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Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)

 -  Action | Crime | Thriller  -  19 May 1995 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 244,013 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 322 user | 137 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

John McClane and a Harlem store owner are targeted by German terrorist Simon Gruber in New York City, where he plans to rob the Federal Reserve Building.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Anthony Peck ...
Nicholas Wyman ...
Mathias Targo (as Nick Wyman)
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Stephen Pearlman ...
Michael Alexander Jackson ...
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Mischa Hausserman ...
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Storyline

John McClane is now almost a full-blown alcoholic and is suspended from the NYPD. But when a bomb goes off in the Bonwit Teller Department Store the police go insane trying to figure out what's going on. Soon, a man named Simon calls and asks for McClane. Simon tells Inspector Walter Cobb that McClane is going to play a game called "Simon Says". He says that McClane is going to do the tasks he assigns him. If not, he'll blow off another bomb. With the help of a Harlem electrician, John McClane must race all over New York trying to figure out the frustrating puzzles that the crafty terrorist gives him. But when a bomb goes off in a subway station right by the Federal Reserve (the biggest gold storage in the world) things start to get heated up. Written by SARSman1793

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's boometime in the big apple See more »

Genres:

Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and pervasive strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

19 May 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Hard: New York  »

Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

£8,923,493 (UK) (15 September 1995)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Samuel L. Jackson's look in the film was Jackson's idea after he'd done extensive research on his character by studying books on Malcolm X. See more »

Goofs

A terrorist in the stadium says, "Wir brauchen den anderen noch," ("We also need the other one") which the subtitles translate as, "Well, follow him." See more »

Quotes

Simon: Said Simple Simon to the pieman going to the fair, "Give me your pies... or I'll cave your head in."
See more »

Connections

Follows Die Hard 2 (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

Gift Rapped
Written, Performed and Produced by Mark A. Mangini (as Mark Mangini)
Courtesy of Mark Mangini (ASCAP)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The buddy action film has never been better.
16 April 2003 | by See all my reviews

*** 1/2 out of ****

When one thinks of buddy action pictures, Lethal Weapon is immediately the first film to pop into your mind, since it virtually birthed the genre. Another choice would probably be Midnight Run or Rush Hour, the latter of which somehow took pop culture by storm (I recall my friends going around, shouting "My daddy once caught a bullet..."). So often left in the dust, probably because it was the third film of a trilogy and strayed quite a bit from its predecessors, is none other than Die Hard: With a Vengeance which, off the top of my head, is the best buddy action film I've ever seen.

How can this be? Better than Lethal Weapon 1 and 2? Better than Rush Hour? Hell, I'll even say it's better than Die Hard and Die Harder. Here is a film that wisely knows, as a second sequel, not to simply repeat the same material over again. This has partially to do with the numerous Die Hard rip-offs (namely Under Siege and Speed), so those hooks were gone, and I absolutely thank God John Mctiernan and company didn't suddenly decide "we'll do Die Hard on a plane!," which would eventually be done three times (Executive Decision, Air Force One, and Con Air). But what the filmmakers have done here is ingenious, they've widened the setting to include all of New York City.

They do this and still manage to retain the intense claustrophobia that permeated the previous entries, doing so by displaying just how frantic morning traffic is and just how BIG New York is. As nonsensical as that last statement may sound, imagine trying to get from point A to point B in the middle of a traffic jam. Mctiernan really knows how to let the tension ratchet up from just the sound of honking horns.

Then there's the case of John McClane himself. This time around, he's at the whim of a madman named Simon who requires him to perform certain tasks or New York buildings will be demolished by explosives. In the first two films, McClane was an everyman, which added much appeal, but he also acted a bit too much like a superhero to work consistently as an everyman, so what the filmmakers have done here is turn him into a jaded cop. He's seen this stuff before, so he's not as scared as he was before. Willis is great at this role, too, seeing as he's done it before in The Last Boy Scout, but takes it to perfection here.

Rather, who we now have as the everyman is Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus, and he's a brilliant addition. Not only is Jackson simply awesome in his role, he's likeable, tough, and hilarious, but he's also easy to sympathize with because he's not an action hero. He doesn't know how to use a gun, he has no combat training, and he's never had to take on terrorists before. What makes him so effective is his street-wise nature, and this quality of his works perfectly with McClane's own street smarts AND action heroics, which they combine in their day-long adventure. These two have a chemistry that at least equals Riggs and Murtaugh and if there's a Die Hard sequel, Jackson needs to come back.

Too many action movies give us poor villains who aren't menacing, vile, or charismatic enough to make for effective antagonists. Jeremy Irons' Simon Gruber is an exception. He is the best Die Hard villain, oozing charm and snaky intelligence. This was one of the last few roles of Irons' career I could take seriously. He's done what since then, Dungeons and Dragons? Pity how his career has taken such a downward spiral.

And last, there's the story and action. The plot's a lot of fun, with McClane and Zeus having to use both their brains and brawn to save the day. The contrivances in the finale (the scene with the handcuffs, the aspirin bottle) aren't enough to bring the climax down, though it's true the conclusion isn't as exciting as the rest of the film. That's understandable though, since the rest of the action is magnificent, particularly a car "chase" through the streets of New York which is as unstaged as a car chase can possibly look. The film moves at a lightning pace that grips you from the opening scene to the very last. Die Hard: With a Vengeance is an action flick that has it all.


89 of 101 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Can anybody explain the bottle riddle! newav3
Continuity?? Jetfire1959
This movie would never get made today. ziatonic
Great Movie, weak ending ReeseJohn
I think it's funny that DHWV pretends Die Hard 2 didn't happen vbartos1983
I wish the movie had ended before they went north of the border passiveobliteration
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