Study Guide

Die Hard What's Up With the Title?

What's Up With the Title?

We've got a question for you. Who dies harder: John McClane or Karl?

We're inclined to say Karl, simply because we had so written him off for dead when John leaves him dangling by the neck from a chain. And when he shows up again at the end, it's a pretty impressive moment of near-resurrection.

But let's get serious here. No one dies harder than John McClane. After all, dude. does. not. die. He gets blown and beat up six ways to Sunday. Check it out. McClane survives, in no particular order

  • a fall down an elevator shaft.
  • several gunfights with Gruber's goons—and Gruber himself for that matter.
  • severe foot lacerations (hey, that glass is no joke).
  • no fewer than three explosions.
  • being shot at from a helicopter.
  • a knockdown, drag-out fight-to-the-death with Karl.
  • getting shot
  • a Mexican standoff with Hans.

So yeah, we think it's safe to say that John McClane dies hard. Hence, Die Hard.

For further proof, see all four sequels.

These Days, Everyone Dies Hard

We know you know how influential the Die Hard franchise has been in the action movie world. And we know you know John McClane is a big part of that. A huge part of his appeal is that he's an everyman, an average Joe, who manages to withstand some pretty rough stuff, and who still rises to the occasion.

By the end of the movie, you might be thinking that John McClane seems, frankly, invincible. And that sense of invincibility only increases in the sequels, where the plots are forever upping the ante on the crazy stuff that he can survive. That one-upmanship drives the action movie genre to continue topping everything that comes before, a phenomenon that has more than a few detractors. In fact, it's this very phenomenon that has some folks arguing that John McClane dies a bit too hard, if you catch our drift.