Facetious Observation Of The Day

In the course of my UnSerious Movie Watching During The Holidays, today I found myself revisiting Die Harder (aka Die Hard 2).  Tell me, pop culture vultures, is not the villainous Colonel Stuart (William Sadler) -  is he not absolutely the celluloid lovechild of Keir Dullea in 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ed Harris in The Right Stuff?

a three-panel image of William Sadler as Col. Stuart in Die Harder, Keir Dullea in 2001 A Space Odyssey, and Ed Harris in Apollo 13

William Sadler, Keir Dullea and Ed Harris

I have a soft spot for the Die Hard series (#3 notwithstanding – it wasn’t rubbish, it just wasn’t as good as the first two). One of the many things I like is the effort taken to make the fight sequences appear at least moderately improvised with what is truly to hand – the fight choreography is exceptionally well done. I also like that there’s always some level of familiarity with the world of the working class maintenance folks necessary to what McClane gets up to – it’s not just officer-class stuff such as that which tends to be served up by the Bond and Star Trek franchises (when was the last time anybody in StarFleet wasn’t at least an Ensign? and what service can operate without ratings, seriously?).

I notice with Asian martial arts action movies that they do tend to do a better job of acknowledging that there is a master class and a servant class, and indeed an upper and lower servant class, and these inter-relations are part of the challenges that the hero must navigate. it’s marginally better than pretending that these social divisions don’t exist, I guess.

Categories: arts & entertainment, Sociology

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7 replies

  1. Ha, I was literally just watching Die Hard with a Vengeance today. All its faults are easily glossed over for me by Jeremy Irons being smug and Germanic. And Samuel L Jackson. But I think #2 is completely underrated as a film, it’s awesome.

  2. It’s hard not to enjoy Jeremy Irons being smug.

  3. Uncanny resemblance!
    Minor nit pick – the image for Ed Harris is a still from Apollo 13, in which he plays NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz and delivers the classic line “We’ve never lost an American in space, we’re sure as hell not gonna lose one on my watch! Failure is not an option.”
    In The Right Stuff he plays a very youthful, and not so lean, John Glenn.
    Love both films, and it must be just about time to watch them again.

  4. I wondered who’d be the first to spot that the Ed Harris shot was from Apollo 13 🙂
    Confession: pure laziness – it was on the first page of image results when I searched on Ed Harris, and I couldn’t be arsed to go through and find one from The Right Stuff on what was up-front a facetious thread. I did put the correct movie credit in the alt text for the image.

  5. “when was the last time anybody in StarFleet wasn’t at least an Ensign?”
    There were quite a lot of “crewman” on Star Trek: Enterprise. In the earlier shows, there wasn’t much scripted interaction between the principals and the “lower decks extras” where rank was mentioned.

    • I never got into Star Trek: Enterprise, so I’m glad to hear that there was a bit more acknowledgement of fact that big vessels can’t be run just by officers.

  6. So Star Trek: Enterprise was the celluloid lovechild of The Right Stuff and Upstairs Downstairs?

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