Hans Gruber, played by Alan Rickman. He is intelligent, classy, patient, well-planned, articulate, and above all, he has a sense of humour. He is of German origin, which sort of enhances his villian-ness by adding a streak of ruthless efficiency to his character. All these qualities make him my favorite villian.
It is true that Bruce Willis was the lead actor in the movie. However, Hans Gruber completes the movie in his own way. If you don’t love to hate him, the sweetness of the plot will simply melt away. My point is, for this movie atleast, the villian and the heroes character balance the movie right down the middle. This guy isn’t just there to be killed by the hero!
It is unfortunate that the true game that Hans plays is one simply motivated by money. But the very fact that even the FBI buys into his facade drives home two significant points – he knows what he is doing and he is willing to gamble on the outcome.
My favorite quote at this point would be:
Joseph Takagi: You want money? What kind of terrorists are you?
Hans Gruber: Who said we were terrorists?
Hans Gruber can not only convince you of his motives, but he can also buy you out. He negotiates with hot-rod turk Ellis into revealing his nemesis’ real-name. As the plot unfolds, Hans uses this information ruthlessly against McClane. While he is unsuccessful in convincing Joseph Takagi to give him what he wants, he has a strong plan B, so he kills him anyway. A business sense, coupled with ruthlessness and backed by strong planning. I think he could have matched wits with Trump himself.
Hans Gruber has a background in classical education and was brought up in a very educated family. Naturally, his selection of dialogues reflect this intensely studious background. In other words, his character is designed to awe and inspire, as the movie reveals, John McClane has to really strive to reach another level to match up to him and spoil his plans, for Hans almost gets away with it. Another quote from the movie:
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
His uber-villianness is enhanced by his death, in a macabre way. In his dying moments, he grabs onto McClanes wife in an attempt to take her with him as he falls from the 50 storeyed Nakatomi towers. You cannot help but feel he deserved to die after all. Definitely not one of the good guys!
The rest of the Die Hard series, desperately tries to replace the void leftover by Hans. Bruce Willis instead expands his character in an attempt to gloss over Hans’ absence. In fact, some of the villians appear to imbibe Hans’ character in some small way and imitate his presence, coming close, but never convincing.