Die Hard with a Vengeance


Die Hard with a Vengeance
Die Hard with a Vengeance

Theatrical release poster
Directed by John McTiernan
Produced by John McTiernan
Michael Tadross
Robert H. Lemer
David Willis
Andrew G. Vajna
Buzz Feitshans
Robert Lawrence
Written by Jonathan Hensleigh
Based on Characters by
Roderick Thorp
Starring Bruce Willis
Jeremy Irons
Samuel L. Jackson
Larry Bryggman
Graham Greene
Colleen Camp
Music by Michael Kamen
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Editing by John Wright
Studio Cinergi Pictures
Distributed by 20th Century Fox (North America)
Touchstone Pictures
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution (International)
Release date(s) May 19, 1995 (1995-05-19)
Running time 131 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $90 million
Box office $366,101,666

Die Hard with a Vengeance is a 1995 American action film and the third in the Die Hard film series. It was produced and directed by John McTiernan (who directed the first film), written by Jonathan Hensleigh, and stars Bruce Willis as NYPD Lieutenant John McClane, Samuel L. Jackson as McClane's reluctant partner Zeus Carver, and Jeremy Irons as Colonel Simon Peter Gruber. It was released on May 19, 1995 and followed by Live Free or Die Hard 12 years later.

Contents

Plot

When a bomb explodes at the Bonwit Teller department store, a man calling himself "Simon" phones Major Case Unit Inspector Walter Cobb at the police station and claims responsibility for the bomb. He orders suspended police officer Lt. John McClane to walk through the middle of Harlem, in his underwear, wearing a sandwich board with the slogan "I hate Niggers" on it. McClane is driven there by Cobb and three other officers. Harlem electrician Zeus Carver spots McClane and tries to get him off the street before he is killed, but a gang of black youths attacks McClane and Carver, who barely escape. Returning to the station, McClane and Carver learn that Simon is likely in possession of several gallons of a bi-chemical agent explosive stolen the night before. Simon calls the station again and demands McClane and Carver put themselves through a series of "games" to prevent any more explosions. McClane is forced to lie to Carver to gain his trust.

One of Simon's games require McClane and Carver to travel to the Wall Street station on the IRT Broadway – Seventh Avenue Line, 90 blocks south, within 30 minutes to stop a bomb planted on a Brooklyn-bound 3 train. Though McClane manages to get aboard the train, identify the bomb, and throw it off the train car, Simon still ignites the bomb, causing the rear car on the train to derail and take out many of the station's support columns, but without any fatalities thanks to McClane and Carver. The two are met by FBI agents that have identified Simon as Simon "Peter" Gruber, the brother of Hans Gruber, who was killed by McClane in the first film, and several of his cohorts. During the debriefing, Simon calls into the group and warns that another bomb has been planted in one of New York's City schools, and that any police radio could set it off. As McClane and Carver are forced to complete more games to identify the school, the police organize a massive search of every school, forcing the teams to rely on telephone communications.

McClane, while playing at Simon's games, realizes that something is wrong and returns to Wall Street while Carver continues to follow Simon's instructions. McClane finds Simon's men have raided the Federal Reserve Bank through the ruined subway system, making off with $140 billion of gold bullion from the vault, hauling it away in 14 dump trucks (brought in by Simon under the pretense of coming to take a look at the damage in the tunnels). McClane attempts to follow the dump trucks through the aqueduct, but Simon destroys a cofferdam and floods the tunnel; McClane escapes and regroups with Carver. They continue to follow the dump trucks to a tanker, and make a daring attempt to board it, but are quickly caught. At the same time that the police attempt to evacuate the school they think the bomb is in, McClane and Carver find that Simon has instead used the rest of the explosive to rig the tanker to explode, which would send the gold to the bottom of the sea. After Simon leaves, McClane and Carver escape the doomed tanker just before the bomb is detonated.

As they regroup with the police and have their wounds tended to, McClane theorizes that there was no gold on the ship, which was ultimately correct as it was replaced with scrap metal, and Simon has likely gotten away. Carver prompts McClane to call his estranged wife Holly, but while on line with her, discovers that an aspirin bottle given to him by Simon identifies a nearby border town in Quebec. McClane leads a raid along with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on a warehouse where Simon and his men have started to distribute the gold. Simon escapes in a helicopter and attempts to shoot McClane from the air, but McClane shoots a power line, severing it onto the helicopter and destroying it. Carver joins McClane and convinces him to finish his call to Holly at a nearby pay phone.

