Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons
Synopsis: John McClane’s past comes back to haunt him as a mysterious figure specifically leads him on a race against time before fulfilling his threat of blowing up an elementary school. He is assisted throughout by Zeus, a man he meets in Harlem on his first challenge.
A review by Film Nerd.
The Die Hard Franchise continues, however this film is much more than a repeat of the first two instalments. The plot eschews the plot line of McClane meeting his wife Holly at Christmas before a whole lot of bad stuff happens, and as such the mounting co-incidences element is lost, much to the film’s benefit. Rather, it is clear from very early on that at some point in the past, our hero has really pissed somebody off, and this person is targeting him for revenge. Given McClane’s history, this plot line is immediately plausible.
This film also gets rid of the restricted setting option (previously a high-rise building and an airport), and allows McClane the chance to play ion an entire city. As such we get car chases, subway drama, flooding tunnels, the works. The intelligence of villain “Simon” (Irons) is also a welcome addition, providing a villain more in the style of Hans Gruber, and as such requiring McClane to use a great deal of resourcefulness to complete each challenge set for him while simultaneously trying to bring the bad guy down.
The other perfect addition to the plot is having McClane not be alone this time, with side-kick duties provided by Jackson’s Zeus, a character that is somewhat playing against type for the professional move bad-ass. He is a side-kick that is drawn into the spectacle against his will, and his more thoughtful approach to the scenarios creates the perfect foil to McClane’s making everything up as he goes along. That said, he may be unwilling, but he is far from a hindrance. The character may not be a natural bad-ass, but this is Samuel L. Jackson… when his character stands up he holds his own!!
This is a film that proves that when it comes to Die Hard, it is McClane that is the key, and not the scenario. As long as the plot has him being” the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time”, then the magic is still there. Christmas was a good gimmick for the first film, but that trend need not continue. Having McTiernan back at the helm has a very clear impact too… the quips are still there, but dialled back so that the drama and action can take front seat when required. At the time this was scene as a good end to the trilogy, but boy am I glad there was another outing for Willis and McClane yet!!
4 stars (out of a possible 5)
Die Hard: With a Vengeance on IMDB
Die Hard: With a Vengeance on Rotten Tomatoes