• Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: Joel Silver, Lawrence Gordon, John Davis
  • Writers: Jim Thomas, John Thomas
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Elpidia Carrillo, Bill Duke, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall

The film opens with a mysterious spacecraft entering Earth’s atmosphere, then focuses on the coast of Guatemala, where a joint task force, led by Major Alan “Dutch” Schaeffer (Arnold Schwarzenegger), is assigned to rescue a presidential cabinet minister kidnapped by guerrilla forces in Val Verde. Dutch’s old military buddy and now CIA officer, George Dillon (Carl Weathers), steps in as a liaison. The team is then inserted by helicopter to their destination within the jungle.

As they progress, the team finds the wreckage of a downed helicopter and later the remains of several skinned bodies. They are identified to be an Army Special Forces team, whose presence in the country mystifies Dutch. They soon make their way to a heavily defended rebel encampment and take out its inhabitants in short order, except for a girl named Anna (Elpidia Carrillo) whom they take prisoner. Dutch is enraged to discover the rescue mission had been a setup to get his group to destroy the camp, after Dillon confesses that the men they found earlier disappeared in a failed rescue mission of two CIA agents.

As the team make their way to the extraction point, they are observed from afar by an unknown creature using thermal imaging. After two members of the team are mysteriously slain, the survivors become aware that something in the jungle is stalking them. Anna delivers insight into the creature, which has apparently become a local legend for hunting humans as trophies. Despite attempts to track down and trap the creature, the team is slowly killed off one by one, until only Dutch and Anna remain. Realizing the creature only kills those possessing weapons, a wounded Dutch sends Anna unarmed to the extraction point. Dutch narrowly escapes the creature – revealed to be a masked, bipedal alien – by accidentally covering himself in mud, which hides his body’s heat signature.

Dutch confronts the creature one last time, using more mud as camouflage and a number of improvised weapons and traps to kill it. The creature, hearing Dutch’s war-cry, arrives, but despite having its cloaking ability disabled in an attack, manages to capture him. Then, in a display of chivalry, the creature challenges Dutch to a final duel in hand-to-hand combat, unveiling its monstrous face and discarding its electronic weaponry before brutally beating him. Once cornered, Dutch manages to drop the counterweight from one of his traps, which falls and crushes the creature. As Dutch asks the mortally wounded alien what it is, the creature mimics his question (in garbled English) and then activates a time bomb on its wrist device while laughing maniacally. Dutch runs for cover as a massive explosion destroys the creature and nearby jungle. Anna and the rescue helicopter finally arrive to pick up Dutch and head back to base.

Die Hard With a Vengeance

  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: John McTiernan, Michael Tadross
  • Writers: Jonathan Hensleigh
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L Jackson, Larry Bryggman, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp

After a bomb explodes in the early morning at the Bonwit Teller department store in New York City, a man named “Simon” (Irons) telephones the police claiming responsibility, and demands that they play a game of “Simon Says” to prevent any more explosions. Simon demands that NYPD Lt. John McClane walk through Harlem wearing a sandwich board reading, “I hate niggers.” Before McClane can be beaten to death by a group of outraged, young African-Americans, Harlem shopkeeper Zeus Carver (Jackson) steps in to rescue McClane, and together they return to the precinct. There, Simon calls the precinct takes credit for an Astrolite-like bi-component explosive discovered in a major park. Further investigation reveals that several thousand pounds of it were stolen the night before – Simon has enough explosives to level a city block. Simon demands that both Carver join McClane for the remainder of his “game”, directing them to a payphone near a subway station. After tricking the two with the “As I was going to St Ives” riddle, Simon reveals that a bomb is on a subway train that is just leaving the station, and tasks the two to reach the Wall Street subway station 90 blocks away in 30 minutes in order to prevent its detonation. McClane and Carver commandeer a taxi and cut through Central Park to avoid traffic; McClane instructs Carver to continue on surface roads while he gets on the subway car to search for the bomb. McClane finds the bomb and attempts to throw it off the subway. As the train enters the station, it trips over the detonator, causing the subway car to derail and tear through the station.

McClane and Carver are treated for injuries and debriefed, while Carver insists that McClane should call Holly, his estranged wife. Just as he makes the call, however, McClane realizes that an aspirin bottle given to him by Simon comes from a border town in Quebec. Meanwhile, Simon boasts to his men, declaring that, because of the stupidity of the NYPD, they have gone from an army without a country to one which must decide which country to buy. However, McClane and Zeus arrive with a massive force of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and taunt Simon from the safety of a police helicopter. Seething with hatred, Simon tells his men, “I have something personal to finish.” Entering an attack helicopter piloted by his mistress, he attempts to kill McClane and Zeus with a machine gun. Forced into making a crash landing, McClane and Carver are seemingly at Simon’s mercy. Meanwhile, the other copter hovers beneath some nearby power lines, as Simon looks his mortal enemy right in the eyes. However, McClane shoots out the powerline with his last two bullets, which causes the copter to explode in a massive fireball. McClane snarls,”Yippy-ki-yay, motherfucker,” and leaves for a payphone to call Holly.

