Die Hard With A Vengeance

Year: 1995
Directed By: John McTiernan
Written By: Jonathan Hensleigh

RYAN’S REVIEW

While I stand by what I said about the first Die Hard, it being one of the greatest action movies ever and a classic.  This is actually my favorite Die Hard film.  It has a much broader story that was well written and it has a strong cast.  It’s heavy on the action with an appropriate amount of humor and witty dialogue. Bruce Willis and Samuel L Jackson have great onscreen chemistry that they have been able to exploit more than once. This is the kind of movie that I like everything about and I always enjoy watching it.

John McTiernan returned to the franchise for this film and I think that’s part of what makes it such a successful third film.  There aren’t many glowing examples of a good second sequel but this is one that always comes to mind when I am trying to think of one.  Bruce Willis is again great in the role, playing a much more rough and personally screwed up John McClane. His demons have beaten him into submission when he is suddenly thrust into this game of cat and mouse with a terrorist who holds a personal vendetta against him.  Willis benefits from the presence of Samuel L Jackson. I have mentioned before that I am a big fan of Jackson, but who isn’t right? He is great in nearly everything he does, but he does have to have his “Samuel L Motherfuckin Jackson” moment in about every movie. It’s the moment when he raises his voice to the next level and kicks his intensity up a notch. In this movie it’s when the cop pulls a gun on him in the subway while Simon is trying to call. “If you have to shoot me then SHOOT ME, BUT I HAVE TO ANSWER THIS PHONE.” Speaking of Simon, Jeremy Irons is great as the main antagonist.  He has that dark and foreign accent that sounds so sinister over the phone.  It was a great idea to make the villain the brother of Hans Gruber from the first film, and Irons was a great choice. I also like this army of giant German soldiers that McClane has to fight all over New York City.

This is an exciting action movie that kept the franchise going strong.  It actually had an alternate ending in which the robbery was a success. Afterwards John McClane ultimately takes the fall for all that happened and loses everything.  He tracks down Simon despite this and takes out his anger on the terrorist before killing him.  This was seen as too menacing a portrayal of the film’s hero and it was cut.  The new ending was re-written for a happier ending for our hero.  I hate when studios sell out for this kind of ending, but I don’t hate how the film actually ended.  I do think that the studio’s effort to continue the franchise have been foolhardy though.  In the ridiculously titled “Live Free of Die Hard” McClane is more like Jack Bauer than the rough and natural McClane we saw in this film.  I only saw the film once and ultimately lost my patience with it in the end when McClane literally shoots the bad guy behind him by firing the gun into his own gunshot wound. If the whole film in itself wasn’t too much to bear already that definitely took it too far.  I had my doubts before seeing the film altogether because I think it is ridiculous to make a PG-13 rated film for a longstanding R rated franchise.  John McClane is a New York cop with really colorful and obscene things to say, you can’t write that character appropriately and get a PG-13 rating.  This follows a trend in Hollywood that has developed over the last decade in which studios don’t seem to have the balls to make a film with an R rating.  It cuts out a large market of underage viewers when films are R rated and studios aren’t willing to sacrifice the money that could be made.  I understand their reasons in an age when it is harder and harder to get viewers into the theaters but the movies suffer when this is done.

I mentioned in one of these Die Hard posts that there is a fifth film currently in the works but my expectations are low.  Bruce Willis is awesome and I will always give him a chance when he is playing this role but I think the franchise should have ended with this film, and this film should have ended the way it was intended to.  There was a 12 year gap between this movie and the fourth installment.  Another example of the desperation of Hollywood to get viewers back into the theater is how they dig up old franchises and reboot others.  The biggest examples, aside from this one, are the Terminator franchise being brought back, the (albeit very successful and awesome) Batman franchise reboot, and the nearly immediate Spiderman franchise reboot.  Some of these movies are very good and I enjoyed many of them but it’s only the name recognition that’s getting people back to the theaters.  Instead of coming up with new and interesting ideas they are merely remaking and rebooting all the older ideas.  If you have noticed the last couple of years it seems that all summer blockbusters are sequels or reboots. This is disappointing but I’m afraid there is no end in sight.  We have a summer fast approaching that is full of reboots, remakes, and sequels.

Now getting back to the initial point, I think this was an awesome movie and it really is my favorite of the Die Hard movies. Great performances by Willis, Jackson, and Irons and enough action to keep us glued to the screen.  This movie is more than worth your time and I would recommend seeing it at any opportunity.

AMBER’S REVIEW

Out of all three of these movies, this one is the only one that I have actually seen, and this one is the only one I didn’t sleep through for this blog as well. Can we say major fail? I still promise to go back and see the first two. It is only right, I really like this movie. It is just another cheesy action film, but Bruce Willis is in his prime and looks great and is just his all around usual self. As we have both stated before Samuel L. Jackson is just completely awesome in everything he is in. There is something about him that invokes comedy and fear all at the same time. In any case, this movie is a part of a classic line of movies that all men have or should have seen. They aren’t academy award winners, but they are good classic fun. If you haven’t seen them, you should (as I am told) because they are classics.

NEXT MOVIE: Dinner For Schmucks (2010)

 

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