Die Hard With a Vengeance Review

by Chris Hilkene (es051315 AT orion DOT yorku DOT ca)
June 21st, 1995

A film review by Chris Hilkene
Copyright 1995 Chris Hilkene

    It's no wonder that Hollywood wanted to cash in on the success of the "Die Hard" legacy, but I would have thought that they could have produced something much better than DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE. I got the same feeling watching this film as I did watching THE SPECIALIST. Actually, it wasn't a feeling, I just plain fell asleep in both films.

    After waking up I tried to piece together why this film is so bad. Poor editing is one reason I came up with. Even though there is lots of action and special effects the editing makes the film drag. Another problem is that the film is so cliche that it verges on banality. But perhaps the biggest flaw of the film is the re-orientation of the John Maclaine character. In the previous films Maclaine was the wrong guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, who was forced to take action because his wife was in danger. It was the chance element and his ablility to persevere even though he was overwhelmed by his situation, and in doubt about his ability and motives that made the Maclaine character captivating. In the new film, Maclaine is the super human cop (despite efforts to portray him as burned out). The bad guy specifically makes Maclaine a target because of his prowess. This is where the movie falls apart. The film makers, and Bruce Willis, do not develop a mechanism by which to negotiate the two radically different personalities.

    The chance element enters into the story via Samuel Jackson. For all intents and purposes he is the Maclaine of the earlier "Die Hard" films. He is thrust into the plot by unfortunate circumstance. However, his character's ability to immediately fit into the role is too contrived. Jackson's acting in the film is commendable, but even this doesn't help to make the character believable.

    DIE HARD 3 is a pathetic offering that detracts from, rather than adds to, the "Die Hard" saga.

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