This essay will address the application of McKee's Archplot framework to the Die Hard screenplay. The Archplot is considered the most commercial of all movie plot structures and has been defined as "a story built around an active protagonist who struggles against primarily external forces of antagonism to pursue his or her desire, through continuous time, within a consistent and causally connected fictional reality, to a closed ending of absolute, irreversible change." (McKee R 1996:45).
These struggles must represent the protagonist's particular desire to achieve his objectives against the antagonistic force. There is a linear time frame which characterises the temporal features of the story. This linear time frame is produced as a result of discrete and causally related events. The final feature of the Archplot is the nature of the story's ending. The ending leaves no room for doubt as to the fate of the characters. The ending, in short, is characterised by a finality which cannot be altered.
This essay will argue that, in nearly all respects, the Die Hard screenplay conforms closely to the main features of the Archplot. This screenplay pursues the fundamental features noted by McKee, and a textual analysis of the screenplay will be employed to analyse each of these features of the Archplot, respectively.
There is a preliminary question as to whether the main protagonist is active or passive. The protagonist in Die Hard is John McClane, a New York City police officer. The script introduces him as "mid-thirties, good-looking, athletic and tired from his trip" (Die Hard: 3). ...