Signup for our free newsletter:

Is Die Hard the Wokest Movie You've Ever Seen?

Written By Alex Koyfman

Posted December 30, 2021

Dear Reader,

It’s a cliche, a guilty pleasure, and a decades-long tradition, and I do it every year: Watch the original Die Hard on Christmas Day.

Is it a Christmas movie? Is it just an action movie taking place on Christmas? I don’t care. To me, it’s like a friend that comes to visit on that day and that day specifically, without fail.

Only when my friend showed up this year, I realized something else about the beloved 1988 masterpiece by John McTiernan… It may be the wokest movie ever made, before or since.

It sounds absurd, I know, an action flick that passed into legend status almost three decades before the whole concept of wokeness even entered the public consciousness. But let me throw a few well-placed facts out to state my case.

By the time I’m done, maybe you’ll be scratching your head too.

We’ll start small…

The Hippest, Smartest, and Most Sympathetic Characters in the Movie Are Black

Argyle, the limo driver, played by De’voreaux White; Theo, the technical wizard, played by Clarence Gilyard; and, of course, the beloved Al Powell, played by Reginald VelJohnson.

While Argyle and Theo are fairly two-dimensional, their characters are nonetheless unambiguous statements.

Argyle is selflessly heroic, infectiously friendly, and completely down-to-Earth. Everyone wanted to chill with him after knowing him for 30 seconds, you included.

Theo, on the other hand, is brilliant, sarcastic, and cold-hearted. He’s easily the smartest of the criminals. He’s also the only one of the bad guys to get a pass from death that night — an honor that not even all of the hostages get.

Al is the movie’s emotional ballast.

Not only is he a pudgy, smiling, clearly peace-loving police officer, but he’s a nervous father-to-be working on Christmas Eve, to boot. He’s got a major sweet tooth. Who among us doesn’t?

We learn later that he’s also carrying the burden of an immense and terrible guilt.

No other character is as thoroughly relatable.

Only Two White Characters Are Portrayed as Intelligent and Sympathetic…

John and Holly. Everyone else is a clown, an asshole, a killer, or some combination — starting with the ponytailed police dispatcher, whose infuriating refusal to take John’s call seriously prompts one of the most satisfying Karen slap-downs in history.

A pattern quickly emerges of white people acting against the efforts of the protagonist, either directly or, through their own stupidity, indirectly.

That pattern only strengthens when the cops ultimately do show up.

Paul Gleason, in the role of deputy police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson, dusts off his high school principal routine from The Breakfast Club and brings us a character that is weak, stupid, and a clear misallocation of authority.

He treats Al with disdain and disrespect, stands in the way of progress, and begs the question of how he got the job in the first place.

Once the media get a hold of the story, watch out, because the tidal wave of male-toxicity-fueled self-destructive idiocy is about to really hit.

Enter William Atherton, of Ghostbusters fame, in the role of the meddling reporter Richard “Dick” Thornburg.


A racist white weasel bent on personal gain at any cost, he is nothing short of a child-terrorizing home invader who, in his lowest moment, threatens Holly’s lovable nanny, Paulina, with a visit from the INS.

He is dealt with accordingly at the end by Holly herself.

Hans Gruber — played by one of my all-time favorites, Alan Rickman — is the white cis-male antagonist archetype, but even he is only smart in the refined, erudite sense of the word.

He’s readily outwitted by a simple street cop at every step; almost stumbles into his own early demise in the elevator shaft scene; and, when it comes to flexing his authoritative muscle, remains subordinate to Holly, who calls Hans an idiot in front of his own men and then defiantly stares him down in a dare to do something about it.

And while we’re on the topic of Holly…

Women and Minorities Are Strong, Independent, and Supportive of One Another

Smarter than her protagonist husband and definitely more successful, our heroine wears her maiden name and spends her time in a high-powered corner office with a kick-ass private washroom.

Take that, patriarchy.

She effortlessly brushes off the biggest idiot toxic male in the movie while at the same time showing sympathy and warm, motherly concern for her younger, very hardworking, very pregnant Latina assistant.

Take that again, patriarchy.

