Television, Movie and Play Reviews

Originally reviewed 21 August, 1995


Reviewed by Cherie Jung

DIE HARD 3: Die Hard with a Vengeance, the Bruce Willis flick. In a word, disappointing. It's getting rave reviews from some of my friends, and some critics like it too. For me, it took the John McClane character in a direction I'd rather not go.

Willis is once again playing a bum. (Remember Striking Force? It's now out on videotape if you missed its short run at the theaters. My advice? Rent, don't buy it. It's a stinker, in my humble opinion.)

This time out, McClane is drunk, dishevelled, suspended, and separated from his wife Holly. Trouble comes to town looking for him. ("Town" is New York City.) And find him, it does.

Casting was a mess. For the bad guys, a general casting call must have been issued for out-of-work actors who can't act but can look European. They were cardboard like and very forgettable.

Jeremy Irons, who should have been very good as an intelligent, crafty adversary, was not up to the part of leader of the bad guys. He came across as being rather dull -- or maybe just bored. Definitely not the caliber of Hans Gruber (Die Hard 1) or Colonel Stewart (Die Hard 2), in my book. And for that matter, none of the bad guys were equal to their counterparts in either of the two previous Die Hard movies. Very disappointing in that respect.

The casting of the various NY cops was lackluster as well. No, make that irritating. Aren't we supposed to like some of these guys? Or at the very least, think they are competent?

One of the biggest problems I had with the movie is that it didn't allow Willis' character to do what he does best. In the first two Die Hard movies, John McClane is an average guy, and a cop who is suddenly thrust out of his league by extraordinary circumstances and he's "in the game" because he has a personal stake in its outcome (his wife Holly's life, to be exact) and he uses a hit-and-run type of attack on the terrorists (in the first two movies). Anyone of us could be the McClane of the first two movies. I don't know anyone who would want to be the McClane of the third one.

For one thing, McClane has very little to lose. Okay, maybe his life, but he doesn't seem to care much about anything right now. And the scope of the chase is too wide. New York City and Canada. (Don't ask me how Canada got into this, I'm still not sure.) There are plot holes you could drive the proverbial truck through in this one.

The tension is diffused, the city dirty, and the plot borders on being boring. I quickly decided that if McClane actually got killed, maybe things would become more interesting...

Personally, I think the McClane character works best in a confined, almost claustrophobic atmosphere with McClane, as I said, the average guy in an extraordinary situation, with something real to lose, besides some nameless and faceless victims.

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