Die Hard with a Vengeance theatrical poster
|Written by|| Roderick Thorp (characters) |
|Directed by||John McTiernan|
|Produced by||John McTiernan|
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Michael Kamen|
|Cinematography by||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Editing by||John Wright|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Buena Vista Pictures
|Release Date||May 19, 1995|
|Run time||131 min.|
|Preceded by||Die Hard 2|
|Followed by||Live Free or Die Hard|
Die Hard with a Vengeance is the third film in the Die Hard series and Bruce Willis returns as policeman John McClane. Released in May 19, 1995, it was written by Jonathan Hensleigh and directed by John McTiernan.
In this sequel, McClane, down-on-his-luck and suspended from the NYPD, becomes a target by intelligent but sinister terrorist Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons), the brother of the late Hans Gruber, who is setting off bombs in New York City and plays "Simon Says" with him. McClane teams up with reluctant shopkeeper Zeus Carver (Samuel L. Jackson), who has a keen knowledge of riddles, to foil Simon's game. In the process, they discover the revenge plot is a diversion of a huge heist by Simon and his men.
Die Hard with a Vengeance is usually thought of as the best Die Hard sequel along with Live Free or Die Hard. It also introduced a different type of Die Hard scenario film, which was revisited in the following two movies.
The antagonist in this movie is Simon Gruber (Jeremy Irons), brother of Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman, who, like Irons, was an English actor playing a German). Hans was a German criminal who was killed by McClane at the climax of Die Hard, the first film in the series. It first appears as though Gruber is out to avenge his brother's death but it is later revealed that other motives are at work.
He begins by blowing up a bomb in a busy street and telling the police, calling himself "Simon", that McClane must walk through Harlem displaying a sandwich board reading "I hate niggers". When some offended African-Americans threaten him they are held back at gunpoint by shopkeeper and black activist Zeus Carver. Carver gets McClane away, not out of concern for a white man, but that the colleagues of a white cop might go gunning for every black man in the area if one of their own is killed. Simon now insists that this "Good Samaritan" has become part of the game whether he likes it or not.
Simon has planted real as well as phony bombs throughout the city, and forces McClane and Carver to participate in a game of "Simon says", which usually consists of giving them information about a bomb and giving them a chance to defuse it.
The first game happens at a public telephone. Simon calls and reads them the As I Was Going to St Ives riddle. To answer the riddle, McClane needs to dial 555 followed by the answer within 30 seconds. They make the call, but are 10 seconds late. Simon laughs and says there is no bomb, since he "didn't say 'Simon Says'."
McClane is told they have half an hour to go to a phone at a subway station near Wall Street from where they are on the upper west side. To do this, McClane drives through Central Park and makes a radio call for an ambulance which they follow through heavy traffic. McClane manages to climb into the subway train from an above grating and finds the bomb, quickly chucking it out the train window. Only Zeus makes it to the station to pick up the call. Simon says that McClane's absence is a breach of the rules and the bomb is detonated, but it turns out that Simon intended for the bomb to go off anyway, since an activation switch was placed on the subway tracks to detonate the bomb once the subway car hit the switch.
After the bomb is detonated, they must go to another park to answer another riddle. This time Simon says "What has four legs and is always ready to travel?" Zeus figures out that it is an elephant, and they find a briefcase bomb in an elephant fountain in the park. After a short argument on whether or not to open the briefcase, John decides to open it. When he does, an LCD screen reads "I am a bomb. You have just armed me." Simon then calls them again, telling them that they must use a 5 gallon and a 3 gallon jug to put exactly 4 gallons of water on the bomb's scale to disarm it, which they do in the nick of time.
Simon's next riddle is "What is 21 out of 42?" Zeus figures out that there have been 42 Presidents of the United States, but is unable to remember who the 21st was. Later, a truck driver tells McClane it is Chester A. Arthur and it identifies a school in which Simon claims to have placed a bomb - it is later found to be Chester A. Arthur Elementary School, where Zeus's two nephews, Raymond and Dexter attend. However, Simon has other plans for the bulk of his explosives, and the bomb the police find in the school is an elaborate dummy filled with pancake syrup.
