Movie Review: Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1995 action movie starring Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.

Synopsis: German terrorist Simon Gruber has planted explosive devices all around New York City and it is up to John McClane and a Harlem store owner to complete a series of challenges to prevent the bombs from killing innocent people. Things become even more complicated when McClane realizes Gruber has an ulterior motive for his terrorist threats.


The kids were in bed early enough last night for my wife and I to have time to watch another movie together and, feeling the need to take a short break from the horror movies we've been watching, I, instead, looked at the action movie genre and selected Die Hard with a Vengeance.

Of the first three Die Hard movies, this one is easily my favorite for a number of reasons. The first is the fact the action starts right away and continues throughout the movie with very few pauses in between. This is something that isn't always the case with movies in this genre and I've seen way too many that spend half the film, or more, filling us in on a pointless backstory and building things up before the first stunt is performed.

Another thing I found I liked about this film was the various twists and turns. At first, the movie was about Hans Gruber's brother trying to get revenge. Then, it was about stealing money before, finally, having one last big twist that combined the two. The plot was actually kind of ambitious for an action film and even a bit risky. But, it worked well and, as a result, the movie wasn't anywhere near as predictable as it could have been.

The combination of Willis and Jackson also manages to be much more entertaining than I thought it would be, especially since their respective characters get started on the wrong foot and continue to have to work together despite never really becoming all that close. Half the time, the constant arguments between the two of them were as entertaining as the gunfights and excessive explosions throughout the film.

I think my only real complaint about this movie is I wish it would have given a bit more detail about Jackson's character and why he hated white people so much. Was it just him stereotyping people based on the general attitude of his Harlem community? Or, was there a reason (such as being wrongfully arrested because he was black) that caused him to be that way. I just felt there was something interesting about him we weren't being told and could have learned about during some of their car chases, etc.


Die Hard with a Vengeance

The third installment of the hugely succesful Die Hard series, reteams Bruce Willis and director John McTiernan in a new action/adventure extravaganza of special effects, unexpe...

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Final Opinion

My wife and I will likely go back to watching horror films but, overall, I do feel this movie was a nice break. There's plenty of action with quite a few twists and turns and a surprisingly good pairing with Willis and Jackson. If you haven't seen this movie, it is one I would recommend taking the time to watch if you're in the mood for a film that will keep you entertained from start to finish.

My Grade: A

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Updated: 06/16/2015, StevenHelmer
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