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Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)

On a good day he's a great cop. On a bad day he's the best there is.

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 131 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


Die Hard was awesome, Die Hard 2: Die Harder was okay in spite of the ridiculous name so, by the rule of thumb for threequels, Die Hard: With A Vengeance should have yipeekayed down the slide of credibility and been awful.

John McClane (Willis) is washed up and having woman troubles again but there’s no time to get over his hangover as he’s unwittingly dragged into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. This time it’s an anonymous meanie (Irons) who is forcing McClane and Zues (Jackson), an agitated member of the black community who happened to get in the way, to undergo a series of mental trials around New York in order to stop a series of bombs from going off.

So how did John McTiernan manage to do the unthinkable and create a third part that some would argue comes close to the Christmas classic original? For a start, they didn’t try the usual and leave the storyline behind whilst upping the ante a thousand fold with the special effects – frankly how could you get bigger than crashing a plane in Die Harder. The casting also represented a few coups by getting Samuel L. Jackson onboard as McClane’s bickering partner fresh from his defining role in Pulp Fiction and having Jeremy Irons successfully do an Alan Rickman as a (Spoiler!) thespian Germanic villain.

Die Hard 3 is an original, enjoyable ride from the first explosion during the credits, throughout the corporate teambuilding weekend tasks, to the unfolding evil masterplan and its inevitable scuppering.  For the best part of the film the usual thriller formula is turned on its head as the cops aren’t trying to find the bad guys but instead McClane and co. are very obviously in their pockets which gives it a much-needed refreshing feel. There is also genuine character progression, a quirky soundtrack and plenty of impressive stunts plus it’s even interactional as you can shout out the answers of the IQ-type tasks at the screen all you like (although they ignore you most of the time).

It's Got: Clever and impressive action, cool bad guys and cool good guys, originality

It Needs: An IQ of at least 100

DVD Extras The Two Disc Special Edition includes a disjointed commentary, two Making Of featurettes - one long, one short, trailers, an interview with Willis, behind the scenes footage and an alternate ending which is probably reason enough to buy this package. Excellent. DVD Extras Rating: 9/10


Defying the laws of the threequel Die Hard: With A Vengeance is an original and enjoyable action thriller that may have even come close to the original. Yipee-kay-8-out-of-ten.