s is no ordinary movie review. It's a movie review _with a
vengeance_. Well, no, actually it is just an average review. There's not
much vengeance in this good-natured all-American teenage boy. Who
am I kidding, I shot a convenience store clerk last week because they
were out of Lemonheads.
This third installment in the guy-who-just-won't-die series
has the usual contrived explosions and death traps. Sure, I use the
word "contrived" in a negative context all the time, but when milked
for eye-popping effects and genuine suspense, contrivances can be a
great blessing to a movie, a substitute for logic, intelligence or
poignancy. DIE HARD, LETHAL WEAPON, TRUE LIES and other
such action movies realize their audiences love the far-fetched plots
and one-in-a-million odds of survival for the main character.
This time around, Bruce Willis's McClane character (not the
New Age guru) is caught up in a cat-and-mouse game with villain
Jeremy Irons (the evil Scar from THE LION KING, though it could be
argued Elton John was the real villain of the movie), who leads Willis
on a series of missions to avoid detonation of bombs in public places.
On the first such mission, where Irons sends Bruce Willis to Harlem
wearing a huge racial slur on his shirt (the only more dangerous place
I can think of to wear such a shirt is the halls of a public high school).
That's where he meets up with Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), who saves
him from destruction by a knife-wielding street gang (again,
reminiscent of a public high school), only to be drawn into the
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE quickly becomes a buddy
picture, with Willis and Jackson against Irons, who soon loots all the
gold from the Federal Reserve Bank while all the city cops are called
to locate a bomb in--you guessed it--a public school (you knew I was
going somewhere with that "public school" stuff). Jackson is a
welcome addition to the DIE HARD series. He would have seemed like
a blatant Danny Glover LETHAL WEAPON clone if his character
hadn't been a racist, the black-man-with-a-grudge-against-whitey
stereotype you wouldn't be surprised to see wearing a black suit and
hood. Sad to say, that's all there is in the way of a character sketch for
this guy, but he's still not completely wasted here.
Part 3 may not be as good as the other DIE HARD movies,
but it is good, non-stop action and explosions. Check your brain at the
door (if you have one--a brain, not a door, though it could reasonably
be argued that without a door, there would be no place to check you
brain, but it doesn't take a brain to figure that out... or a door) and
Copyright © 1996 Andrew Hicks