As Zeus and McClane are traveling between destinations, McClane catches and reprimands a boy for stealing a candy bar. The boy comments that every cop in the city is searching the schools and one could, as the boy puts it, "steal City Hall". McClane abruptly realizes the nature of Simon's plan.
So far the police have been led to believe that all this is an overblown act of revenge. However, it is really a diversion from Simon's real goal: to rob the high-security vault in the basement of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which holds the gold of several foreign nations, even more than Fort Knox. The need to search the thousands of schools in New York means that the police, emergency and Federal agencies are all occupied elsewhere. This enables Simon and his army of East European mercenaries to break into the vault and make their escape with a dozen dump trucks filled to the brim with gold bars.
McClane and Carver see through the plan and catch up with the gang as they embark their trucks on board a ship. They are captured and left on the ship with a huge bomb. (At this point they hold a heart-to-heart, with McClane admitting that he and his wife are yet again estranged, and Carver trying to convince him to try to at least call her.)
They both manage to escape the ship just as the bomb explodes. Simon has led them to believe that the gold was still aboard the ship and that the whole thing was a plot to upset the world economy. However McClane guesses that it is yet another diversion and that the gold is safely elsewhere. After suffering a horrible headache all day, McClane had finally managed to obtain a bottle of aspirin from Simon himself. Based on Carver's prompting, McClane then calls his estranged wife. As the call is connecting, McClane goes to take one of the pills, and a label on the bottom of the bottle shows that they were purchased from a pharmacy in Quebec. McClane is forced to leave the phone to pursue Simon and leaves his wife hanging on the line. This leads the action to a warehouse in Canada where Simon and his gang have indeed taken the gold. There they witness Simon's gang being caught by the Canadian police before being attacked by Simon in a helicopter. The final battle ensues and as the helicopter hovers underneath some power lines, McClane cleverly shoots out the power lines with two shots, destroying the helicopter, and sending Simon to join his late brother.
As the film ends, McClane calls his wife on a nearby pay phone, despite worrying about the fact that he left her on hold. The credits roll as the call is connecting.
Cast and charactersEdit
- Bruce Willis as Lt. John McClane
- Larry Bryggman as Insp. Walter Cobb
- Graham Greene as Off. Joe Lambert
- Colleen Camp as Off. Connie Kowalski
- Anthony Peck as Off. Ricky Walsh
- Kevin Chamberlin as NYPD bomb squad expert Charles Weiss
- Sharon Washington as Off. Jane
- Stephen Pearlman as Dr. Fred Schiller, Department psychologist
- Charles Dumas as Agent Andy Cross, FBI
- Michael Cristofer as Bill Jarvis, from Another Agency
- Phyllis Yvonne Stickney as NYPD Dispatcher Wanda Shepard
- J.R. Horne as Sgt. John Turley
- Scott Nicholson as Transit Cop
- Jeremy Irons as Simon Gruber
- Sam Phillps as Katya
- Nick Wyman as Mathias Targo
- Richard E. Council as Otto
- Sven Toorvald as Karl
- Gerrit Vooren as Nils
- Willis Sparks as Klaus
- Mischa Hausserman as Mischa
- Bill Christ as Ivan
- Tony Halme as Roman
- Timothy Adams as Gunther
- Robert Sedgwick as Rolf
- Samuel L. Jackson as Zeus Carver
- Michael Alexander Jackson as Dexter
- Aldis Hodge as Raymond
- Joe Zaloom as Jerry Parks
- John Doman as Foreman
- Franchelle Stewart Dorn as Principal Martinez
- Aasif Mandvi as Arab cabbie
- Elvis Duran as Radio DJ
- John McTiernan, Sr, father of John McTiernan as Fisherman