Rated: R for violence Reviewed by: Frank Release date: May 1, 1995 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
At the end of Die Hard II, Mrs. McClane, who does not appear in this film, says, "Why does this keep happening to us?" It happens because it's big box office. Die Hard with a Vengeance follows the same pattern as the firs two - action, action, action and a little comedy in between.
This time Director John McTiernan has one too many adventures on the back of John McClane (Bruce Willis). Overall however, the result is the same snappy, cryptic wise guy remarks which break the tension for McClane and innocent bystander, Harlem store owner, Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) as they attempt to stop terrorist Simon (Jeremy Irons) from blowing up a New York City school filled with kids. The target of the revenge appears to be McClane. After the way McClane disposed of the bad guys in his previous cases, one would think they would avoid him like the plague, but they don't and they pay the price after extracting blood and guts from McClane. Simon's reasons for pushing McClane's buttons reach back to the original Die Hard.
Jackson and Willis are reunited on film as they both appeared in Pulp Fiction but did not share any screen time. In this film they are together fighting for right, from beginning to end. The comic bantering between the two is quick and sharp and slashes at ethic stereotyping from a number of sides. The way they do it is funny no matter who you are.
This is Willis' best role. He is a superhero with feet of clay. He drinks too much and can't come to terms with his wife's success but he is ready to risk his life over and over to save the kids who are in danger. Irons is a cryptic, greedy villain. These Die Hard villains are as good as the 007 villains who are so evil.
Simon drags McClane and Zeus all over the city chasing answers to the location of the bomb. Using Simon Says and riddles he plays with McClane and Zeus like a cat with a mouse. His problem is that the two he is playing with are smart, quick, determined and have the ability to turn the tables.
This Die Hard series is not great art but there is no better summer escapism. McClan's antics and escapes are spectacular and Willis is at the top of his career with this character. He is a perfect smart ale with nerves of steel and a body that can withstand any punishment. I'm, ready for Die Hard IV.
|Die Hard With a Vengeance||B+||B+|