The first sign that the Bruce Willis action staple, which takes place on Christmas Eve, isn’t going to be your typical holiday tale comes when Willis’ John McClane, newly arrived in Los Angeles, listens as his driver, Argyle (De’voreaux White), puts a tape in the car stereo, and out come the pummeling beats of Run-DMC’s “Christmas in Hollis.” “Don’t you have any Christmas music?” moans McClane. “This is Christmas music,” insists Argyle. (Sure, the song is a Christmas hip-hop classic today, but 25 years ago, it was raw and new.)
McClane visits his estranged wife’s office Christmas party, only to have the festivites shot up by Eurotrash-y, hostage-taking thugs. So, also not typical. As McClane takes out the bad guys one by one, the secular hymn of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” played by a subtle chamber music group at the party, gets transformed into an operatic anthem of bloodlust and destruction – one that will serve as the unofficial theme for the entire franchise.
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