It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The idea has a certain allure to it: A cop is trapped inside a high-rise with a team of desperate terrorists. He is all that stands between them and their hostages. Give the terrorist leader brains and a personality, make one of the hostages the estranged wife of the cop and you've got a movie.
The name of the movie is "Die Hard," and it stars Bruce Willis in another one of those Hollywood action roles where the hero's shirt is ripped off in the first reel so you can see how much time he has been spending at the gym. He's a New York cop who has flown out to Los Angeles for Christmas, and we quickly learn that his marriage was put on hold after his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) left for the Coast to accept a great job offer. She is now a vice president of the multinational Nakatomi Corp., and shortly after Willis makes his surprise entrance at her office party, the terrorists strike.
They, too, are a multinational group, led by a German named Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) who is well-dressed and has a neatly trimmed beard and talks like an intellectual and thinks he is superior to the riffraff he has to associate with. He has a plan that has been devised with clockwork precision involving the theft of millions of dollars in negotiable bonds, and it is only after Willis starts causing trouble that he is forced to take the Nakatomi employees as hostages.
The terrorists are skilled and well-armed, and there are a lot of them. Willis' strategy involves keeping them off guard with lightning attacks from his hiding place on an upper floor of the building that is still under construction. This plan involves the deployment of a great many stunts and special effects, such as when Willis swings through a plate glass window on the end of a fire rope or when he drops plastics explosives down the elevator shaft.