Die Hard with a Vengeance Cover Don't you find that the only people whom fawn towards the concept of revenge, are those people whom eat a lot of lemons? Just think about it for a moment or two. Who do you know that likes to eat a lot of lemons? People like Director John McTiernan; and Actors: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, and Samuel L. Jackson. Particularly in 1995, and for 131-minutes.

Die Hard with a Vengeance

My God! New York Lieutenant, John McClane (Bruce Willis), must have really pissed someone off with his previous roguish antics.

You see, a mad-bomber called 'Simple Simon', coerces John and his reluctant Nubian ally, Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), all around Manhattan, with the hope that they are able to comply with his nefarious schemes. Harlem. A speeding subway train. Plus the Federal Reserve. All of these locations John and Zeus are told to go to, with the hope that they can catch this nut-job with a dodgy accent, in the act of blowing something up.

And do they? No - afraid not - he's too smart for John, Zeus, and the police, whom try their utmost to trace this madman calls whenever he speaks to John on the phone.

But wait a minute! Who is this 'Simple Simon' loon anyway? And why has he got it in for John so much? Well, according to the Feds, 'Simon' is in actual fact Peter Gruber (Jeremy Irons), the brother of someone that John killed previously. However, to Peter himself, he is the cleaver man who has a crafty three phase plan up his sleeve.

(Step One) Continue sending John and Zeus all around 'The Big Apple', threatening them with an explosion if they don't. (Step Two) Scare the police to evacuate the city, because he has planted a bomb in one of the many schools situated in the suburbs. (Step Three) Now with John and the Police out of the way, Peter and his hired goons can penetrate the damaged Federal Reserve, and then steal all of their gold bullion with the use of a fleet of garbage trucks.

Crazy plan, right? Crazier still, is that both John and Zeus twigs onto Peter's plan just after they manage to defuse one of his bombs. Moreover, they also manage to kick in some of Peter's goons, and figure out where he and his men are headed next - the dockyards.

Well, I suppose that is why what next transpires is a rather explosive affair all in all. As trucks are crashed - water is splashed - schools are dashed - and bad guys are trashed.

Yippee-Ki-Yay little brother.

For a sequel, I have to say that I really did like 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' quite a lot. In fact, the only little things that I did not really like about with this movie, was the 'coincidence' parts of this film. For example, when Bruce Willis got out of his watery predicament at the same time Samuel L Jackson was driving by. Or when the police visit the exact same school where the bomb has been hidden. However, apart from those petty annoyances, Yippee-Ki-Yay till the m*ther f*cking cows come home.

Bruce Willis in Die Hard

Here, just look at the facts: (1) Samuel L Jackson's role was originally offered to Laurence Fishburne - but he turned it down. (2) This film started off as the forth instalment of the 'Lethal Weapon' series of films. And although the first half of the film has hardly been touched script-wise, Zeus was originally meant to be a woman. (3) This movie was going to be severely edited down by director, John McTiernan, after the events of the Oklahoma City bombing. (4) The sandwich board that Bruce Willis briefly wore was CGI changed in post-production from 'I Hate Niggers' to 'I Hate Everybody' for the television version. (5) The working title for this film was "Die Hard: New York". (6) Colleen Camp worked with another famous Bruce previously - Bruce Lee - in 'The Game of Death' [click here for review]. Kind of? (7) The sex scene between Jeremy Irons and Sam Phillips was added in at the last minute, because director, John McTiernan, knew that the film would get an R rating anyway. (8) Samuel L. Jackson's image in this movie was due to him studying the works of Malcolm X. (9) Script-writer, Jonathan Hensleigh, was detained by the FBI after completing his script, because he knew extensive information about the Federal Gold Reserve. (10) Two other actors were offered to play the bad-guy before Jeremy Irons was given the part - Sean Connery and David Thewlis. (11) An early rejected script for this movie was eventually used for 'Speed 2: Cruise Control'. And (12) Even though Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson both appeared in 'Loaded Weapon 1' and 'Pulp Fiction' previously, this was the first movie where they appeared on-screen together. 

Sam and Bruce in Die Hard with a Vengeance

Now putting aside my petty annoyances and the facts for the moment, what makes 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' such a good movie, huh? Well, for a start, Bruce and Samuel are just a great team to watch on screen from beginning to end. It's like watching a younger version Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in their prime. Doing what they do best with their tone, their manner, and their insolent and brash ways.

Moreover, the story in itself is a good one too, with an incremental plot driven first-half, and a hectic character driven last-half. Both diverse flavors meshing particularly well as a film on its own.

Plus, in addition to this, I have to commend the direction of this film as well. Because director, John McTiernan, has a very definite eighties style that is full of dynamic camera angles, suspenseful tension, and a boldness that comes clean out of a comic book. Here, check this out to see what I mean...

A great movie - a great cast - and a great tale.

DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE Reviewed by David Andrews on April 19, 2012 Rating: 5
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