Alongside gravity, one of the surest things in the universe is that successful action films get sequels, even if they aren’t actually that good. Some films even warrant two sequels! Die Hard has amassed four sequels, but we’re going to look at the Malcolm in the Middle of the lot. That is, Die Hard with a Vengeance.
Five years after Die Hard 2, we now find McClane in New York City. No longer is he confined to a single building, or some crappy airport; the Big Apple is his arena. The film begins, and hardly a minute has gone by before we witness an explosion, demolishing the lower floor of a Manhattan building. The audience, rubbernecking, are now gripped; what on earth has just happened?
We also meet Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), explaining to his nephews not to trust white people, before he comes across McClane wearing a sign that reads ‘I Hate Niggers’. This forces our heroes to meet under incredibly awkward circumstances, as of course, McClane doesn’t want to be wearing the sign. In a brilliantly ironic moment, Zeus explains to McClane, ‘You are about to have a very bad day.‘
The reason he is wearing the sign is because the person who blew up the first building has told McClane to do this via an anonymous call, otherwise he will blow up something else. It seems that the studio listened to their audience’s reaction to Die Hard 2, as this person is in fact Hans Gruber’s brother, who is seemingly out for revenge. Of course, they couldn’t actually reprise Hans himself, so his brother, played by the fantastic Jeremy Irons, is an excellent substitute.
The rest of the film sees Willis and Jackson running around, solving puzzles, blowing up stuff, killing a plethora of henchmen all with the air of two grumpy old men. You definitely get the feeling that McClane would have preferred this to happen any other day. The comedy is brilliant, and Zeus’s inherent dislike of white people makes for some hilarious dialogue.
With a budget to make your mouth water, this is one of the more exciting and involved films of the series. All the classic Die Hard elements are still there, it’s just bigger and better than ever! With the exceptional cast and gripping storyline, this might just be my favourite Die Hard film.