Die Hard: With a Vengeance ★★★★

Sometimes the DVD / Blu-Ray of a movie does the review for you.

If you can, have a listen to the unusually candid and perceptive commentary track on DHWAV by writer Jonathan Hensleigh. His conclusion is that for the first two-thirds or so, the movie is as good as it gets, and then there is a gradual diminution until a botched ending. He's right. Up until it leaves Manhattan and gets to the aqueduct, DHWAV is a worthy sequel. The Central Park cab ride, subway crash, Federal Reserve robbery and elevator battle are all classic bits of Die Hardery. With the exception of some moments here and there in The Thirteenth Warrior, this now looks like John Mctiernan's swan song as the badass action director of his era. Interestingly, he uses a somewhat different style than he did in the original, favouring more whip-pans, handheld camera moves and more restless camera movement than in the more classically designed Jan De Bont lens-flared cinematography of the original.

But lets go back to the DVD. Look at the original ending, in which McLane essentially turns from the put-upon hero of the franchise so far and into more of a proactive vigilante who hunts down the bad guys. It would have fitted the movie better than the tacked-on, sloppy reshoot ending, and taken the franchise in a bold new direction that could have sustained more Die Hard movies for several more instalments. A shame that Mctiernan and producer Andy Vajna lost their nerve and gave into the test audiences.

Notes: Since ultimately avarice rather than vengeance is Simon's plan, the title doesn't quite fit. 'Die Hard 3 : Die Hardest' would work better.
Oh, and both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are name checked in the movie. Hillary is mentioned as a possible future president, and Trump as an aspirational trophy husband figure. Time can warp movies in funny ways.

BestVista liked these reviews