Die Hard with a Vengeance is a 1995 American action thriller film directed by John McTiernan (who directed the first installment). It was written by Jonathan Hensleigh, based on the screenplay Simon Says by Hensleigh and on the characters created by Roderick Thorp for his 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever. Die Hard with a Vengeance is the third film in the Die Hard film series, after Die Hard 2 (1990). It is followed by Live Free or Die Hard (2007) and A Good Day to Die Hard (2013).
The Bonwit Teller department store in New York City is blown up by a bomb during the morning commute. A man identifying himself as \"Simon\" telephones the New York City Police Department (NYPD), claiming responsibility and threatens to detonate another bomb unless policeman John McClane is sent to Harlem wearing a sandwich board with a racist slur on it. The NYPD comply and send McClane to Harlem, where he is confronted by an electrician and shop owner named Zeus Carver. McClane explains his situation before a nearby crowd also confronts McClane over his sign. Carver intervenes and saves McClane, and they escape in a car.
They arrive at 1 Police Plaza, where Simon demands that the pair follow a timed challenge or he will set off more bombs. They agree and McClane eventually boards the 3 train heading towards the Wall Street station in order to defuse a bomb that Simon planted on it. Carver arrives at the station before McClane finds the bomb and throws it on the tracks just as it explodes. McClane and Carver regroup with the NYPD and meet some FBI and CIA agents, who initially inform the pair that Simon is \"Peter Krieg\", a mercenary and former colonel in the National People's Army before revealing to them that Krieg is Simon Peter Gruber, the brother of Hans Gruber, who McClane killed years earlier in Los Angeles.
Simon blows up a cofferdam and floods the tunnel, but McClane escapes and reunites with Carver. Surviving a car chase with Simon's men, the pair find that they were carrying enough money to pay for a bridge toll. The pair sneak aboard a tanker docked in the Long Island Sound, but Simon's associates capture them and tie them up next to a bomb. Simon explains that his school threat was fake and broadcasts a message claiming that he is planning on destroying the tanker to destabilize the Western world's economy. After he leaves, Carver and McClane free themselves and escape the tanker just before the bomb detonates. As McClane and Carver are debriefed by the NYPD, McClane informs them that none of the bullion Simon's men stole was on the tanker's cargo hold, having deduced that Simon had intended to keep all of it for himself using his knowledge of the Gruber family's modus operandi.
The script ultimately used was intended for a film entitled Simon Says, originally positioned as a Brandon Lee vehicle and the character of Zeus was written with an actress in mind. Warner Bros. bought the script and rewrote it as a Lethal Weapon sequel. Warner Bros. later put the script in turnaround, only to be purchased by Fox and rewritten as a Die Hard film.
Andy Vajna replaced Joel Silver and Larry Gordon as the producer on the film due to a fall-out with Willis. As a result, Vajna's company, Cinergi, acquired foreign rights to the film. In most regions, the film rights were acquired by Disney and Summit Entertainment, while Fox retained domestic rights. In July 1997, Cinergi sold its 50% stake in the film to Fox for $11.25 million.
Unlike its predecessors, Die Hard with a Vengeance did not take place during Christmas. It opened in theaters on May 19, 1995, five years after Die Hard 2. Despite concerns about the film portraying bomb threats and terrorism with the Oklahoma City bombing having occurred the previous month, the film was released as originally scheduled.
Die Hard with a Vengeance was released on VHS on December 19, 1995 along with a THX certified version. It was then released on LaserDisc on January 17, 1996, and on DVD on March 9, 1999. A special edition was released on DVD on July 10, 2001 and then re-released in February 2005 and 2007. The film was released on Blu-ray in 2007 and 2013.
An alternative ending to the one shown in the final movie was filmed with Jeremy Irons and Bruce Willis, set some time after the events in New York. It can be found on the Special Edition DVD. In this version, it is presumed that the robbery succeeds, and that McClane was used as the scapegoat for everything that went wrong. He is fired from the NYPD after more than 20 years on the force and the FBI has even taken away his pension, it is also mentioned that McClane and his wife Holley have divorced. Nevertheless, he still manages to track Simon using the batch number on the bottle of aspirins and they meet in a bar in Hungary. In this version, Simon has double-crossed most of his accomplices, gotten the loot to a safe hiding place somewhere in Hungary, and has the gold turned into statuettes of the Empire State Building in order to smuggle it out of the country. McClane is keen to take his problems out on Simon, who he invites to play a game called \"McClane Says\". This involves a form of Russian roulette with a small Chinese rocket launcher that has had the sights removed, meaning it is impossible to determine which end is which. McClane then asks Simon some riddles similar to the ones he played in New York. When Simon gets a riddle wrong, McClane forces him at gunpoint to fire the launcher, which fires the rocket through Simon, killing him.
