All Christmas flicks, from the stuff currently showing wall-to-wall on the Hallmark Channel to It’s A Wonderful Life (the genre’s Citizen Kane), follow the same schmaltzy, pine-scented version of this literary narrative. In It’s A Wonderful Life, George Bailey gets a couple of tough breaks and wanders around feeling sorry for himself until (as in all Christmas movies, everywhere) he has a miraculous epiphany and realizes the importance of looking on the bright side and cherishing the things he has.
Which is fine. If you’re 80.
John McClane takes the same journey, starting out as a loner cop separated from his wife and kids. But then, a couple of hours and several firefights later, he develops a new appreciation for love, family, proper footwear and (we assume) the necessity of always packing your service weapon, even when off duty. He reaches the same place that Bailey did, only—and this is the important part—with about 90% less schmaltz and 110% more stunts, gunplay, and wisecracking.
In other words, Die Hard isn’t boring.