Five years after the events of Die Hard 2 we pick up with John McClane, who’s now a cop in New York once more, estranged with his wife… once more. While being suspended a man named Simon decides to bomb a department store and threatens to blow up more buildings unless John McClane cooperates and plays a little game of Simon says. Can John complete the game, will he save the day and do we actually care?
Yes we do! Die hard with a Vengeance uses the entire city of New York as John and Simons playground and it is a blast (pun intended). Joining in the action is Samuel L Jackson, coming fresh of the succes that was Pulp Piction, as the store owner Zeus who has issues with the white man, but needs to set it aside as Simon’s bombs are colorblind. What we get is a pursuit through New York as John and Zeus must perform tasks and solve riddles to prevent bombs from going off. As with all the Die Hard movies the motivations and/or schemes of the bad guy are more than meets the eye and this one is no different. What seems to be a simple game of cat and mouse unexpectedly turns into so much more and that ultimately brings a brilliant version of “When Johnny comes marching home” to the movie as well as tons of nicely choreographed actionsequences.
Speaking of action; the Die Hard movies have been raising the standard of the action sequences in an era before elaborate CGI. Part 1 had Bruce Willis on a versions slinging on the side of a skyscraper and part 2 had him being launched out of a cockpit and fighting on the wing of a plane. This movies gives us a carchase through central park and a couple of other sequences, one which features a helicopter and telephonewire. Simon is played here by Jeremy Irons and he really hams it up… I just love his “hook, line….sinker!” line, and he really gets to be a charismatic bad guy with motivation.
There are some some bad points to the movie. There is some lazy scriptwriting. At one point Zeus and John split up. Later in the movie Zeus is driving a car and suddenly John burst out of the sewage system right when Zeus passes by. What are the odds right? But let’s not put the movie down just because of that. This is a fun movie and at least as good as Die Hard 2.