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