|Die Hard with a Vengeance|
|Directed by||John McTiernan|
|Screenplay by||Jonathan Hensleigh|
|Music by||Michael Kamen|
|Cinematography||Peter Menzies Jr.|
|Edited by||John Wright|
|Distributed by|| 20th Century Fox (North America) |
Buena Vista International (International)
|Box office||$366.1 million|
Die Hard with a Vengeance is a 1995 American action-thriller buddy 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 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 film stars Bruce Willis as NYPD Lieutenant John McClane and Samuel L. Jackson as McClane's reluctant partner Zeus Carver, who team up to stop bomb threats across New York City carried out by "Simon" (Jeremy Irons). It was released on May 19, 1995 to mixed reviews and became the highest-grossing film of the year.
The Bonwit Teller department store in New York City is destroyed by a bomb during the morning commute. The New York Police Department gets a call from "Simon" claiming responsibility. He threatens to detonate another unless suspended police officer John McClane is dropped in Harlem, wearing a sandwich board with a racial slur on it. They comply, and McClane is called in.
Zeus Carver, an electrician with a nearby shop, sees McClane wearing the board. McClane explains he is an officer on a case, but is soon attacked by a group of black men. He and Carver manage to escape in a taxi. At NYPD headquarters, they learn a large quantity of binary liquid explosives, like in the Bonwit explosion, were stolen recently. Now, Simon demands both McClane and Carver follow his instructions.
They have 30 minutes to solve a series of riddles, leading them to the Wall Street subway station to stop a bomb planted on a Brooklyn-bound 3 train. McClane boards it as Carver goes to answer Simon's call. Despite being on time and McClane locating the bomb, it detonates after McClane throws it off the train, derailing the train and damaging the station.
McClane and Carver regroup with the police, meeting FBI agents Bill Jarvis and Andy Cross, who explain that Simon is "Peter Krieg", a former colonel in the East German People's Army and a mercenary-for-hire. However, Krieg's real name is Simon Peter Gruber, the brother of Hans Gruber, who McClane had killed years earlier in Los Angeles.
Simon then calls the police, knowing the FBI is there, telling them about a bomb in a NYC public school with a radio detonator triggered by the use of FBI and police bands. Simon will give McClane and Carver the school location if they continue with his riddles, warning that evacuating any school will lead to detonation. While McClane and Carver do Simon's next task, all NYC's public works are organized to search schools, using 9-1-1 to coordinate. McClane realizes that Simon is using the school bomb to distract the police away from Wall Street. They return there to find that Simon's fake repair crews dug into the Federal Reserve Bank to steal $140 billion of gold bullion in dump trucks. They follow the trucks into an aqueduct in Tunnel No. 3. Carver continues Simon's game while McClane follows the trucks.
Within the tunnel, McClane kills some of Simon's men. A cofferdam is destroyed, flooding the tunnel, but McClane escapes through a vent, popping up near Carver. Surviving a car chase with Simon's men who had followed Carver, they find that each of the drivers had ten quarters. Realising the quarters would pay for a bridge toll, they head to a tanker vessel in Long Island Sound. They sneak aboard, learning that the bullion isn't there, and are captured by Simon and his crew.
Simon confirms the school bomb was a ploy to distract the police, before handcuffing them to the real bomb. He says he will destroy the tanker, redistributing the bullion across the Sound to destroy the world's economies. Before Simon leaves, McClane jokingly asks him for something for his hangover. Simon happens to have a bottle of aspirin, tossing it to McClane. After Simon leaves, Carver frees their hands and they just escape before the bomb sinks the tanker.
As McClane and Carver are debriefed by the police, McClane reports that none of the bullion was on the tanker. He looks at the bottle of aspirin, seeing it came from a truckstop in Quebec on the Canada–U.S. border. McClane, Carver, and the police arrive at a warehouse near the truckstop where Simon and his men are in the process of distributing the bullion and planning their escape. The rest of Simon's men are captured, while Simon and his girlfriend Katya attempt to escape in a helicopter. McClane shoots an overhead power line that falls onto the helicopter, causing it to explode. After celebrating their triumph, Carver convinces McClane to call his estranged wife, Holly.
Additional cast members include Simon's goons: Richard Council as Otto, Mischa Hausserman as Mischa, Phil Theis as Erik, Robert Sedgwick as Rolf, Sven Torvaid as Karl, Timothy Adams as Gunther, Tony Halme as Roman, Greg Skrovic as Kurt, Bill Christ as Ivan, Gerrit Vooren as Nils and Willis Sparks as Klaus. Aldis Hodge and Michael Alexander Jackson appear as Raymond and Dexter respectively, Zeus's nephews caught in the school bomb panic; Hodge would later play a different role in A Good Day to Die Hard .
Like most of the films in the series, the premise of this film was repurposed from a stand-alone project. Various scripts were written for Die Hard 3; a number of them were ultimately rejected by Bruce Willis on the grounds that they felt like retreads of the action movies that came in the wake of the first film.One script, originally titled Troubleshooter, had McClane fighting terrorists on a Caribbean cruise line, but was rejected for being too similar to Under Siege . Troubleshooter was later repurposed for Speed 2: Cruise Control .
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. Disney and Summit Entertainment bought Cinergi's rights in a number of territories, while Fox retained domestic rights. In July 1997, Cinergi sold its 50% stake in the film to Fox for $11.25 million.
While released in 1995, the film notably mentions both major-party candidates in the 2016 US presidential election, 21 years in the future - both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are mentioned in dialogue.