Cast

Alternate endings

An alternative ending to the one shown in the final movie was filmed with Jeremy Irons and Bruce Willis, set some time after the events in New York. It can be found on the special edition DVD. In this version it is presumed that the robbery succeeds, and that McClane was used as the scapegoat for everything that went wrong. He is fired from the NYPD after more than 20 years on the force and the FBI has even taken away his pension. Nevertheless he still manages to track Simon using the batch number on the bottle of aspirins and they meet in a cafe in Hungary.

In this version, Simon has double-crossed most of his accomplices, gotten the loot to a safe hiding place in Nova Scotia, and has the gold turned into statuettes of the Empire State Building in order to smuggle it out of the country; but he is still tracked down to his foreign hideaway (this version is very similar to Alec Guinness's situation in the British heist movie The Lavender Hill Mob made some 45 years earlier in which the stolen gold was turned into Eiffel Tower paperweights).

McClane is keen to take his problems out on Simon whom he invites to play a game called "McClane Says". This involves a form of Russian Roulette with a small Chinese rocket launcher that has had the sights removed, meaning it is impossible to determine which end is which. McClane then asks Simon some riddles similar to the ones he played in New York. When Simon gets a riddle wrong, McClane forces him at gunpoint to fire the launcher, which fires the rocket through Simon, killing him. Of course, McClane had been wearing a flak jacket (which was the answer to the final riddle: "What could he have brought to the meeting to save his life?"), so even if Simon had pointed the launcher the right way, it is likely that the relatively low-velocity rocket would not have caused McClane enough injury to prevent him from shooting Simon.

In the DVD audio commentary, screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh claims that this version was dropped because the studio thought it showed a more cruel and menacing side to McClane, a man who killed for revenge rather than in self-defense. Hensleigh's intention was to show that the events in New York and the subsequent repercussions had tilted him psychologically. This alternative ending, set some time after the main events of the movie, would have marked a serious break from the Die Hard formula, in which the plot unfolds over a period of roughly 12 hours.

According to the DVD audio commentary, a second alternate ending had McClane and Carver floating back to shore on a makeshift raft after the explosion at sea. Carver says it is a shame the bad guys are going to get away; McClane tells him not to be so sure. The scene then shifts to the plane where the terrorists find the briefcase bomb they left in the park and which Carver gave back to them (in this version it was not used to blow up the dam). The movie would end on a darkly comic note as Simon asks if anyone has a 4 gallon jug. This draft of the script was rejected early on, and unlike the rocket-launcher sequence, was never actually filmed.

Soundtrack

Michael Kamen returned to score the third film, again incorporating other material into his score (most notably When Johnny Comes Marching Home, not included on the soundtrack album), but excerpts from his score for Die Hard 2 were tracked into the new film. The soundtrack was released by RCA Victor; Kamen tracks in bold.

  1. Summer in the CityThe Lovin' Spoonful (2:44)
  2. Goodbye Bonwits (6:28)
  3. Got it Covered – Fu-Schnickens (4:13)
  4. John and Zeus (3:19)
  5. In Front of Kids – Extra Prolific (2:44)
  6. Papaya King (5:20)
  7. Take A-nother Train (2:55)
  8. The Iron Foundry – Alexander Mosolov (3:08)
  9. Waltz of the Bankers (4:13)
  10. Gold Vault (march of the ants) (3:45)
  11. Surfing in the Aqueduct (2:30)
  12. Symphony No. 1 – Johannes Brahms (15:00)
  13. Symphony No. 9 – Ludwig van Beethoven (9:46)

Reception

Critical reaction

The film received mixed reviews with a 50% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly stated that while "McTiernan stages individual sequences with great finesse... they don't add up to a taut, dread-ridden whole."[2] James Berardinelli thought that the explosions and fights were "filmed with consummate skill, and are thrilling in their own right."[3] Samuel L. Jackson was also praised in the film. Desson Howe of the Washington Post thought that "the best thing about the movie is the relationship between McClane and Zeus," saying that Jackson was "almost as good as he was in Pulp Fiction."[4] James Berardinelli, said that Jackson "rises above the material."[3]

Box office

The film earned $100,012,499 in the United States, while it earned $266,089,167 in foreign markets, giving its total gross of $366,101,666 and was the highest grossing film of 1995.[5]

References

External links


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