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(Review originally written at 4 January 2008)

Who would had ever guessed that after the disappointing standard action sequel "Die Hard 2", the third entry in the Die Hard-series would be such an infinite amount times better and actual be amongst one of the best action movies ever made. Yes, I even find this movie to be better than the first "Die Hard" movie. I don't think a lot of people expected a third Die Hard movie, 5 years after the last entry, and they surely didn't expected much good from it. But all I can say that John McTiernan has really did it again!

John McTiernan plain and simple used to be the best action director in the business in the late '80's and early '90's. He made many hits but he made even more flops though, which sort of gave him a bad reputation in the business. Lets hope he starts making good movies soon again, because when he makes a good movie it's not just something good, it's really GOOD.

This movie was perhaps his last really good movie, as of yet. He's in top shape and gives this movie a lot of pace and adrenaline pumping action. Even the sequences in which no action is occurring makes your adrenaline pump, due to the fine action film-making style of McTiernan. You also have to watch this movie in perspective. It was made in 1995, in those days the Micheal Bay's and the Jerry Bruckheimer's of the business didn't made any real BIG action blockbusters yet. The Lethal Weapon- and the Rambo movies were the only real big action movies of that time, with occasionally also a Schwarzenegger flick thrown in. Mostly the type of overblown action movies in which the good guy never runs out of ammo and explosions and crashes were being shown from 3 different angles in a row, all in slow-motion. In that regard "Die Hard: With a Vengeance" was a real refreshing action movie, that feels more realistic, mostly thanks to the anti-hero John McClane but also the style of filming and the handling of the action. This also was like THE biggest action movie ever made at that time.

But what really made the movie great to me was its story. It begins as a fun and sort of adventurous game in which New York City is the playground. McClane has to solve all kinds of riddles, to avoid a terrorist from setting off bombs hidden in the city. The terrorist that also happens to be the brother of Hans Gruber, who McClane threw off the Nakatomi building. It however soon becomes obvious that this is not what the movie is going to be about and it's not just another revenge flick and it's just a diversion of a way bigger terrorist plan. It's a cleverly constructed and build-up action movie, that will also offer some surprises.

It's not just an action filled movie, it also has lots of comedy in it, which adds to the reason why this is a very fun and pleasant one to watch. The fun mostly comes from the Samuel L. Jackson character. He and Bruce Willis form a mismatched buddy-duo, which also makes this movie an action buddy-flick, only more cleverly disguised and less obvious than similar conceptional movies, of which so many got made at that time.

Out of all the Die Hard movies, this is perhaps the one that requires the most acting from Bruce Willis. He does a good job with it and his character is also perhaps the most likable in this one. Samuel L. Jackson is also just great as always. Jeremy Irons perhaps plays his most villainous role in this movie and what a great truly memorable movie villain it is! He also does a good job with the German accent, even though the actual German spoken in this movie is mostly incoherent gibberish. The movie also benefits from it that for the first part of the movie only his voice is featured. He of course has a great distinctive voice!

This really is how an action movie should be like; fun, fast, adrenaline pumping, action filled, not too over-the-top, exciting, tense, surprising, good actors, likable main character and NO love story thrown in to it! This movie has really got it all! The perfect action movie and truly among the best of all time.

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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