First: no, none of the sequels come close. And, by the time we got to A Good Day To Die Hard, this series was so far from what made Die Hard great, that I nearly wanted to give up on John McClane. Then, they go and show Die Hard on FX, or CMT, or any of the other cable channels that neuter it, forcing me to pop in the DVD, and wouldn’t you know…I’m back to wanting more Die Hard. If only…ONLY….they could get back to the heart of what makes John McClane such a compelling character. He’s not a superman. He’s not invincible. In fact, he has what makes heroes truly great: fear. He is so keenly aware of his circumstances. And those around him. And he’s scared. But he digs down. He finds strength he didn’t know he had. It’s wonderful. Die Hard works so well because of this and one other big thing: Hans Gruber. Hans is the bad guy all others should be judged by. From now until forever. Alan Rickman is just so effortlessly cool as Hans. He fills him with humanity. Something that MUST happen for a threat to be in any way credible. Your villain can’t just be a caricature. So many films these days ignore this in favor of over-the-top craziness. We’ve seem to lost sight of what makes a villain truly capable of engaging us an audience. “Spoon fed” is the term that comes to mind. The other thing that takes Die Hard from good to great, is the ever escalating stakes. This tension is conveyed perfectly by director John McTiernan. He just nails it. This movie makes you love movies. It pays off all it’s set ups. And when it all comes together: direction, performance and writing…we reap the benefits, as the audience. This film was made to create fans. And boy, did it. I came to this film as a kid, because my parents are awesome. And I’ve been a fan ever since. I miss this kind of film, though I’m thankful to have this on DVD to enjoy every Christmas, because, not only is this A Perfect Film™, it’s also the best Christmas movie ever made. That’s just a cold, hard fact.