Analysis of die hard

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Character Arc Critique Suggestions
John McClane John McClane starts out as a competent and assertive police officer but becomes increasingly vulnerable and emotional as he fights to save his wife and the hostages. He shows resourcefulness and determination throughout the movie, and finally emerges as a tough and heroic hero who will stop at nothing to save lives. The character arc of John McClane is well-developed and engaging, but sometimes his emotional vulnerability feels forced rather than organic. Additionally, his brash and sarcastic persona feels overused at times, and could have benefited from additional depth and complexity.
To improve the character arc of John McClane, the filmmakers could have given him more nuanced emotional moments that felt authentic and earned. Additionally, adding more layers to his personality, such as exploring his relationship with his wife and the effects of his job on his personal life, could have made him a more dynamic and relatable character.
William William starts off as an inexperienced limo driver who is talkative and curious, but sensitive to McClane's mood. As the movie progresses, he becomes more focused and skilled as a technician helping McClane from the police trailer. His character arc culminates in his confident and calm performance in the climax, where he helps McClane save the day. The character arc of William is decent and serves its purpose of adding a sidekick to McClane, but it feels very predictable and generic. There are no real surprises or twists in his development, and his transformation feels too convenient and easy.
To improve William's character arc, the writers could add some backstory or personal struggles that he needs to overcome during the movie. This would make his transformation more meaningful and engaging, and add more depth to his character. Additionally, they could explore his relationship with McClane more, and give them more scenes together to build their dynamic and chemistry.
Holly Gennaro McClane Holly Gennaro McClane starts off as a successful businesswoman who appears to have it all together but is struggling with her relationship with her husband, John McClane. Throughout the movie, Holly becomes more assertive and independent, taking charge of her own safety and helping out in the fight against the terrorists. By the end of the movie, Holly and John reconcile and work together to defeat the villainous Hans Gruber. The character arc for Holly is somewhat underdeveloped and could use more focus. While she does become more independent and assertive, her journey feels overshadowed by the action-packed plot and her role as a motivator for John McClane.
To improve Holly's character arc, the movie could explore her personal struggles and growth in more depth, perhaps by giving her more scenes that focus solely on her character. Additionally, her relationship with John could be given more attention and development, so their reconciliation feels more earned. Overall, the movie could benefit from giving Holly a more prominent and fleshed-out role in the plot.
Al Powell Al Powell starts off as an observant, calm under pressure LAPD officer who is working with the SWAT team to rescue hostages. He breaks free from distractions and helps John McClane throughout the movie, but is unsure of himself initially. However, he becomes brave and dedicated to serving justice by the end of the movie, and regrets his past mistakes and failure to act during the Nakatomi hostage crisis. He becomes a sympathetic and helpful ally to McClane as they work together to take down the terrorists. The character arc of Al Powell could have been more fleshed out. While he is a sympathetic character, his personal struggles and motivations could have been explored further to better connect with the audience.
To improve Al Powell's character arc, more scenes could have been added that highlighted his personal struggles and how he overcomes them. Additionally, his relationship with John McClane could have been further developed to add more emotional depth to their interactions.
Theo Theo starts off as a calculating and manipulative hacker who underestimates McClane's abilities, but as the movie progresses, he begins to feel the pressure of McClane's presence and realizes that there is more to life than just money and power. He ultimately helps McClane take down the terrorist group and decides to turn his life around. The character arc for Theo feels rushed and is not given enough attention throughout the movie. Additionally, his change of heart feels sudden and not fully developed.
To improve Theo's character arc, the movie could have focused more on his internal struggle as he comes to terms with the consequences of his actions. Additionally, more scenes could have been added to show his gradual change of heart, making it feel more authentic and believable.
Hans Gruber Hans Gruber begins as a confident and charming leader of the terrorists taking over the Nakatomi building. He is calculating, dangerous, and always one step ahead of the authorities. As the movie progresses, we see him become more ruthless in his pursuit of the stolen bonds and in his treatment of hostages. He becomes desperate as his plan begins to unravel, ultimately leading to his demise at the hands of John McClane. However, in death, his charisma and intelligence leave a lasting impression on both the heroes and the audience. While Hans Gruber is a well-written and iconic villain, his character arc is relatively straightforward. He begins as a confident and charming leader, and his descent into desperation and ultimately his demise serve as a natural conclusion to his story. However, his arc could have been a bit more nuanced and complex to make him even more compelling.
To improve Hans Gruber's character arc, the writers could have added more backstory or motivation for his criminal activities. They could have also explored his personal relationships with his fellow terrorists or even the hostages. This could have added more emotional depth to his character and made his ultimate demise even more impactful. Additionally, his charisma and intelligence could have served to create more nuanced moral ambiguity, forcing the audience to question their allegiance to John McClane's heroism.
Ellis Ellis starts as an arrogant, selfish businessman who is willing to cooperate with terrorists to save himself. He then becomes cocky and overconfident, leading to his downfall. Later, he continues to be arrogant and selfish, putting himself and others in danger. Ultimately, he ends up sacrificing others to save himself, leading to his tragic death. The character arc for Ellis is fairly straightforward and lacks a lot of depth. He starts off as a one-dimensional arrogant businessman and ends up as a one-dimensional selfish hostage. His arc doesn't really develop beyond these initial character traits, which makes his death feel somewhat predictable and lacking emotional impact.
