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Vulcan Stev family movie review: Die Hard with a Vengence

Bruce Willis …  John McClane
Jeremy Irons …  Simon Gruber
Samuel L. Jackson …  Zeus Carver
Graham Greene …  Joe Lambert
Colleen Camp …  Connie Kowalski
Larry Bryggman …  Insp. Walter Cobb
Anthony Peck …  Ricky Walsh
Nicholas Wyman …  Mathias Targo
Sam Phillips …  Katya
Kevin Chamberlin …  Charles Weiss
Sharon Washington …  Officer Jane
Stephen Pearlman …  Dr. Fred Schiller
Michael Alexander Jackson …  Dexter
Aldis Hodge …  Raymond
Mischa Hausserman …  Mischa

1995 * 20th Century Fox * 131 mins
Rated R for language and violence

Synopsis from IMDb: John McClane is now almost a full-blown alcoholic and is suspended from the NYPD. But when a bomb goes off in the Bonwit Teller Department Store the police go insane trying to figure out what’s going on. Soon, a man named Simon calls and asks for McClane. Simon tells Inspector Walter Cobb that McClane is going to play a game called “Simon Says”. He says that McClane is going to do the tasks he assigns him. If not, he’ll blow off another bomb. With the help of a Harlem electrician, John McClane must race all over New York trying to figure out the frustrating puzzles that the crafty terrorist gives him. But when a bomb goes off in a subway station right by the Federal Reserve (the biggest gold storage in the world) things start to get heated up.

Vulcan Stev: 1.7 pointed ears
Probably my favorite of the four Die Hard films.  Yes, it still has gratuitous violence.  Yes it still drops the F*bomb, but it’s an engaging story.  The two big problems I have with this film are the once again strained relations between John and Holly and the fact that the dump trucks are woefully underpowered to be carrying the  stated amount of gold.  I understand the producers didn’t want to make a third film of John saving Holly and the only solution the director and writers can come up with is that John and Holly are having problems again.  Yup, there’s an original solution.  This couple has seen death up close and personal not once but twice.  This couple has been brought together by the events of the first two films.  Yet they’re shown as having problems which lead to their eventual divorce.  I guess John McClane has got to be a stubborn S.O.B. to throw away his marriage like that.

The Dump truck problem is glaring but it’s not necessarily a ‘what the…’ moment that completely drags you out of the film.  At least not in my case.

PIT #2: 1.9 pointed ears
The dump truck escape was one of the more ingenious escape routes I’ve seen in a motion picture.  The fact that the “terrorists” were willing to use kids as a dodge to their true objective but not really put the kids in harm’s way was also pretty cool.

PIT #3: 2 pointed ears
I liked this movie.  McClane isn’t such a loner in this movie.  It reminded me of the Lethal Weapon buddy movies.  I also liked the fact that John had to think in this movie.  Not everything was solved by shooting guns.

5.6 pointed ears out of 6
Aside from one scene, the blood and gore in this movie have been toned down from the predecessors.  The language is still a problem.  Kudos to the producers for the attempt at opening up the “dungeon” just a bit.  It might be a little telling about the prevalence of swearing in today’s society that my 11 year-old does not notice the swearing going on in the movie.

March 17, 2010 - Posted by | Movie Reviews, Movies | , , , , , ,


  1. Ah, yes, the Die Hard that isn’t.

    What? Oh, yeah, that’s right.

    Do you remember Steven Segal’s movie Under Siege 2, in which he fights terrorists on a train? Probably not. Anyway, scuttlebutt has held for years that that was the plot of Die Hard 3. Somebody stole the script and shot it on a compressed schedule with Segal before DH3 could get real traction. So they had to scrap it.

    The studio still needed a new Die Hard movie before the franchise lost steam. So, they grabbed an existing script about terrorists, rewrote it to use McClane, and put it out there. That’s why the story has so little connection to the previous two movies.

    I intensely dislike this movie. Mostly because I think it fails remarkably as a Die Hard movie. John McClane should not be a washed-up drunk dragged out of the gutter to redeem himself. That’s just not who he is. I found the bizarre games of the terrorist to be pointless and nonsensical. The movie only really starts to click about halfway through, when McClane actually starts fighting the terrorists.

    Also, I don’t like Samuel L. Jackson. His contribution to this film was sadly typical.

    Comment by Lugh | March 18, 2010

  2. @Lugh Under Siege 2 was Die Hard 3… I can see that though I can’t see how it would’ve been any better with John McClane.

    I have heard that Die Hard 3 was being considered as Leathal Weapon 4 at one point. I can almost picture some of the dialouge as being Riggs and Murtagh.

    Maybe that was the REAL problem with this movie it wasn’t a Die Hard script. John McClane was shoehorned into someone else’s story.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 18, 2010

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