Seven years after the first Die Hard film & five years after the sequel, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, comes the third installment of the series, Die Hard with a Vengeance, which stars Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, & Jeremy Irons. This 1995 action film takes place in New York City & is directed by John McTiernan.
This film starts off with a bomb exploding in a department store building. Right after the explosion occurs, a man named “Simon” (played by Jeremy Irons) calls the police department & orders Lieutenant John McClane (played by Bruce Willis) to wear a sign in downtown Harlem stating that he hates ******. As he is about to get the stuffing beaten out of him by some outraged people, he is inadvertently saved by a shopkeeper named Zeus (played by Samuel L. Jackson). In order to prevent any more bombs from going off, Simon forces John McClane & Zeus to play “Simon Says”. Throughout the film, Simon calls them through different pay phones & plays cat & mouse games with them by giving them riddles & forcing them to solve different puzzles. In other words, Simon basically is having fun by playing mind games with the entire NYPD & Zeus. Just as Simon & Zeus solve one riddle, Simon gives them clues regarding the next one.
One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was great was the acting. The element I enjoyed about the acting in this film was the comedy bits which occur. Unlike other buddy comedy films which involve cops like: 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys, & Rush Hour, this film is not classified as a comedy. One of the scenes which I thought was hysterical was when Zeus asks the lady to get off the phone but she won’t do it, so he grabs the phone from her & tells her to give him the damn phone. The second scene occurs when John & Zeus are in the underground subway station when Zeus notices a gold bar. He asks John if the gold is real & John says it is. Zeus grabs a gold bar to which John tells him that he can’t take it with him. Zeus tells him we’ll see about that. The final scene which I thought was absolutely hilarious occurs when Zeus carjacks some guy & asks him for directions, to which the guy tells Zeus to go **** himself. Back inside the car, Zeus discovers that somebody stole his gold bar.
The other aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was absolutely brilliant was the direction they chose to go in this film. Instead of Simon simply doing attacks, he plays cat & mouse games with John & Zeus, as he always seems to be one step ahead. One of the games which come to mind is when John & Zeus are by a water well in the park. John opens the laptop to discover the next assignment. On the well are two bottles, a three gallon jug & a five gallon jug. The directions are to fill one of them with four gallons & place it on the laptop. Incase anyone is wondering, I believe this is the solution: 1. Fill the three gallon jug with two gallons 2. Pour one of the gallons from the three gallon jug into the five gallon jug 3. Fill the three gallon jug completely 4. Pour the three gallon jug into the five gallon jug giving it exactly four gallons.
My recommendation is that I loved this film more than I thought I would. In fact, I would rank this as one of my top ten all time favorite films. I like how Director John McTiernan decided to add bits of comedy into this film, as it would have been boring being only action. I also like how he decided to make the Simon character similar to the Riddler character from Batman. I actually the Simon character as he was able to toy with the NYPD through various mind games & riddles. It’s too bad that Samuel L. Jackson did not reprise his character in the final installment of the series, Live Free or Die Hard.