In his career-defining role, Bruce Willis is New York cop John McClane, who arrives in LA on Christmas Eve to spend the festive season with estranged wife Bonnie Bedelia and their two children.
However, he gets more than he bargained for when he turns up at her office just as the 39-storey building is being taken over by sophisticated international thief Alan Rickman and his ruthless associates (including Alexander Godunov) who plan to crack the Nakatomi Corporation’s computerised vault.
Making their entrance while Willis is freshening up in the bathroom, the gang proceeds to take Bedelia and her partying colleagues hostage and it’s over to Brucie to save the day.
The LA police department and the FBI are mercilessly ridiculed as Willis, injecting some vulnerability into his invincible hero, outwits the bad guys with precious little help from the good guys.
Director John McTiernan’s action scenes are expertly handled, laced with spine-tingling tension and hi-tech murder and mayhem, Rickman is on fine form as a deliciously nasty villain and Willis proves that when it comes to delivering the sharp one-liner, he’s hard to beat.
An all-time action great – with a heart.