Thursday, October 7, 2010

Die Hard with a Vengeance

With John McTiernan back in the director's chair, the series returns to its roots a bit, with a slightly more down to earth believability to John McClane's actions, as he's less about shooting everyone in sight and more concerned with figuring things out and gutting out a win. The scope of the movie itself is even bigger, as terror sweeps through all of New York City, but it has something from the first movie that the second didn't, that thing which made the first original and interesting in the first place. Anybody can make an action movie where things blow up and a foreign guy threatens people, it takes a little extra to make it as fun as this. In fact, it's pretty damn surprising that the guy who wrote the script (which wasn't originally going to be for a Die Hard movie) went on to make something as amazingly nonsensical as The Punisher. It's not the smartest thing in the world, but it's clever and funny and exciting enough to easily last through the two hours.

A lot of entertainment comes from the buddy picture quality of the story, an otherwise typical black/white dynamic when McClane gets shoved together through circumstance with an electrician from Harlem, but it's saved by the entertaining, antagonistic chemistry between Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. They're forced to team up and race around New York while solving riddles to try and prevent bombs from going off, being teased and tricked by an enjoyably evil Jeremy Irons. Eventually though they realize the bombs are just part of a much larger and more diabolical plot, and not just a simple vendetta. The two have to use all of their wits and get the crap kicked out of them just trying to keep the bad guys from winning. By the end you're as exhausted as they are, but it was worth it because it was just about as much fun as you can have seeing a movie without it really being a great one. McTiernan may be going to jail for some of the things he's done, but you can't take away that the guy knows how to make an action movie.

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