John McClane travels to Russia to help out his seemingly wayward son, Jack, only to discover that Jack is a CIA operative working undercover, causing the father and son to team up against underworld forces.
In 1935, Indiana Jones arrives in India, still part of the British Empire, and is asked to find a mystical stone. He then stumbles upon a secret cult committing enslavement and human sacrifices in the catacombs of an ancient palace.
Jonathan Ke Quan
With personal crises and age weighing in on them, LAPD officers Riggs and Murtaugh must contend with deadly Chinese triads that are trying to free their former leaders out of prison and onto American soil.
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 set 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.Written by
In carrying on the Die Hard Christmas theme, when the bomb tech is defusing the bomb at the school, he sings "six booby traps , four dead ends and a partridge in a pear tree." See more »
The terrorists' Dodge truck that chases McClane and Zeus in the Mercedes changes at least 10 times during the scene. Headlamp covers disappear then reappear, the truck's wheel style changes, and finally, the truck gets larger off-road type tires and wheels. Also, the winch cable on the truck is unrealistically long. See more »
They want you to know who's doing it to you. So this name Simon is probably not an alias. It's probably Simon or some variation.
[reading a rap sheet]
Simon, Robert E. Busted in '86. Extortion. Kidnapping. 10 to 15. Did 7 years for good behavior. Released on a state work furlough two months ago.
[Rick tosses something to John]
Thanks, Rick. Bob Simon was a bankrupt businessman who kidnapped his partner's daughter. He's a fuck-up, not a psycho. The guy we're looking for is nuts.
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The UK cinema version was cut by 12 secs by the BBFC in order to receive a 15 certificate. Cuts were made to the stabbing of the guard in the bank, the shootout in the lift scene, and the shooting of the men in the dump truck. Profanity was mostly overdubbed throughout the movie and replaced by the distributors themselves. For example: "Fuck you, Joe" became "Go away, Joe", and "Ten blocks, you fucking kidding me?" became "Ten blocks are you really kidding me?" amongst many others. UK video - and some DVD - releases all feature the same cut print. The BBFC waived all cuts in 2008 and the UK Blu-ray is uncut. See more »
The Fat Outro
Written by D. Lee and J. Owens
Performed by Extra Prolific
Courtesy of Zomba Songs Inc. / Back Sliding Music / Eighty-Second Songs (adm. by Zomba Songs Inc.) (BMI) and Jive Records See more »
Series note: Although the Die Hard films obviously follow one another chronologically in the film's universe, they are not really constructed as chapters in a novel. You could watch them in any order, but to give the characters more depth, and make better sense of a couple minor references, I would still recommend watching them in order.
In my Die Hard 2 (1990) review, I complained (although apologetically) a bit about the lapses in internal logic. It ended up being somewhat excusable, because I read Die Hard 2 as a satire of the genre as much as a serious action film. With Die Hard 3, John McTiernan is back at the helm, as he was for Die Hard (1988), and the result is once again a more serious action film (containing some comic relief, of course) with very taut internal logic. In fact, Die Hard: With a Vengeance is so well constructed, so well acted and so well directed that I like it just as much, if not better, than Die Hard.
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is once again separated from his wife, and he's once again living and working as a cop in New York City. As the film begins, he is on a temporary suspension for some never-specified infraction (it works better that it isn't specified, as it enables us to imagine all kinds of crazy things that this gruff character might have done). After a bomb explodes at the Bonwit Teller department store, a mysterious person calling himself "Simon" calls the police taking credit and asking to speak with McClane--or he'll detonate further bombs in crowded areas. They rouse McClane from the aftermath of a drunken stupor. He shows up at the police station with a hangover, looking haggard. "Simon" is fond of riddles and makes McClane engage in a bizarre game of "Simon Says". The first task is for McClane to head up to Harlem and stand on a street corner in his skivvies wearing a sandwich board that says only, "I Hate Blacks" (using a more inflammatory epithet than "blacks"). Of course, he almost gets killed, but at the last minute, a reluctant savior in the form of a local shopkeeper, Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), helps save his butt. Unwittingly, Carver ends up embroiled in the Simon Says games with McClane, with increasingly serious stakes. Just who is Simon? Why is he toying with McClane?
I should note that I was predisposed to like this film. I like Bruce Willis a lot, but I especially love Samuel L. Jackson. The combination of the two here is simply magical. They have remarkable chemistry and the characters that scriptwriter Jonathan Hensleigh has drawn enable both deep tension and hilarious comic moments between the two.
But the film succeeds on more than the charisma of its two principal actors. Die Hard: With a Vengeance has a fantastic, intelligent plot. Hensleigh ties his villain to the story of the first film in a semi-satirical way that gives the motivation for the "Simon Says" games great depth. The Simon Says games manage to be silly, smart, humorous and great catalysts for dramatic tension at the same time. There are subtle jokes about New York City, New York City cops, "reverse racism", European opinions of American intelligence, and so on. And of course, there are many edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting action sequences involving a wide variety of environments in the New York City area. The wide variety of environments was a nice change over the more limited settings of the previous two films, and gives Die Hard: With a Vengeance a feel almost like an adventure film.
It's remarkable that Hensleigh and McTiernan were able to sustain such a high level of excellence throughout. If you look at Die Hard: With a Vengeance from a broader perspective, the whole is constructed something like one of Simon's puzzles. Every scene leads inevitably, logically to the next scene, even though the film takes many "left turns", and the solution of one dilemma to the next often involves split-second timing.
It's often said that McTiernan and Hensleigh simply ignored Die Hard 2, and in terms of direct plot and dialogue references, this may be true, but they still give Die Hard 2 a nod by having an attendant humor--often almost "goofy" humor--in many action scenes. One of the most direct nods occurs with McClane "riding" something of an explosion (of water this time). This is one of the more hilarious scenes of the film.
As for subtexts, they are similar to those of the first Die Hard, with some interesting additions. There is an intriguing parallel between McClane's disheveled state, the typical New York City chaos, and the attempts to further undermine stability from the villain. Focusing on this aspect, Carver provides more of a dependable, even-keeled balance.
There are also direct references to very contemporary political subtexts--with foreigners having in mind that the U.S. has socio-economic power disproportionately in its favor. They claim to want to redress the imbalance, although in this film, at least, the claim may end up being a false representation--there appears to be corruption undermining it. However, it's interesting that there is yet another "twist" towards the end that shows the claim may not have been as corrupt as we initially believed, even if it still seems a bit mad and/or megalomaniacal. It's also interesting that the resolution is reached on foreign ground.
But the subtexts in Die Hard: With a Vengeance may be even more minor focuses than in the previous two films. Instead the focus is on the spectacle of a tightly told, thrilling action/adventure story. That's all the film needs to succeed as well as it does.
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