I was but a boy when Die Hard came out in theaters. The movie opens up with our working class joe moving from the airport to a large office building, but it cut with scenes, of a team of strong male figures, working as a team to accomplish a goal. They had skills, they were motivated, and moved with purpose. What boy with the teenage years just around the corner wouldn’t like that. This is followed by scenes which could have been taken from most of my generations fellow children’s lives, two parents arguing, with very quick heat ups, and stern definitive statements that simultaneously define their perspective wants, and leave clear attacks on each other.
Yes, the idea of a lone fighter taking on a larger group of the bad guys a bit at a time and being resourceful enough to win is always something where a inspirational story can be found. The story of Hans Grouber, and his band of thieves however, was more interesting to me. Even as a child, I understood the concept of the bad guys still being a team, and worked hard to obtain the goal they set out to accomplish. Of course I didn’t agree with their violence used when they had planned for having law enforcement called in to inadvertently help they out, but as far as a story goes, great villains aren’t great villains because they are nice. Without the violence from Grouber’s band, the movie becomes more like Ocean’s 11, and takes on a lighter feel to it. In Die Hard, we are saddled to villains who leave no ambiguity as to how serious their resolve is.
As my work day travels have expanded to include a large swath of Southern California, I have found myself frequently near the sites and headquarters of the American entertainment industry. Often very busy, and unable to simply wander around, when I do discover my path takes me near a site strongly related to movies and art from my past, I do make some effort to visit them, even if in passing. To this end, I found myself in Santa Monica, and guess what isn’t all that far from there? Nakatomi Plaza, the fictional named building in Die Hard. I suppose when my kids get older, and if they decide to watch the movie, it will just be a less then semi interesting point I can make.