Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Political Lessons of Nakatomi Plaza


I became a Bruce Willis fan when I first saw 'Die Hard'. I never saw him in “Moonlighting”, but in the action movie he captured my imagination. Sadly, the other ‘Die Hard’ movies weren’t as good, although I couldn’t help but notice the unspoken battle between Bruce and Hollywood in them.

All three ‘Die Hard’ movies had to deal with terrorists of a sort, and Hollywood addressed them much as they do terrorists today. In ‘Die Hard’, the terrorists turned out to be pretty ordinary thieves, just bolder and more bloody than most. In ‘Die Hard II’, the villains were dealing in drugs, and had a few bad soldiers working for them (I noticed how Hollywood tried to imply that all soldiers lean this way, though even in the movie they were never more than a small number), and in ‘Die Hard III’, the bad guy simply wanted vengeance. Hollywood’s stock answer to terrorists in all three movies was to consider them criminals, who needed to be arrested and brought to trial. But in the actual way the movies played out, more realistic and effective lessons were shown:

[] The terrorists, whether bandits, mercenaries, or simple psychotics, did not obligingly follow the rules. In fact, they made merry mayhem by forcing the authorities to follow rules, while they themselves did just as they pleased;

[] John McClane never agreed to those rules, and while it made him unpopular with the various authorities, he always saved the day (and lots of innocents), by the simple plan of killing the bad guys every chance he got, any way he could.

[] The media in the movies was just as oblivious to the facts as they are in the Real World.

I also recall another lesson from ‘Die Hard’; whichever side has Fred Thompson working for it, comes out on top.

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