To make the long and extremely silly plotline of Die Hard With a Vengeance short, it breaks down like this. John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in New York City where he's separated from his wife. The brother of Hans Gruber, from the original Die Hard, is out to get McClane and make some cash for himself in the process, bringing a pack of East German stooges with him to cause trouble. Add to this the character Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), a Harlem shop owner, who becomes McClane's unlikely sidekick, and a whole lotta bombs exploding all over the city, and what do you get? Well, I still haven't figured that out.
I was a big fan of the original Die Hard and had high expectations for this third entry into the series. Unfortunately, the only real similarity to the former (besides the main character and a bunch of explosions) are the jokes, which the creators felt were so good the first time around that they'd go ahead and use them again. Even worse, they borrow material from Pulp Fiction when the original jokes have run out. I guess it was supposed to be clever, but it reeks of unoriginality.
The point of an action thriller like this is that it's supposed to be exciting and keep you on the edge of your seat. Die Hard With a Vengeance does neither. Most of the time it's boring because the story is almost pure nonsense. Seriously, is no one going to catch on that Jeremy Irons (as Simon Gruber) and his thugs are not from around here? And what's with Simon's fetish for ancient brain teasers to keep McClane running around, searching for bombs? Unfortunately, I don't have the answers to these questions, and the bottom line is that the plot just doesn't gel. Wait until you see how ridiculous it is when they find the bad guys' hideout at the end.
Not to be completely scathing, there are a few good points. Jackson is excellent in his role, and he is solely responsible for redeeming this film from the one-star basement. (Surprisingly, every other character is completely one-dimensional, and even Willis looks tired.) Oh, and the explosions are pretty cool. The time goes by fairly quickly, so you never feel stuck in one of those endless movies. But all in all, by the time you leave you know you're headed for Die Harder With a Vengeance .
Run time: 131 mins
In Theaters: Friday 19th May 1995
Box Office Worldwide: $361.2M
Distributed by: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Cinergi Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 51%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 22
IMDB: 7.6 / 10
Director: John McTiernan
Screenwriter: Jonathan Hensleigh
Starring: Bruce Willis as John McClane, Jeremy Irons as Simon Peter Gruber, Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus Carver, Graham Greene as Joe Lambert, Colleen Camp as Connie Kowalski, Larry Bryggman as Chief Cobb, Michael Cristofer as Jarvis, Anthony Peck as Ricky Walsh, Nicholas Wyman as Targo, Sam Phillips as Katya, Kevin Chamberlin as Charles Weiss, Sharon Washington as Officer Jane, Stephen Pearlman as Dr. Schiller, Michael Alexander Jackson as Dexter, Aldis Hodge as Raymond, Mischa Hausserman as Mischa