Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Reissue)
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Overall Rating 76%
Overall Rating
Ranked #348
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Connections: Die Hard

John McClane, officer of the NYPD and hero of both the Nakatomi Hostage Crisis and the Dulles International Airport Crisis, must join forces with a Harlem shop owner to prevent Simon, brother of the late Hans Gruber and serial bomber, from stealing billions of dollars worth of gold from the Federal Reserve Building in New York City. --IMDb
Review by Chad
Added: September 06, 2007
How in the hell did they do it? I'm referring, of course, to the Die Hard series, and to be more specific, the way that it has stayed fresh and exciting over the course of three films. Hollywood films are usually damned lucky to inspire even one sequel that comes close to measuring up to the original, but here, we've got two (and possibly three - I've yet to see the latest one) releases that accomplish this amazing feat. While it's true that Die Hard 2 didn't quite live up to the greatness of the original film, it was much better than a mere action sequel had any right to be, and then we have Die Hard: With a Vengeance: a film that comes damned close to overthrowing the original for the "best of the series" title.

We pick up with John McClane (Bruce Willis) a couple of years after the events of the previous film, and we soon discover that he and his wife are having some marital problems which have forced him to move back to New York. He's still a police officer, and in fact, he's serving a suspension and nursing a hangover when a massive explosion rips through a department store in New York City. John soon finds out that a man calling himself Simon (Jeremy Irons) has planted bombs all over the city, and it's going to be a very bad day for a lot of people unless our hero decides to play a game of "Simon Says" with our terrorist friend. The first thing that Simon says? John must wear a sign proclaiming that he "hates niggers" and walk around in downtown Harlem with no police backup and no weapons. This would probably be a very short game with that as the opening round if not for the help of Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), a black man who is none too fond of either white people or police. Zeus and John is an awkward pairing to say the very least, but they'll now have to play the game together after Simon discovers that Zeus has foiled his plans... and the games just keep on getting deadlier and deadlier as the film progresses.

I'm a huge fan of Bruce Willis, and I've loved his performances in all three of these films. As I've said in previous reviews, guys like Schwarzenegger and Stallone may be the perfect larger-than-life action stars, but nobody quite does the everyman action star like Willis. Once again, the man is simply a treat to watch as he tracks down the villain and goes through hell getting there, but the key difference this time around is the inclusion of Samuel L. Jackson. Yes, they decided to go with a bit of a "buddy film" for this outing, and although that theme could have failed miserably with the wrong parter, the choice to include Jackson made the film a classic. Now, some of you may have discovered that I simply love Jackson and that I think he could make an impressive buddy film with himself and a broom, but I'm being purely objective here when I say that teaming him up with Bruce Willis resulted in a film for the ages. These two play off of one another perfectly and have a true chemistry between them, and I would have loved to have seen them get another couple of films to shine together in.

Then there's those action sequences, and let me tell you that there's some damned good ones here. When Bruce is running through that subway train with a bomb that is about to explode, the tension just goes through the roof... and then, when it finally does blow, the resulting explosion and chaos simply exemplifies what an action film should be all about. Then there's that bridge sequence, a scene which may have had a moment of spotty CGI but was nonetheless highly memorable and extremely badass. These are but two scenes of the film, and the rest were just as awesome.

There's really nothing bad that I can say about the film. The two leading men work perfectly together, Jeremy Irons is excellent and makes a perfect villain, the script is smart and interesting, and the action sequences are amazing. This is everything that a sequel should be and more, and I can't recommend it enough. 10/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 09/06/2007, 11:04 PM
Almost as good as the first film, but just barely misses. This is what a sequel is supposed to be, and we get a fantastic new character in Samuel L. Jackson that really works well, especially in his chemistry with Bruce Willis. Unlike William Sadler in the second film, Jeremy Irons makes a wonderful villain and I found him to be almost as sinister as Alan Rickman, but not quite. The script is excellent, the performances are right on target, and the action is astounding. 9/10.
Lucid Dreams #2: Lucid Dreams - added 05/30/2010, 10:26 PM
A friend tried to tell me this was horrible and our friendship ended that day. 9/10
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