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Die Hard With a Vengeance

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4

*Also starring: Jeremy Irons, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Sam Phillips, Larry Bryggman, Anthony Peck

Review by Andrew Hicks
3 stars out of 4

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 cat-and-mouse game.

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 enjoy.

Copyright 1996 Andrew Hicks

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