Each year around the end of December I like to get out my favourite Christmas movie of all time, Die Hard, and watch it for the nth time. This time while I was watching it I decided to look up the book that inspired the movie – Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp – and actually did something about reading it.
I was hesitant at first; being a die hard Die Hard fan I was worried that it was going to suck (or make the movie suck in comparison which is often the case). As it turns out I still enjoy the movie and thought the book wasn’t too bad either.
So the movie is “inspired by” this book, so there were always going to be a lot of changes. Some were interesting, others I found a little disappointing. But first, let’s backtrack and read the blurb:
High atop a Los Angeles skyscraper, an office Christmas party turns into a deadly cage-match between a lone New York City cop and a gang of international terrorists. Every action fan knows it could only be the explosive big-screen blockbuster Die Hard. But before Bruce Willis blew away audiences as unstoppable hero John McClane, author Roderick Thorp knocked out thriller readers with the bestseller that started it all.
A dozen heavily armed terrorists have taken hostages, issued demands, and promised bloodshed all according to plan. But they haven’t counted on a death-defying, one-man cavalry with no shoes, no backup, and no intention of going down easily. As hot-headed cops swarm outside, and cold-blooded killers wield machine guns and rocket launchers inside, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between anti-hero and uber-villains. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight to the death. Ho ho ho!
So it sounds the same, yeah? And for the most part it is. The main character, Joe Leland (changed to John McLane in the movie) is older, somewhat more cynical, and ex-Cop turned counter-terrorism expert. Probably the one thing I missed (and this was because the book only follows Joe’s point of view) are the scenes from the movie involving Gruber portrayed by the greatly missed Alan Rickman.
There were parts of this book I felt didn’t add any value and ended up skipping those paragraphs. Joe spends a lot of time reflecting on his life and where things have gone wrong, but there is so much of this it reads like filler to beef out the story. Especially later in the book where the plot and the pace is quickening, these parts slowed things down and I felt I lost the momentum it was building.
Reading the scenes in the building you can see how much the film borrowed from the book, lifting entire lines of dialogue and at times entire scenes. Once I started skipping the introspection parts of the book, the pace of the book stayed solid.
All in all, I enjoyed this book, but wish I started skipping the slower parts earlier on.
Fans of Die Hard will enjoy this, but I’d suggest skipping the slower parts if you want the same intensity of the movie.
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