While inexplicably enduring the uninspired and tedious action movies that I often subject myself to, thanks to their connection to a franchise I once enjoyed (thank you, G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra) or a video-game I loved (looking at you, Max Payne), I usually find my mind wandering back to the film that remains my holy grail of the genre: Die Hard. As far as action movies go, it has remained my absolute favourite film for nearly 20 years. I watch it twice a year at the very least and seem to be incapable of enjoying it less with each subsequent viewing.
There are many reasons why Die Hard is a great film - using 'great' in a completely unironic fashion - but the one I've been thinking about today is the film's use of environments. This was brought on by my discovery (via Warren Ellis) of writer/essayist Geoff Manaugh's awesomely aca-fan-ish post on the film on BLDGBLOG, his blog about architecture and urban spaces. In the post, entitled 'Nakatomi Space', Manaugh talks about how Die Hard is 'one of the best architectural films of the last 25 years', an opinion that I have shared on some gut level, way back from when I first saw it as a eight year old who didn't know what the word 'architecture' meant. I never really had the conceptual language to communicate that instinct but Manaugh does - articulating wonderfully just what makes the movie so spatially fascinating and how that makes it that much more exciting. Go read.