LETHAL WEAPON vs DIE HARD - which is the best X-mas movie? Dec 13, 2022 17:20:57 GMT -5
Post by jdv on Dec 13, 2022 17:20:57 GMT -5
Watched both in the past couple of weeks and a couple of things surprised me.
First is how well both movies hold up - great actors, great SFX (although DIE HARD has far more of them), and of course how much X-mas is part of the plot. WEAPON released in '87, DIE HARD in '88.
But which one is best?
Well DIE HARD's the bigger movie - more actors, slicker camera work (shot in anamorphic), bigger story, lots more explosions (with it's $20 million bigger budget, this is no surprise). But WEAPON certainly doesn't feel small. Perhaps because it's smaller it perhaps feels a bit more real; anamorphic is great in theaters, a bit less so on 50" TV screens.
What's interesting is that both feature either relative unknowns in huge roles - Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, Alan Rickman, Tom Adkins, Bruce Willis, Gary Busey - none of them stars (when cast), and none of them established box office draws.
Arguably Glover was the biggest name as he had just stared in THE COLOR PURPLE, but that movie is miles away from an action flick Busey had made a splash playing Buddy Holly in '78, but career had cooled by the time he got WEAPON. It was the first time Busey played a villain, and he was so good in the part he'd be type-cast as a bad guy for the rest of his (insane) career.
Both soundtracks are great, but WEAPON's soundtrack is far more "80's-ish" for better or worse.
Watching them both in late '22 reminded me of how much pacing has changed in movies in the past 34 years. DIE HARD, when the action is happening, is absolutely electric. But there are big sections of the movie where it drags to a near halt. Watching it with my kids who are in their 20's, you could see their eyes glaze over during these lulls.
DIE HARD's 20 minutes longer, and WEAPON has the brisker pacing regardless. In terms of keeping an audience's interest, I'd say that WEAPON is the slam dunk winner.
But DIE HARD has the better villain. While Mitchell Ryan does yeoman's work as General Peter McAllister & Busey chews scenery like Shatner, Allan Rickman is so insanely good as a Hans Grubber that he might well be in the top 5 for best movie villains ever, right up there with the Wicked Witch of the West and Darth Vader.
Which is pretty high praise.
The WEAPON sequels are arguably better, although DIE HARD 2 is an absolute hoot. In the end, I think the edge might go to LETHAL WEAPON based on pacing, the better links to Xmas, and what's perhaps the first use of ju jitsu in movie history.
But it's real close. WHAT SAY YOU?