Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995) Directed by John McTiernan. With Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Larry Bryggman, Graham Greene and Jeremy Irons.
Original Die Hard director, John McTiernan returns to the series for this third instalment, in which we catch-up with Bruce Willis’ disgruntled cop, John McClane – going up against a vengeful terrorist (Jeremy Irons) in New York City.
It has been five-years since McClane’s exploits in Die Hard 2. In that time, not only have things turned sour with his wife, Holly (presumably Bonnie Bedelia too as she’s not in the film), his reputation as a cop is in the gutter. The film begins with a bang (there’s literally an explosion), which kick-starts a plot device that forces McClane to participate in a series of high-stakes riddles and games around the city, with the help of Samuel L. Jackson as an unintentional side-kick, or sorts.
The first hour of the film is classic Die Hard. The hustle and bustle of New York City proves a fitting playground for this brand mayhem to ensue…and ensue it does. Between the congested insanity of the concrete jungle, the frantic cops and the love-hate banter of Willis and Jackson – the film quickly establishes a fine tempo. Sadly, partly due to it clocking in at a hefty 131-mins, it slowly becomes bloated and repetitive as its action set-pieces get sillier and begin to merge into one.
There are mild annoyances too, particularly as Jackson’s ‘Zues’ labours heavily with racist dialogue, much to McClane’s (and our) bemusement. That aside, the pair make a fun duo; chipping away at each other as they work to foil elaborate traps set-up by Jeremy Irons and his peroxide blonde hair.
As Die Hard films go (there are five now), this is a decent one. Willis’ deadpan delivery is still on point – as is his trademark vest-usage. The final-third starts to wheeze a little and the climax isn’t particularly inventive or well shot, but there’s enough weight behind it to keep action fans entertained and the rest of us semi-engaged. 3/5
I always loved this one as a kid but it’s definitely not the ageless classic the first one is.
Agreed. I’d add to that by saying I don’t like it as much as Die Hard 2 either. It really loses steam after the hour mark. The action and set-ups become more stupid and rushed and I was extremely underwhelmed by the climax.
God, that climax was terrible, what were they thinking.
It’s just slapped on there, like they couldn’t be bothered to come up with anything half-decent.
Do you have a GR ranking for all 5 films?
I’d say the quality goes exactly in line with the order of release. Many people dislike Die Hard 2, but I think it’s a solid action-thriller. I wasn’t too fond of Die Hard 4.0 and the most recent one was an embarrassment. You?
Nice review Gareth, I’ve never really been taken with this one. I’ve tried several times to get into it but it just doesn’t work for me for some reason, I think as you say it’s a little stretched. Much prefer Die Hard 2 in terms of DH sequels.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen it but I remember loving it. It’s the second best movie in the series and does a good job of expanding the Die Hard setting away from a singular, narrow location. It’s just a shame that the fifth film has begun to sour this franchise reputation.
Yes, I had it in my head that it was the second best in the series…until I watched it again. To be honest, it’s a it of a mess. The climax is awful and the action becomes increasingly ridiculous. Up to the hour mark, it’s on track to out-do Die Hard 2, but it almost completely falls apart and THAT ending…good Lord my 7-year-old nephew could’ve come up with something more exciting.
The ending is really poor. It’s almost as if they forgot to kill the villain and added it later. I think I might have to revisit this after all.
Yes, honestly, I had completely forgotten the ending and was surprised how flat and uneventful it was. At least in Die Hard 2, the ending is visually dramatic. I agree with you on the fifth instalment too – it was utterly dire.