Last night on twitter Chris McQuarrie was praising John McTiernan, Larry Gordon, Jeb Stuart, Stephen de Souza and Joel Silver‘s Die Hard.

He was especially impressed about how this 1988 film “spends a whole reel — 22 minutes — on set-up before the shooting starts.” Few filmmakers “have the huevos” to do that, McQuarrie remarked.

Yeah, by today’s standards. But back in the ’80s and ’90s it was actually considered de rigueur for the inciting incident to kick off roughly around the 20-minute mark, and no later than 25 minutes. Nowadays you have to hook the ADD morons within the first five or ten minutes.

14 years ago Man on Fire director Tony Scott waited 45 minutes until the inciting incident (i.e., the kidnapping of Dakota Fanning). 45 minutes spent on character and set-up!