The third in the Die Hard Trilogy, Die Hard: With a Vengeance marks the return of John McTiernan to the series. Vengeance also marks the first time that Die Hard has veered from it’s original formula. There really is no enclosed space in Die Hard: With a Vengeance. In Die Hard it was John McClane in the Nakatomi building. In Die Hard 2 it was John McClane in the Dulles Airport. There is a hint of sticking to the original formula, but that is a long draw of the imagination, Die Hard: With a Vengeance is John McClane in New York City. In Vengeance McClane is no longer alone either and it is also not Christmas.
John McClane is down and out in New York. He’s on suspension from his department and he’s lying around at home drinking and well, lying around. That is until someone takes an interest in him. This special someone wants to be called Simon and Simon wants to play a simple game with McClane, “Simon Says”. Though this set up is pretty simple as the movie progresses we begin to see what is really happening and why Simon is playing games with McClane and the rest of the New York Police Department.
Forced into the situation is Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson) Carver, a black storeowner who saves McClane’s life early on in the film. Zeus is a great add-on and provides much of the comic relief with McClane. The two of them squabble like the Odd Couple but they are forced to work together by Simon. And together they must solve a few puzzles that Simon has set out for them; or else something big will blow up.
The opening sequence for Die Hard: With a Vengeance packs a mighty punch. I have not seen any movie open quite like Vengeance, the opening sequence literally grabs your attention and holds on to it. I commend McTiernan for such a great opening.
The one thing that I did not like about Vengeance is its running time. The movie runs almost two and half-hours, which is a bit long for an action movie. Though there is a lot of story to be told in Vengeance, some stuff could have been cut out for time issues. The biggest thing that shows this is the anti-climatic ending. I thought the film was over, but then the film continued on for, it almost seemed, another 15 to 20 minutes. This is OK though because McTiernan is able to set up some good action sequences with the puzzles that Simon has set up. My favourite of this film includes McClane surfing and a wide ride through the park.
Though a bit long, Die Hard: With a Vengeance packs a punch that starts from the opening scene and lasts till the end. There is enough action packed into this film to satisfy two films, but it never wears the audience out. And that is the brilliance of Die Hard: With a Vengeance, it is a well put together film that is good enough to keep the audience in check while still blowing them away with some pretty spectacular action sequences. McTiernan shows that he still has the eye for good action. Don’t miss Die Hard: With a Vengeance.