What type of kid where you? Did your parents let you watch whatever you wanted? Did you sneak around and watch rated R movies as a kid? If you’re a parent now what do you do? When do you let your kids watch some of your favorite movies?
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So the second movie in the When Should my Kid Watch reviews is Die Hard. The movie which launched Bruce Willis as an action star. For many Die Hard is considered the best action movie of all time. IGN ranked it their #1 action movie in a top 25 list. I’m not sure it would be my personal #1, but it’s close. At 11 years old I thought my oldest son could handle the violence, language, and plot of the film.
Common Sense Media https://www.commonsensemedia.org/ has a recommended age viewing for Die Hard of 16+. I’ll put a link to their review in the description below. For me 16+ is a little high for Die Hard.
The biggest hurdle to get over in deciding when to let my son watch Die Hard was the violence. The movie does have some extremely violent scenes. The execution of Mr. Takagi being example one. We see Hans pull the trigger and blood explode against the glass door. It is a graphic scene, and for kids sensitive to images I would hold off until they are able to process. For me personally I remember the first time I saw John McClane take out a terrorist from under the table and seeing the bad guys knees explode on screen. I was probably 8 or 9 and walked into the living room when my parents were watching the movie. The scene is still etched in my memory, and its one reason I hesitate when letting my son watch movies. I want to make sure he can handle what he is watching. I went ahead and let him watch Die Hard, because I didn’t think the violence would affect him. I paused the movie after the Takagi scene and asked if he was bothered by it, and he said nope, I know it’s fake.
The second obvious reason the movie is rated R is the language. I don’t think the cussing found in the movie is excessive. I think it fits for the situation our hero finds himself in. He’s just a regular cop, and he is thrown into an impossible situation. I would be cussing if I was John McClane. It’s a natural fit for the movie and the situation. I’m never going to have a big issue with language when deciding if my son should watch a film. If it is a fit for the movie, I don’t see the issue with exposing my son to it. As long as he knows not to use it, then it should be a non-issue. I would reevaluate my stance if he started getting in trouble for using bad language.
There is a small scene with nudity. It’s quick and briefly shows a women’s breasts. McClane also walks past a picture of a nude woman a couple of times, but its short and you can barely see anything. Not enough for me personally to stop my 11 year old from watching, but I can understand for those who would disagree.
Now, what about the plot. Can an 11 year old grasp the story of Die Hard, or do they really need too? Hans Gruber is a brilliant villain. He takes hostages knowing the FBI will get involved and shut off the power to the building allowing him to steal his loot. It is an intricate story and I stopped the movie when the FBI shut off the power to ask if my son understood what happened. I had to explain some information, but for the most part he already had a good grasp of what was going on. I don’t think you necessarily need to understand how intricate the heist of the movie is to enjoy Die Hard. It’s something a younger viewer can come back to at a later date and get more enjoyment out of. When they realize how cunning the villain of the movie is another level of satisfaction is added to the film.
The easy part of the plot to understand is John McClane stuck in a building with people who want to kill him, his wife, and the other hostages. McClane is the “fly in the ointment” which causes Hans Gruber’s well laid plans to go off course. Seeing Bruce Willis run around without any shoes on and knock off villains is an easy concept to grasp. The explosions and action are enough to keep most people of any age entertained.
Maybe not my son however. After we watched he was not impressed with Die Hard. Maybe he is was too young to appreciate the intricacies of the plot or the action is dull by today’s standards. That or he just doesn’t want to like movies his Dad thinks are good. He didn’t understand how Die Hard is thought of as one of the greatest action movies ever made. After this it’s back to the drawing board to find something else he will enjoy.
Since I had to explain a small amount of the plot maybe my son should be a little older to appreciate how well made of a movie Die Hard is. I still think the right age range is around 11-13 years old depending on each kid. He is old enough to handle the violence, language and action, but I think how smart and intricate the plot is was lost on him a bit.
Alright so plug and question time. When was the first time you remember seeing Die Hard? Where you too young for some of the violence? If you have kids when would feel comfortable letting them watch the movie? Could you handle them not liking it? I’m not sure I want to let my son watch Matrix now because I’m worried he’ll hate it. I plan on trying to keep plugging away until I find something he loves. Comment and let me know your thoughts.
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