Holly is respected by the only non-protagonist, non-black male worthy of respect in the whole movie, her boss, the sage-like Joe Takagi.

Now, Mr. Takagi, who comes from one of the most unapologetically patriarchal cultures in existence, is given a pass for being a rich cis-male corporate elitist.

Why? Because he’s also self-made, highly educated, and worldly, and is working to better mankind through sustainable, equity-inducing infrastructural investments in emerging economies.

He’s the Democrat all Democrats secretly want to be or think they already are.

When Mr. Takagi is executed, we’re left mortified. It’s a disturbingly casual, very violent moment that leaves just enough to the imagination to make it truly scarring.

Perhaps one of the most graphic killings in all of mainstream ’80s cinema, it also lets the audience confidently label Hans as an irredeemable psychopath.

His German accent and impeccable hair already hinted to that, but the killing seals the deal.

White Death Is Not Treated With the Same Level of Humanity

Takagi’s right-hand man, the aforementioned most toxic male in the movie, Harry Ellis, doesn’t get the same empathy when he meets a similar ending.

Instead of shock, we feel a flurry of other emotions: Relief, satisfaction… joy, perhaps?

Just think. A human life is taken. A man dies, violently and decades before his time.

And yet we’re cool with it because while Takagi is a soft-spoken, multi-lingual minority who rose from hardship to achieve greatness on his own merits, Ellis is a noisy, toxic white cis-male scumbag caricature who’s never worked for anything and figured some quick back-stabbing might yield a bit of personal glory before he gets back to whats really important: searching for a decent place to do some blow.

Ellis today would be viewed as the embodiment of white male privilege.

He and Donald Trump Jr. could have been switched at birth and then switched back again 30 years later without anybody noticing either transition.


He gets murdered brutally and the whole theater smirks.

That’s about as woke as you can get, people.

But it’s actually not as woke as you can get.

That moment takes place at the very end, when Karl, the ubermensch male model mercenary played by legendary Russian dancer, booze, and actor, Alexander Godunov, gets wasted by Al.

In that memorable scene, a black beat cop defeats his personal demons and rises to the occasion by slaying the whitest white man alive (up to that point) with nothing less than a Smith and Wesson .44 Magnum.

Or if you want to keep closer score: Psychotic, seemingly unkillable white guy with high-tech assault rifle and a vendetta meets affable, emotionally vulnerable, Twinkie-destroying black cop on his way home to his pregnant wife. 

Black cop pulls out Dirty Harry’s favorite revolver and empties all six rounds into insane white guy.

Everyone applauds. 


That’s not just woke. That’s a sequence taken straight out of the ketamine-addled dreams of a blue-haired women’s lit major.

And yet 33 years ago we all rejoiced.

I do not exaggerate when I say that the list goes on.

In fact, I could probably write 10,000 more words on this topic.

I could spend some time picking apart the SWAT team’s ambush, first by a prickly bush and then by the Asian-German gunman… and I could delve deep into the ill-fated FBI duo of Johnson and Johnson, who owe their fiery deaths to the moronic bravado of the wannabe Rambo, Special Agent “Big Johnson”… but I think the point’s been made.

Is John McTiernan a Communist?

So the big question is: What’s happening here? Was John McTiernan the world’s most advanced SJW, feeding us neo-Marxist propaganda 30 years before it became hip?

The answer, of course, is no.

McTiernan, who also produced two other Die Hard movies as well as other ’80s and ’90s high-budget classics including Predator, Last Action Hero and The Hunt for Red October, was a man firmly devoted to one color and one color only: green.

The casting choices he and his team made were not products of diversity seminars, accusations of racism, angry tweets, vandalism, threats of boycott or physical harm, or anything else the leftist “activists” use these days to drive home social-engineering initiatives.

That said, on the flip side of the coin, these casting choices were not met with public parades featuring Confederate flags and AR-15-carrying “patriots,” belligerent phone calls to the studio by barely literate Reagan supporters, or a public outcry for McTiernan’s removal from U.S. soil for being a scumbag communist.

None of this happened 33 years ago. Yet today none of the absurdity I just listed is inconceivable.

