Die Hard: With a Vengeance ★★★★½

Alright the first Die Hard is a bonafide classic and is the superior FILM. With that said.....I watch the third one the most!

I am a sucker for the bickering couple cliche. Give me two male partners reluctantly working together despite deeply caring for each other, and I am beaming! This was the only logical direction to take John McClane's character: Bring him home to New York upon fucking up his marriage, and let him be a cop in a testy situation he didn't ask for! Give him a hangover while he navigates Rudy Giuliani's New York solving riddles and looking for bombs. And better yet, pair him up with Samuel L Jackson to take down Jeremy Irons! Boom, great sequel! Also that scene with the cop telling Zeus to freeze, kinda hits differently in our BLM times - at least it's funnier when Frozone freezes the cop (we saw what you did there, Brad Bird)

Die Hard 3 had to crawl in order for The Dark Knight Rises to fly! Think about it: both introduce our hero at his lowest point in bad shape, a large scale revenge plot related to an old villain from the first movie who takes over Wall Street digging underground, cops are sent on a wild goose chase as bombs threaten to detonate in the city. Is it any wonder Nolan dropped the Chicago aesthetic to make his Gotham more New Yorkish in the third batman film?! So Nolan dug from the well of two of the great action thrillers of 1995 to make his Dark Knight sequels (Heat and Die Hard 3).....can't unsee now!

If not for that wack ending, this would have probably exceeded the original for me. They could have ended with the ship blowing up and Simon getting away in French Connection style. I would have been happier with that than what we got, it would have made Simon a formidable foe who outsmarted everyone while setting up a brilliant sequel. And yeah I've seen that alternate ending where McClane tracks Simon and assassinated him Hitman style - I'm not a fan of making our everyman hero a cold contract killer.

This movie is more New York than any Garfield or Holland Spiderman movie. Seriously, why don't these supposedly New York movies incorporate the city and its people more? Damn shame. This is the only Die Hard sequel that matters in my book!

P.S Jackson and Willis were hot off Pulp Fiction a year before this came out, and it shows. Just as they get off the taxi to answer the first payphone with the fat woman on it, McClane says to Zeus "I was working on a nice, fat suspension, smokin' cigarettes and watchin' Captain Kangaroo" . A little nod to Butch before he rans over Marsellus 😉

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