Sad day, 3.5 readers.
As you know, I’m a big Die Hard fan. Every Christmas, I put it on while everyone else is watching It’s a Wonderful Life or some such nonsense.
Hans Gruber. It was Rickman’s first role. If you ask me, he could have stopped there and been on top had he wanted to.
The 1980’s gave us amazing action films. Schwarzenegger. Stallone. Big ass bad ass muscle dudes who could eviscerate 20 bad guys with a pinky finger.
Then late in the decade, Die Hard changed the game. Bruce Willis as a New York cop who finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Sure, he’s a cop. He’s collared some bad guys. But your average cop isn’t prepared to take on a group of highly trained terrorists on his own, thus providing the Average Joes in the audience what it would be like to be stuck in a situation where everything is riding on them.
Arnie and Sly? Awesome but not relatable. Bruce? Awesome AND relatable.
To top it all off, the villain. Hans Gruber. Rickman provided us with a memorable character. A charming German gent, intelligent, sophisticated, you’d probably enjoy getting a beer with him and talking about world affairs if he hadn’t been a cunning murderer/criminal mastermind.
Gruber wasn’t the typical muscle bound martial arts trained baddie from the 1980’s. His main weapon was his brain.
The part where he pretends to be an American, “Bill Clay.” The part where he very calmly shoots Takagi in the head for a perceived lack of cooperation. Gruber was in control of his emotions. He didn’t do things out of rage or anger but rather, out of a carefully thought out plan. There was money to be had. He wanted it. He went through whoever he needed to to get it. You never got the sense that he enjoyed killing anyone but rather, that any resulting deaths were just losses in an overall business plan.
Maybe that’s why he was so scary. Take emotion out of the picture and a bad guy is capable of anything and worse, there’s never a warning sign as to what’s about to come or what’s on his mind.
Yes, he was also Professor Snape. Yes, he was also that funny vulcan caricature in that Star Trek parody movie whose name escapes me now.
But before all that, he was Gruber. Hans Gruber.