Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Die Hard With a Vengeance Review

Action movies tend to suffer the most from advances in technology.  They rely so much on communication limitations and technological advances that are being used for evil and must be thwarted.  So, when you come back to one almost 20 years after it was released, you know that you're going to see some things that wouldn't happen today.  The reliance on pay phones to engage in psychological games with John McClane is a prime example.  This doesn't diminish the quality of Die Hard With a Vengeance as an action movie.  It does mean that the viewer is always going to have to remember the context when watching the movie though.  While some of these limitations are present in the movie, the movie does not rely on them to be integral to the plot.  Instead, most of the story progresses through the tried and true action movie methods of explosions, car chases and a strong dynamic between two conflicting personalities.

If you've seen The Last Boy Scout, you know that Bruce Willis is a master of smart ass comments when interacting with a person that doesn't share his character's "Joe Blow" view of the world.  So, when you give him a sidekick that is more than twice the actor of Damon Wayans (I like Wayans.  But I'm not naive enough to think he's a good actor.), you get interactions and dialogue that are absolutely top notch.  Samuel L Jackson plays the angry black man with a chip on his shoulder perfectly against Bruce Willis' "I just want to survive the day and don't care about anyone's politics" John McClane.

Combine that great duo with some very good action sequences and a story that is actually pretty tight and you have an action movie that can be watched over and over.  The action in Vengeance is top notch as well. Having the heroes run through Simon's games as a diversion creates an element of tension that the first two didn't have as much of.  So, even when there are no chases or explosions, the viewer remains interested.

It isn't the best Die Hard.  That title still belongs to the original.  But it is far from the worst.  It's a great action movie with a terrific pace.  See it.

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