ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Die Hard with a Vengeance

Updated on December 2, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 1995, John McTiernan released Die Hard with a Vengeance, based on a script initially intended for a film called Simon Says by Jonathan Hensleigh. Starring Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson, Graham Greene, Colleen Camp, Larry Bryggman, Anthony Peck, Nick Wyman, Sam Phillips, and Kevin Chamberlin, the film grossed 366.1 million at the box office. Nominated for the Saturn Award for Best Action/Adventure Film, the Awards Circuit Community Award for Best Stunt Ensemble, and the MTV Movie Award for Best Action Sequence, the film won the BMI Film Music Award and the Golden Screen Award.


John McClane is put back on duty following a suspension when a man named Simon blows up a department store in New York City. To prevent further attacks, Simon demands that McClane wear a racist sandwich board in Harlem. When he’s saved by local business owner Zeus Carver, they are forced to solve riddles before Simon sets off several other bombs.


Better than the second film and almost as good as the first, Die Hard with a Vengeance once again returns to a John McClane who gets the entire plot thrust upon him and just wants to be left alone so he can deal with a hangover. His characterization is furthered in this film as he seems to put himself more into harm’s way in this one. While that could be seen as the throwing away of making him an everyman who saves the day because he’s been put into situation, it really seems more likely that he’s got a lot of issues with what happened in previous films. It’s almost as said events caused some PTSD which is taking its toll on him and he really wants to end it to get rid of those memories.

An interesting aspect to this film is in how it doesn't portray the police the same way it did in the previous two films. Where the cops in the first film were unable to do anything and the cops in the second film were unwilling to work until the last possible second, this film presents New York cops that are not only competent but actually spring to meet the situation head on rather than wait to see if Simon’s bluffing or not.

Notably, Simon is actually a pretty in-depth villain with a very well-planned scheme that’s almost carried out to fruition had he not been a nice guy for a second and given McClane the Asprin to get rid of his headache. But that’ not the only time where Simon reveals that he’s not a completely monstrous villain. There’s one point when the NYPD’s bomb disposal technician is working on the bomb in the school and it’s revealed that it was a fake bomb with the wrong components. The real bomb was on the freighter where the gold was supposed to be and Simon actually tells McClane that he’s not a monster, even though he works for some at points. There’s also when he and his men enter the Federal Reserve. Instead of killing everyone in their way, they tranquilize them and only kill those who resist. Simon even stops Katya in her overkill of the guard with the shotgun. There’s also his reasoning in trying to kill McClane while pulling off his scheme. Simon may have hated his brother, but Hans was still family. It gives Simon depth and prevents him from being a flat villain, showing that he’s not out to kill everyone in his way.

The film also isn’t just a popcorn action flick as it actually addresses the subject of racism with the character of Zeus and his prejudice against white people. In his first scene, he’s introduced as telling his nephews that white people aren’t going to help them and will only impede them on being successful. However, he’s not completely hateful towards white people as his first encounter with McClane shows him wanting to protect a guy who he thinks is mentally unstable while waiting for the police respond. As the film rolls on, it shows that Zeus’ racism is only harming him and McClane from being able to work together to solve Simon’s riddles. Fascinatingly, the resolution isn’t given with a sledgehammer, but a gentle poke when Zeus and McClane are arguing. The former assumes that the latter was about to call him a slur when McClane was just going to call him an asshole. That’s really the point when the two start working together quite better, and it’s implied that Zeus realized he actually was being an asshole and that McClane wasn’t acting any more antagonistic to him than anybody else. As the film draws to a close, it’s shown that the two have turned into a sarcastic duo. It’s really good character development as well a really subtle way of addressing an issue that needs it without resorting to being blatantly obvious and in the audience’s face.

5 stars for Die Hard with a Vengeance

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)