Combustible Celluloid
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With: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp
Written by: Jonathan Hensleigh
Directed by: John McTiernan
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and pervasive strong language
Running Time: 131
Date: 05/15/1995

Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Summer Blowout

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The first ten minutes of this movie are a monster blowout. We get the title, no credits, and the Lovin' Spoonful's "Summer in the City" cranked up in Dolby Digital. Just as we start groovin', a building blows up, loud, right in the middle of a lyric. In minutes, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is being made to stand on a street corner in Harlem wearing a racially offensive sandwich board. Sure death. He is saved by Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), they jump into a cab, race away, and we have a movie. Die Hard with a Vengeance keeps up the pace of that beginning, but gets slightly less clever as it goes. John and Zeus are sent on a wild goose chase while villain Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons) steals gold from the National Treasury. Irons looks gaunt and bored, which isn't meant to dis on a great actor. He's very good on his home ground in films like Dead Ringers or Kafka. Jackson is very good, and even if there isn't much reason for him to stick around, they make a good team. (They both appeared in Pulp Fiction, but shared only a few seconds of screen time together.) All in all, it's a fun movie, worthy of its predecessors, but ranking third of three. (See also: Die Hard Trilogy and Live Free or Die Hard.)

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