The Hunt for Red October

  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Screenplay, Larry Ferguson, Donald Stewart, Novel, Tom Clancy
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Thriller
  • Actors: Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn, Sam Neill, James Earl Jones

Marko Ramius (Sean Connery), a Lithuanian, is captain of the Soviet Navy’s newest Typhoon-class ballistic missile submarine, the Red October, equipped with a revolutionary silent propulsion system known as a caterpillar drive. A naval veteran with nearly 40 years of experience, he was considered the best officer in the Soviet Navy. He has taken out the lead boat for each new submarine class, trained most of the officer corps, and has good political connections via his late wife. At the start of the movie, he is shown taking the boat out to sea, ostensibly for its first exercise with other units of the Russian Fleet. The captain, however, has another plan—to navigate the submarine to the coast of America in order to defect, as he considers the Red October to be a first-strike weapon that cannot be left in the hands of the Soviets.

To achieve this, he must murder Ivan Putin (Peter Firth), his political officer, who alone amongst his officers was not hand-picked in support of this action. With the ship’s doctor, Yevgeniy Petrov (Tim Curry), and cook, Igor Loginov (Tomas Arana), as witnesses, Ramius takes the late political officer’s missile key, granting him sole control over the ship’s missile systems. After this is done, Ramius reads substitute orders to his crew to support the mission (stating they will conduct missile drills off the coast of New York City and then sail to Havana for shore leave), and begins his long journey. He is at first discovered and tracked by the USS Dallas, an American attack submarine, but upon activation of the caterpillar drive he is able to break away. Meanwhile, Soviet authorities read a letter posted by Ramius prior to his departure, announcing his intention to defect. The Soviet Navy immediately puts to sea to locate and sink the Red October. One of the ships that joins in the hunt is the Alfa-class attack submarine V.K. Konovalov, commanded by Captain Tupolev (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd), a former student of Ramius. This causes a stir in Washington, D.C. when the activity triggers a reciprocal deployment of U.S. assets, as Russian intentions are unclear.

Concurrently, the saboteur, revealed to be Loginov, shoots at the captain, missing and instead fatally wounding the executive officer, Vasily Borodin (Sam Neill), along with damaging the fire control panel (leaving Red October unable to return fire). An alarm reveals that Loginov has headed into the missile launch area, and Ramius realizes that Loginov intends to ignite a missile launch mechanism, which would destroy the Red October. Ryan and Ramius go after Loginov, while Mancuso takes command of the Red October to deal with the external threat. As Ramius predicted, the Konovalov fires another torpedo which arms at launch. While chasing Loginov, Ramius is shot and injured, leaving Ryan to search for him in the submarine’s missile bay. As Loginov attempts to (and nearly does) detonate the launch mechanism of one of the missiles, he is gunned down by Ryan. Meanwhile, USS Dallas and Red October make a series of evasive maneuvers, causing the torpedo to target the Konovalov instead and destroy it. The crew of the Red October who had evacuated and were on board a U.S. Navy rescue ship witnessed the explosion and believed it to be the Red October that had been destroyed. Ultimately the submarine finds haven in the Penobscot River in Maine, and Ryan flies home—too exhausted to consider his fear of flying as he had not had a decent night’s sleep since before the film begins—with a teddy bear that he had promised for his daughter.

Die Hard

  • Directors: John McTiernan
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Joel Silver, Charles Gordon, Beau Marks
  • Writers: Novel, Roderick Thorp, Screenplay, Jeb Stuart, Steven E de Souza
  • Genres: Action, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Alexander Godunov, Reginald VelJohnson, Paul Gleason

John McClane, a detective with the New York City Police Department, arrives in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to try to reconcile with his estranged wife, Holly Gerraro. McClane is driven to the Nakatomi Plaza building at Holly’s company’s expense by a limo drier named Argyle. McClane is welcomed to their Christmas party and takes a moment to refresh himself from the flight in a bathroom. The party is disrupted by the arrival of a dozen terrorists led by Hans Gruber who quickly secure the party goers as hostages. McClane quietly slips into the ventilation system before he is discovered to try to learn more, and discover that Gruber is simply trying to steal $640 million in bearer bonds from the Nakatomi vault. When the Nakatomi president Joseph Takagi refuses to reveal the passcodes to the vault, Gruber kills him, and then orders Theo, his technical man, to begin breaking through all but the final electromagnetic lock on the vault, promising that he will handle the last lock.

McClane quietly moves through the building, killing terrorists that he encounters, and learns more of their motives while acquiring a two-way radio, C4 explosives and detonators off the body of one terrorist he kills. McClane manages to use the radio to attract the attention of LAPD Sergeant Al Powell and uses a terrorist corpse dropped onto his patrol car to convince him that something is amiss. McClane uses the pseudonym “Roy Rogers” to avoid revealing his identity to the terrorists while explaining the situation to Powell as the police and SWAT team arrive. McClane and Powell are unable to prevent the SWAT team from entering an ambush set by the terrorists, but McClane manages to minimize the damage by sending some C4 explosive down the elevator shaft to wipe out the terrorists firing on the SWAT team. McClane refuses to reveal himself when Gruber threatens and proceeds to kill Harry Ellis, one of Holly’s coworkers who tried to negotiate a deal for his release. The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrive, and order power to the Plaza shut down. Gruber reveals this was his plan all along as the final electromagnetic lock on the vault is disengaged, and Theo begins to collect the bonds.

McClane and Holly are escorted out of the building and meet Powell in person. When one of the terrorists is found still alive and bearing down on McClane, Powell fires and kills him. When Thornburg and his crew arrive to get the exclusive story, Holly punches him in the face. McClane and Holly are driven off by Argyle.