twvod121008_fullsize_story1There are certain Christmas movies I just love to watch during the holiday season.  The Rankin-Bass classic Christmas specials are always at the top of my list.  I can’t get enough of Heatmiser and Snowmiser.  Those boys crack me up.  In fact, I think The Year Without a Santa Claus could be remade into an action movie for grownups.  No, seriously, think about it…

Other than the traditional holiday programs, I’ve got two action movie franchises I absolutely love to spend the holidays with – Lethal Weapon and Die Hard.  That’s right, Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis killing bad guys and destroying property with extreme prejudice make my holidays merry and bright.  Now those are Christmas movies you can sink your teeth into!

Lethal Weapon 1987

lethal1It all started in 1987. Best Christmas ever.  The beginning of the action Christmas movie genre.

A veteran cop, Murtaugh, is partnered with a young suicidal cop, Riggs. Both having one thing in common; hating working in pairs. Now they must learn to work with one another to stop a gang of drug smugglers.

Mel Gibson was at the top of his game and Danny Glover was no slouch either.  Add Gary Busey and you’ve got a volatile Christmas cocktail guaranteed to make you jolly!

Die Hard 1988

die1In 1988, the tradition continued.

John McClane, officer of the NYPD, tries to save wife Holly Gennaro and several others, taken hostage by German terrorist Hans Gruber during a Christmas party at the Nakatomi Plaza in Los Angeles.

Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman brought us all the holiday cheer we could handle as we watched them destroy that poor Nakatomi Tower that never did anything to anyone.  Yes, that was a Merry Christmas indeed!

Lethal Weapon 2 1989

Riggs and Murtaugh are on the trail of South African diplomats who are using their immunity to engage in criminal activities.

Die Hard 2 1990

John McClane attempts to avert disaster as rogue military operatives seize control of Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

Lethal Weapon 3 1992

Jeremy_IronsMartin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh pursue an arms dealer who is a former LAPD officer.

Die Hard with a Vengeance 1995

John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.

Jeremy Irons stepped in to play the foil in this one, and oh, how he played!  I’ve always been a big fan of Irons.  He was positively epic in The Borgias, but I’d recommend any of his movies.

Lethal Weapon 4 1998

liWith personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with a deadly Chinese crimelord trying to get his brother out of prison.

Before he was an Expendable, Jet Li built quite a portfolio of action movies.  He went on to work with Jason Statham a few times and make many more movies before joining the Expendables.

Live Free or Die Hard 2007

John McClane and a young hacker join forces to take down master cyber-terrorist Thomas Gabriel in Washington D.C.

timothy-olyphant-in-justifiedThis was the one where Timothy Olyphant, one of my favorite Hot Guys with Guns played the bad guy.  All fangirling aside, he was excellent.  Some of my favorite work by Olyphant was in Hitman (the original Agent 47) and the series, Justified.  Justified was based on characters by one of my writing gods, Elmore Leonard.  Leonard is the king of anti-heroes and anti-villians.  If you haven’t seen this series, put it on your Christmas list.

A Good Day to Die Hard 2013

jaiJohn McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working undercover, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.

This was the one where Jai Courtney debuted as John’s son.  He isn’t one of those pretty boys, but you’ve got to give give him props on how he takes care of himself and the fact he’s landed roles in some epic movie franchises like Divergent and Terminator.