Today, a movie with these decontextualized stats may well be viewed by the far left as a giant middle finger to the white capitalist patriarchy and by the far right as a complete capitulation to mind-numbing political correctness.

Holly Had to Let Go of Her Rolex to Survive… Take That, Capitalism!

All it would take would be a few well-worded tweets by some prominent blue check marks, some half-assed editorial in Vice or Huffpost about empowerment and “flipping the script” or some such meaningless tripe, and the mindless droves would latch on and carry the message onward in a giant hairball of insults and death threats until the next news cycle.

This didn’t happen then, but it does happen today, because the audience has changed.

We are now today in strictly defined categories, dictated mostly by factors outside of our control. We are not Americans but white and black, male and female, gay and straight, young and old, everything in between, and every permutation.

We are conditioned to root for those who look and think like we do, and automatically view those who do not with suspicion.

We are taught that our interests and goals are aligned only with those who have the same set of needs and fears. Everyone else is an obstacle at best and an enemy at worst.

Some say that what’s happening today is the product of multiple layers of nuance and interplay and that people in the wrong getting “called out” en masse is the opening stage of a long-overdue paradigm shift.

Unfortunately, for that to work, one side would have to be right and the other wrong, and it’s definitely not that cut and dried.

A far simpler, less flattering theory provides a more complete explanation.

Admit It: You Enjoy Being Triggered

Ever get a stab of sweet satisfaction when somebody you dislike gives you a good reason to hate them more? Don’t pretend like you don’t know the feeling.

Rendering judgment and calling Karens Karens is the non-chemical intoxicant of our era. 

Whether we know it or not. Whether we admit it or not, it’s our quest for this self-righteous indignation that guides much of our behavior as a culture.

This behavior includes choosing what to read and view when we’re online. Just think of the last time you clicked on something because the title tingled the little outrage spot deep in that complex, beautiful brain of yours?

Maybe you’re reading this article for that very reason? You saw “Die Hard” and “woke” in the same subject line, got that exquisite little pang of adrenaline that comes right before a self-righteous climax, and got yourself ready for rhetorical war with the author having read nothing more than the title.

This new human instinct is not the product of progress. It’s not the product of “bigots getting called out,” or being on the “right side of history,” or “owning the libs,” or any of that pseudo-political dribble.

We are not in a better place today because people have learned to reframe their personal butthurt as some sort of grand, overarching social issue.

That little exquisite pang of adrenaline you feel when you read something that doesn’t sit right with you isn’t your inner hero straining and struggling against injustice. It’s just you being a self-obsessed toddler with nothing better to do.

And like most toddler-esque instincts, the result of doubling and tripling down on this self-obsession only drives us deeper into the hole we’re in.

This holds true regardless of whether you wear a pink hat or a semi-automatic rifle to your next pity party (not that I would expect any Wealth Daily readers to ever consider wearing either).

Let’s Lay the Cards on the Table?

So why did I choose to dissect one of our favorite holiday action movies for this, my last Wealth Daily of 2021?

Because I wanted to see if I could give you, my audience, a little taste of that all-important, widely sought-after outragegasm before the arrival of the new year.

If I didn’t, then I congratulate you. You are one of the people who will not let allow our modern, socially destructive political tribalism to pose as ideological righteousness. You are not part of the problem.

If I managed to succeed, however, then I guess I just gave you something to work on for that all-important list of resolutions.

Mostly, though, I just wanted to have a little bit of fun — something too many of us have forgotten how to do over the last couple years.

Regardless of your convictions or hang-ups, be they personal or political, may 2022 be kinder to each and every one of you than 2021 was… and may each and every one of you be kinder to each other in turn.

Happy New Year.

Fortune favors the bold,

alex koyfman Signature

Alex Koyfman

follow basicCheck us out on YouTube!

His flagship service, Microcap Insider, provides market-beating insights into some of the fastest moving, highest profit-potential companies available for public trading on the U.S. and Canadian exchanges. With more than 5 years of track record to back it up, Microcap Insider is the choice for the growth-minded investor. Alex contributes his thoughts and insights regularly to Wealth Daily. To learn more about Alex, click here.