Action Movies Essay Research Paper Simply by — страница 3

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call that space "home." The film redefines the tensions of the frontier as 1) between corporations and the ideologies that serve them, and 2) between the individual and the corporation, rather than the community. The frontier does not exist as a horizontal geographic space but has been metaphorized in the corporate office building. John McTiernan, a director who specializes in confined spaces (e.g. The Hunt for Red October (1990), which takes place in a submarine), has a knack for using ideological struggle to open them up. The spaces seem larger because they articulate something so huge, and the frontiers they represent are no less tied to American identity in the 20th century than Westerns had previously been.Die Hard is, as critic William J. Palmer observes, one of

the many "Terrorist Plot" films of the '80s, and one he reads as wiser than most, since its gets the joke of its own genre, laughs, and still plays along. "Ironically, Die Hard presents a scenario in which the '80s villain, the terrorist, attacks the '70s villain, the corporation, in this case a Japanese corporation operating in America." In a reading that distinguishes between neoconservative and New Right politics, Jeffords notes the film's typically hypocritical Reaganesque hostility toward Big Government and its interference in the economy, while still insisting on government's right to control the individual's body and private sphere. But, generically, Die Hard is also significantly more, as so many action films of the '80s and '90s are, and to some

extent, it stakes its claims to action on the political necessities derived from the Western. Early on, John McClane adopts the pseudonym Roy Rogers, the name by which almost everyone in the film but his wife knows and refers to him, and constantly refers to himself: a cowboy riding to the rescue.Die Hard has two major ideological tasks, one foreign, one domestic. It is important that the film takes place in California, because it means that the interlopers are infringing on American soil, and this outer edge of American soil is a vital aspect of the definition of the frontier. (Ten years later, Independence Day will take this even further, exploding America's frontier limits as a Clintonesque American president (Bill Pullman) will rally his troops by declaring that July 4th used

to be America's Independence Day, but now it is Independence Day for the whole world.) By proclaiming early on an affinity for the Western through the protagonist's self-re-naming, the space that John McClane/"Roy Rogers" moves through becomes reconfigured as analogous to the Western frontier, and what transpires on that 40-story, vertical frontier becomes analogous to Western narratives as well.Die Hard's historical maneuvers are those of a pronounced wishful thinking about the past as well as an anxiety about the present. The villains are two-pronged. The obvious one is the multi-cultural band of terrorists, whose ringleaders are German (though they are played by Alan Rickman, a British national, and Alexander Gudonov, a Russian). The less evident one is the Japanese

Nakatomi Corporation, led by a well-meaning but (in a crisis situation) ineffectual Japanese boss (James Shigeta). The crime of the Nakatomi corporation is that it has taken Holly McClane (Bonnie Bedelia), now "masquerading" under her maiden name Holly Generro (designating her for the audience as the generic wife, mother, and career woman), away from her family. More broadly though, the Nakatomi's presence represents frequently-voiced anxieties about Japan's economic superiority and competitiveness in world markets. Die Hard combined this with the presence of equally capitalist-minded German terrorists, who add insult to injury by only pretending to be ideologically motivated when all they really want is money. After listing a number of imaginary radical political

organizations whose insurgents he wants released from the world's prisons in exchange for the hostages he now holds, Hans Gruber (Rickman) says in a politically camp aside, "I read about them in Time magazine." What this particular configuration of nationalities allows for is a restaging by the film of World War II, which re-enforces the inevitability of a McClane victory within the narrative, and a global economic victory outside of it.Die Hard is a transitional action film. Like the action heroes of the '70s, McClane works alone, without a company, without a battalion, and this solitary heroic framework is also suggestive of the Western, especially when combined with the recognition of McClane as a cowboy by almost everyone in the film. This brings to the fore another