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Laramie Movie Scope:
Die Hard With a Vengeance

Third and least in the series

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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May 22, 1995 -- ``Die Hard With a Vengeance'' is the third, and least, in a series of action films about a tough New York detective that's as tough to kill as a mutant cockroach.

To me, this film was a disappointment because I really liked the first film in the series and the second one wasn't bad, but the third one is like a farce. In order to have a successful action film, you need suspense. In order to have suspense you need sharply defined characters and a believable threat. This film has neither.

Bruce Willis reprises his role as John McClane, cop on suspension due to high body count, who is picked on by Jeremy Irons, a renegade terrorist, who just happens to be the brother of the terrorist (Alan Rickman) that McClane killed in the first movie.

Irons will have his revenge on McClane. He orders him around town in a game of ``Simon says.'' Either McClane does what he says or people get blown up. Along the way he picks up a black shop owner (Samuel L. Jackson) who comes along for the ride.

The rest of the movie consists of a bank heist, several explosions, numerous shootings, numerous chase scenes, fights, stabbings, etc. Irons commands at least an entire army division of thugs, millions of dollars of high tech and heavy equipment and the complete loyalty of his people, which he clearly doesn't deserve.

Jackson, who inexplicably turns from a mild-mannered shop owner into a James Bond-type superhero during the course of the film, and McClane, both fall at least a hundred feet onto a hard surface without breaking any bones, so you know they are invulnerable, like superman.

The two men survive explosions, shootings and traffic accidents that would kill any mortal and survive to make wisecracks. The film would have made more sense if it had lapsed into cartoon sequences, like ``Tank Girl.''

There are some formidable acting talents in the film, including Jackson and Irons, but no believable characters are developed. The action sequences weren't believable, either. Yet this film grossed over $20 million in the first weekend and I've seen some good reviews on it, so maybe I'm out in left field on this one. Reportedly, most people were able to suspend their disbelief and be manipulated by this film. I just couldn't swallow it. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)