There is a Hans Gruber-sized hole in my heart today.
It’s hard to overstate the impact that DIE HARD had on me when I first rented the VHS from Safeway in the mid 90s. The movie, John McClane, Hans Gruber, saying "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker!" to my shithead friends…..all instantly became obsessions of mine and like a fine wine, the movie has only gotten better and better with age. Alan Rickman’s performance is a huge part of why it’s so rewatchable. He chews scenery effortlessly and without making it obvious that he’s hamming it up. His line delivery is slow, enunciated, and precise. Yes, it is plainly obvious that he is an English Shakespearean trained actor playing a German person, but he just. fucking. owns it. His character is complex. He’s not just evil, though he is certainly a bad man, but he is after a specific goal of the Nakatomi fortune and uses brilliant subterfuge to hide this intention only to be undone by a scrappy New York cop in the wrong place at the wrong time. Can’t plan for everything, Hans.
Think of how many action movies you’ve seen since 1989 or so where the plot was basically "Die Hard on a plane/boat/spaceship/national park/white house" and the person playing the villain is like "welp, better channel some Hans fuckin’ Gruber for this role and just go for it." Countless flicks.
As a lifelong action movie devotee, DIE HARD is basically my Sistine Chapel. Yes, there are other equally worthy monuments to violence and excess in cinema, but DIE HARD stands on it's own in an era full of amazing action flicks. A huge part of that movie is now gone and we're all poorer for it. We'll never see another era like the 1980s cinema and we'll never see another Alan Rickman.
REST IN POWER.