“Die Hard With A Vengeance” is a solid action film but it really is just a Die Hard film in name only. And sure, you have Bruce Willis being the smart-ass tough guy again taking out bad guys who for all intents and purposes are smarter and more capable than he is, but the novelty factor is now well and truly gone. On the plus side however we get some interesting and new action sequences, as well as some witty and comedic dialogue between Willis and Jackson who clearly enjoyed spending time with each other on screen. Die Hard 3 is an enjoyable action film, but it doesn’t reach the heights of the first film.
In this installment, a mysterious bomber called Simon threatens the city and has an apparent reason to exact revenge against John McClane. As a result, Simon makes McClane do a series of tasks, all of which are demeaning and life-threatening. His first task is to walk through Harlem brandishing the sign “I Hate Niggers”. This inadvertently gets Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) involved, and together they perform these tasks in the hope of finding out what really is going on. As it turns out, Simon is actually the brother of Hans Gruber, the terrorist from the first Die Hard film whom McClane dispatched from the top of Nakatomi tower and as McClane correctly surmises, the whole revenge plot is just a smoke screen for something else which is actually to rob all the gold bullion out of New York City while the authorities are busy with ‘Simon’.
In many ways, this is a fresh direction for the Die Hard series to take and it works in most instances in creating a series of spectacular and original action sequences. It also goes a certain way to recapture the idea of the first film with the terrorists using subterfuge and mis-direction to point the good guys in the wrong direction while they carry out their plans. Unlike the previous entries in the series, there is a lot of location-hopping, particularly in the first half of the film when McClane and Zeus are following Simon’s instructions. This works remarkably well and you don’t really get lost throughout it, and it does provide the opportunity to blow up certain parts of New York, including Grand Central Station in a spectacular de-railing train sequence.
The strongest point of this film is the teaming up of Willis and Jackson. They have a very good chemistry together on film, particularly with the antagonistic by-play: “Relax, I know what I’m doing…” – “Not even God knows what you’re doing!”. This alone is perhaps the freshest part of this film, the part which brings something new to the franchise. That says a lot however given that Willis was by and large carrying the films on his own up until this point. Jeremy Irons plays an effective bad guy but he’s not as menacing as Hans from the first film or even Colonel Stuart from the second film. His character is more ruthlessly efficient and in this respect, his menace is more cold and calculating rather than villainous.
This is a solid action film that you will enjoy, but if you’re expecting it to be the quality of the first film, then look elsewhere.
For the original DVD review, click this link: http://www.allaboutmovies.net/dvdreviewdiehard3.htm
Alex DeMattia is the lead DVD reviewer at the film/DVD review web site All About Movies.net – He also contributes reviews and articles for the Digicosm Film Blog: http://www.filmannex.com/Digicosm