To improve the character arc for Ellis, it would be helpful to give him more depth and complexity. Maybe there is a reason why he is so self-centered and arrogant- perhaps he has a troubled past or is dealing with some personal struggles. Additionally, it would be great to see him evolve and change throughout the movie, maybe even learning from his past mistakes and trying to redeem himself. By adding more depth and development to his character, his death would feel more impactful and meaningful.
Hans Hans starts off as a calm and collected leader with a clear plan, but as the movie progresses and things don't go according to plan, he becomes more cunning and ruthless. He becomes more willing to use any means necessary to achieve his goals, and is always one step ahead of McClane. However, when his plan ultimately fails and he is defeated by McClane, Hans realizes the futility of his actions and accepts his fate. The character arc for Hans is well-written and consistent throughout the movie, but it lacks a true emotional component. While the audience can understand his motivations, they never truly sympathize with him or feel invested in his journey.
To improve the character arc, try to add more depth to Hans' motivations and backstory. Perhaps there could be a tragic event in his past that drives him to extreme measures, or a personal connection to one of the hostages that forces him to question his actions. Additionally, giving him more emotional moments, such as moments of doubt or remorse, could make him a more complex and sympathetic villain.
McClane McClane starts off as a determined and resourceful cop who finds himself in over his head. As the movie progresses, he becomes increasingly resourceful, tough, and determined. He becomes a smart and quick-witted cop who can think on his feet, but also shows signs of wear and tear. He is flawed but driven to save his wife and stop the terrorists, and he becomes a tough cop with a dry sense of humor, who is willing to risk his life to save others. The arc of McClane is well-constructed and shows gradual development. However, the arc could have been more clear and focused if it was based on a specific goal or theme. Additionally, the character could have been given more opportunities to face challenges that would truly test his convictions and abilities.
To improve the character arc, the movie could have highlighted a specific goal that McClane was fighting for, such as his relationship with his wife or his desire to stop the terrorists. Furthermore, the movie could have given McClane more challenging obstacles to overcome in order to showcase his development. For instance, instead of just surviving each terrorist attack, McClane could have been more proactive in taking down the terrorists and saving the hostages.
Karl Karl starts off as a ruthless and determined terrorist who wants to kill McClane. However, as the movie progresses, he becomes increasingly obsessed with killing McClane to the point where he goes against Hans's orders and puts himself in danger. In the end, Karl is killed by McClane, but not before he understands that his obsession with killing McClane was futile and resulted in his own demise. While Karl's obsession with killing McClane adds a layer of tension and unpredictability to the story, it ultimately serves as a one-dimensional motivation for his character. Additionally, Karl's arc is overshadowed by the more fleshed out arcs of other characters in the movie.
To improve Karl's character arc, the writers could have explored his backstory and motivations for joining the terrorist group in the first place. Additionally, they could have given him a greater role in the overall plot beyond his obsession with killing McClane. This would have made his eventual demise more impactful and meaningful.
Powell Powell starts as a dedicated officer eager to help McClane and becomes a brave cop forced into action during a terrorist attack. He relies on McClane's information and expertise to make decisions and becomes a fellow cop helping McClane from outside the building. Despite the ongoing danger, he remains determined to find McClane and help him, offering support from a distance. He ends up being courageous, reliable, and concerned for McClane's safety The character arc for Powell is somewhat predictable, and his development is limited. He starts off as a supportive partner and ends up being a supportive partner, with not a lot of change in between.
To improve the character arc for Powell, he could have some internal conflict or struggle that he needs to overcome. Perhaps he initially hesitates to take action, but gradually gains confidence. Alternatively, he could have a personal stake in the situation, such as a loved one inside the building, which would give him a more compelling reason to put himself in danger to help McClane. Additionally, it might be interesting to see him challenged in some way, such as having to make a difficult decision that puts McClane or others at risk.
Deputy Chief Robinson Deputy Chief Robinson starts as a frustrated and overwhelmed law enforcement officer who does not have a clear understanding of what to do next. He becomes a competent leader who coordinates with McClane and Powell to manage the situation and rally the officers to take action. Robinson then transforms into a calm and level-headed communicator who provides support and guidance to McClane during the standoff. He is ultimately willing to work with the Johnsons to resolve the crisis and serves as a voice of reason and authority to McClane, but can also be an obstacle at times. The character arc for Deputy Chief Robinson is somewhat predictable and lacks depth. The transformation from frustrated to competent to supportive is expected and does not provide any surprises for the audience. Additionally, Robinson's actions throughout the movie could have been more consistent with his ultimate transformation.
To improve the character arc for Deputy Chief Robinson, the writers could have added more personal stakes for him. For example, perhaps he has a loved one in the building or has a past failure that he wants to make up for. This would make his transformation more meaningful and the stakes higher for the audience. Additionally, Robinson's actions could have been more consistent with his ultimate transformation, perhaps showing more moments of hesitation or doubt before fully committing to supporting McClane.