Friday, January 4, 2013

MR Die Hard with a Vengeance

How can the same thing keep happening to the same guy so many times?
I got no idea.

Well, at least this time he's out in the open not trapped in some dusty air duct. Right?

Movie: Die Hard with a Vengeance
Directed by John McTiernan
Release date 1995
Genre Action
Country USA

Die Hard with a Vengeance is the third installment in the Die Hard series!
And what a movie it is!

Despite the return of the first film's director, John McTiernan, it saw a whole new direction and all new setting for the series.
Yet it still retained previous little aspects that ultimately made it a "Die Hard" movie.

Written by famous Hollywood screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh, it was actually first plotted as a new episode of the Lethal Weapon series.
The actual movie kept intact all the first act of that story, "Simon Says".
But then the later half was changed into a robbery to bring it back in line with the previous Die Hard films.

This time the action takes place in the Big Apple - New York City.
A mysterious man that is calling himself "Simon" has detonated a bomb in a store and is claiming he's only just started.
Simon asks for Lt. John McClane.

Simon wants to see how far McClane will go to prevent another bombing.

Another one of these days, heh?
McClane accepts the challenge and go, huh, "provoke" some people in the streets of Harlem.
That's when he mets Zeus Carver, a local shop owner.
Zeus saves John's life from some thugs.

And so John McClane and his unlikely partner Zeus start playing a series of game to prevent more explosions.
Games which are only getting more and more intricated.

What really is Simon's true goals? And who is he?

Why, to use all that confusion amongst the police to hide an actual robbery - of course!
Turns out Simon really is Hans Gruber's brother set out on a revenge spree. And that is only "collateral".
He's actual objective being to steal gold bars from several banks in Wall Street!

Let's just say it, the movie "might" seem to go all the places, but it's a clever plot nonetheless.
It certainly is quite different from the last two.
But it still is about a pretty smart John McClane stuck in a pretty bad situation and trying to save the day.

Most of the best bits coming from the interaction between our main actors, Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson as a fantastic Zeus Carver.
Their dialogues and alchemy on screen is simply that great, they handle the entire production on both their shoulders.
Apart from that is a fairly good and fun summer blockbuster, which is another change from the past "holiday action flicks" 1 and 2 were.

Jeremy Irons makes a fun Peter "Simon" Gruber. More menacing that Hans was in some ways, but I'd say more "cartoony".
He and his bunch of former military/thieves sound a bit much after the "terrorists"/thieves from Die Hard 1 and the military traitors from 2. It's like a combination of both threats in one package.

Speaking of which the movie is more over the top that the previous ones, in its own way.
The return John McTiernan is appreciated. The film is fantastically paced and full of energy.
In itself, it's a fantastic well made action movie, but it lacks the claustrophobia feel from the huis clos used in the earlier episodes.

John McClane himself?
Clearly still a badass. Bruce Willis brought all the smirks and quirks that made John such an enduring character.

Music composer Michael Kamen returns once more to score the film, both reusing some familiar cues from the past and new current music for some tracks.

Overall, it's a great kickass movie!
It breaks a bit from the Die Hard formula, like it's a different action film but still retain most of the elements that make it part of the series.
It still takes place roughly under 12 hours more or less.

Somehow my main problem is that I always felt it not really being a true "Die Hard" at heart. (the running around makes it that more a Lethal Weapon in my eyes, a Lethal Weapon in disguise)

After Die Hard in a building, and Die Harder in an airport, this one looks like "Die Hard in New York".

Some brilliant cinematography and a fun plot though.
Too bad it has become the official basis for the series whenever the producers decide to make new ones (see Die Hard 4 and 5 for that....), and without the clever guidance of a veteran director (McTiernan,..) on helm.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Films!

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