In the DVD audio commentary, screenwriter Jonathan Hensleigh claims that this version was dropped because the studio thought it showed a more cruel and menacing side to McClane, a man who killed for revenge rather than in self-defense. The studio was also displeased with the lack of action in the scene, feeling that it did not fit as a \"climax\" and therefore chose to reshoot the finale as an action sequence at a significant monetary cost. Hensleigh's intention was to show that the events in New York and the subsequent repercussions had tilted McClane psychologically. This alternative ending, set some time after the film's main events, would have marked a serious break from the Die Hard formula, in which the plot unfolds over a period of roughly 12 hours.
Die Hard with a Vengeance opened in the United States on May 19, 1995 and earned $22,162,245 in its opening weekend. In Japan, it set a record opening for 20th Century Fox with a five-day gross of $13.5 million, beating Return of the Jedi and ranking number one for five consecutive weeks, grossing over $81 million. Its opening in France set a summer record with a gross of $8.8 million in its first 8 days. The film went on to gross $100,012,499 in the United States and Canada, and $266,089,167 in other markets, giving it a total worldwide gross of $366,101,666 and making it the highest-grossing film of 1995.
Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four, praising the action sequences and the performances of Willis, Jackson, and Irons, concluding: \"Die Hard with a Vengeance is basically a wind-up action toy, cleverly made, and delivered with high energy. It delivers just what it advertises, with a vengeance.\" Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman disliked the film, stating that while \"[John] McTiernan stages individual sequences with great finesse... they don't add up to a taut, dread-ridden whole\".
James Berardinelli thought that the explosions and fights were \"filmed with consummate skill, and are thrilling in their own right\". Samuel L. Jackson's performance in the film was also praised by critics. Desson Howe of The Washington Post thought that \"the best thing about the movie is the relationship between McClane and Zeus,\" saying that Jackson was \"almost as good as he was in Pulp Fiction.\" For Variety, Brian Lowry wrote the film was the \"least accomplished\" of the Die Hard series, but \"even a subpar adventure won't kill this series, as the pic's built-in audience will make it a major summer attraction, if perhaps one lacking quite the stamina of the first two movies\".
Empire magazine's Ian Nathan gave the film a three out of five stars review, stating that \"Die Hard with a Vengeance is better than Die Hard 2, but not as good as the peerless original. Though it's breathless fun, the film runs out of steam in the last act. And Jeremy Irons' villain isn't fit to tie Alan Rickman's shoelaces.\"
There was a time when the James Bond movies started with one sensational stunt sequence, and we were grateful for it. Now there are movies that are essentially nothing but sensational stunt sequences, one after another, each one a feat of staging, until we're reeling in our seats from input overload. \"Die Hard With a Vengeance\" is the kind of movie where, toward the end, you start looking for the kitchen sink.
Toward the end of the movie there is, of course, a scene where a member of the bomb squad is sweating over an infernal machine, one big enough to blow up several city blocks and equipped, as they all are, with a helpful digital countdown. He even has to decide which wires to snip. (There could be a little film festival on one of the cable channels, consisting of scenes where experts defuse bombs.) The motivation behind Simon's plan is ingenious, and I will not discuss it, except to say I am a little hazy about how the trucks got to Canada. Jeremy Irons, as the madman, is in the great tradition of the British actor as villain; like Alan Rickman, Anthony Hopkins, Gary Oldman and Tim Roth, he uses a certain clipped precision of speech that makes everything he says sound resentful.
Irons' performance and all of the others take second place, however, to sequences in which two men slide down a cable from a bridge to a ship, a wall of water chases a truck through an aqueduct, a subway car careens out of control through a station, and cars hurtle through the air like airplanes. \"Die Hard With a Vengeance\" is basically a wind-up action toy, cleverly made, and delivered with high energy. It delivers just what it advertises, with a vengeance. 59ce067264