Thursday, July 05, 2012

Penny Thoughts ‘12—Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995) ***

R, 131 min.
Director: John McTiernan
Writer: John Hensleigh
Starring: Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Larry Bryggman, Anthony Peck, Nick Wyman, Sam Phillips

What could be more American than watching John McClane trash talk and then kill some German thief scum? Doing that and watching Samuel L. Jackson yell about how white people are all crazy, that’s what.

I’ve reviewed both “Die Hard” and “Die Hard 2” on several occasions, because they’re Christmas movies, and so they get pretty regular rotation around the holidays. “Die Hard with a Vengeance”, on the other hand, is purely a summer movie. From the opening chords of The Lovin’ Spoouful’s “Summer in the City”, this movie just feels like the oppressive hot of the summer. This summer in particular in Missouri has been quite oppressively hot, and when the worst drought to hit this area in many years led to the cancelation of all of the area’s fireworks displays, I had one though, “It’s time to finally watch ‘Die Hard 3’ again.”

No, this third outing isn’t nearly as good as the original, but it is fun. Willis’s and Jackson’s banter is good for a laugh. The stunts and effects are good by old school standards. The plot is deceptive, but not too complicated, and in pure “Die Hard” spirit. John McTiernan’s direction is as good as it will ever be. I like how the filmmakers don’t even bother to introduce anyone or do any sort of character development. The truth is it’s totally unnecessary for a movie like this one.

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