. GaryLee828 says :

    I haven’t seen Die Hard yet, but I was going to watch it this week.


    • Tim The Film Guy says :

      I hope you are talking about the newest and not the first one because that is late haha 😀


      • GaryLee828 says :

        I am talking about part one. You have to think this came out when Arnold was the standard and Bruce Willis simply did not fit the bill. This came out a year after “Predator”. But after learning that “Die Hard” was originally intended to be a sequel to “Commando” and that Schwarzenegger turned down the role – and then Sly turned it down – and then Harrison Ford, Don Johnson and Burt Reynolds turned it down I can now see why they cast Willis. So, I went ahead and watched it last night. I thought it was pretty good, but a bit long. They did a good job salvaging the movie, and then turning it into a franchise.


  16. mistylayne says :

    The only one I’ve seen is the last one – the one that had Justin Long. (*waits for Tim to start yelling about how she hasn’t seen the others*) It was fun.


  17. sydneyaaliyah says :

    I agree the series as a whole gets a passing grade assisted by the first one and Die Hard with a Vengeance. I was pleasantly surprised by Live Free or Die Hard, but I had absolutely no expectations. The new one, I am expecting it to be good. I hope it won’t disappoint. Heading to see it in the morning.


  18. Issy R. says :

    The first one is definitely a classic but not my favorite one. My favorite one is the third and for the reasons you mentioned. I really like the 4th one too idk why people hate it and you also hit the right points about it. The second was good but it wasnt memorable. Just got out from watching the new one and I wont spoil it for you. Excellent reviews I just about agreed with you on everything.


  19. le0pard13 says :

    Looking back at this series, McTiernan’s films just stand out more as time goes by. I did enjoy the last one, though. A lot more nostalgic in tone with the character than I expected. The Renny Harlin sequel remains my least favorite — although, I can look at it less critically these days. Why that is I’ve no clue ;-). Nice piece, Tim. You seeing the new one this weekend?


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