Laurence Fishburne was originally offered the co-starring role of Zeus Carver, a part also written for him, but wanted a higher fee. Producer Andy Vajna held out on the deal. Fishburne had earlier turned down the role of Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction , which was eventually played by Samuel L. Jackson. Fishburne was talked out of playing Jules by his representatives who wanted him to only accept leading parts, otherwise he would be stuck career-wise as a supporting actor. Subsequently, Pulp Fiction premiered at the Cannes Film Festival during the same time as Fishburne's pay negotiations. Vajna also attended the event to support Willis who was appearing in the Quentin Tarantino film. Tarantino recalled that Vajna was so impressed by Jackson's performance that he offered him the part of Carver instead. Fishburne later filed a lawsuit against Vajna's company Cinergi for reneging on a verbal agreement.The lawsuit took two years and Fishburne received a settlement.
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. 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; but he is still tracked down to his foreign hideaway. 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.
According to the DVD audio commentary, a second alternative ending had McClane and Carver floating back to shore on a makeshift raft after the explosion at sea. Carver says it is a shame the bad guys are going to get away; McClane tells him not to be so sure. The scene then shifts to the plane where the terrorists find the briefcase bomb they left in the park and which Carver gave back to them (in this version it was not used to blow up the dam). The film would end on a darkly comic note as Simon asks if anyone has a four-gallon jug. This draft of the script was rejected early on - possibly due to the similarity of the ending to Die Hard 2, where all the villains board a plane that later explodes - so it was never actually filmed. The rocket-launcher sequence was the only alternative ending to be filmed.
Die Hard with a Vengeance opened in the United States on May 19, 1995 and earned $22,162,245 in its opening weekend.The film earned $100,012,499 in North America, while it earned $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.
Die Hard with a Vengeance was released on VHS on December 19, 1995,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.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59% based on 73 reviews, with an average rating of 6.10/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Die Hard With a Vengeance gets off to a fast start and benefits from Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson's barbed interplay, but clatters to a bombastic finish in a vain effort to cover for an overall lack of fresh ideas."On Metacritic, the film has a score of 58 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.
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." '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".Entertainment Weekly
Empire magazine's Ian Nathan applauded the film with 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."In the Crime Time Filmbook, which archives various UK film reviews, the film was given a 5/5 star review citing it as "...simply the best Action film of the decade, leaving imitators like Bad Boys , Executive Decision , The Rock and Chain Reaction in varying depths of shadow.
Empire considered it to be one of the 50 greatest film sequels in 2009.Ben Sherlock of Screen Rant regarded as the best sequel of the franchise.
Michael Kamen returned to score the third film, again incorporating other material into his score (most notably "When Johnny Comes Marching Home", not included on the soundtrack album), but excerpts from his score for Die Hard and Die Hard 2 were tracked into the new film. The soundtrack was released by RCA Victor.
In 2012, La-La Land Records released a limited edition two-disc soundtrack containing the Kamen score.
All tracks composed by Michael Kamen except where noted.
A novelization by Deborah Chiel was first published on May 28, 1995. The novel is written in third person omniscient and has a somewhat darker tone in comparison to the final film.
The novel provides a deeper exploration into McClane's psyche and shows how angry and broken he has become since leaving Holly and becoming an alcoholic. McClane's introduction is also different. In the film, McClane is first seen in the police van to Harlem while being briefed on what is going on. The novel includes a scene before this where Connie and Joe find McClane in his messy apartment.
Simon's henchwoman Katya appears much later into the story than she does in the film. She is not involved in the Federal Reserve robbery and instead appears just before Simon and Targo take off in one of the dump trucks. Like the final film, she ends up killing Targo for Simon.
The original placement of the "Yippee-Ki-Yay" line is included. Instead of being used at the end, McClane uses the line when talking to Simon over the radios while in the aqueducts. This was meant to be in the same vein as the original use of the line in the first movie.
Zeus' original backstory is presented in the novel, explaining why he is looking after his nephews and why he hates white people. During the car chase, Zeus explains that his brother was killed during a drug raid. When McClane suggests that it was his brother's own fault, Zeus explains that his brother was never involved in drugs and the only reason he was there was to bring Zeus home.
The novel also uses the "McClane Says" ending rather than the film's version of the finale.
Walter Bruce Willis is an American actor and film producer. Born in Germany to a German mother and American father, Willis moved to the U.S. with his family when he was two years old. His career began on the off-Broadway stage in the 1970s. He achieved fame with a leading role on the comedy-drama series Moonlighting (1985–1989) and has since appeared in over 70 films, gaining widespread recognition as an action hero after his portrayal of John McClane in the Die Hard franchise (1988–2013) and other subsequent roles.
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Jeb Stuart and Steven E. de Souza. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, and it stars Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Alexander Godunov, and Bonnie Bedelia. Die Hard follows New York City police detective John McClane (Willis) who is caught up in a terrorist takeover of a Los Angeles skyscraper while visiting his estranged wife. Reginald VelJohnson, William Atherton, Paul Gleason, and Hart Bochner feature in supporting roles.
Die Hard 2 is a 1990 American action-thriller film and the second installment in the Die Hard film series. The film was released on June 29, 1990 in the United States. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, written by Steven E. de Souza and Doug Richardson and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane. The film co-stars Bonnie Bedelia, William Sadler, Art Evans, William Atherton, Franco Nero, Dennis Franz, Fred Thompson, John Amos and Reginald VelJohnson.
John Campbell McTiernan Jr. is an American filmmaker. He is best known for his action films, especially Predator (1987), Die Hard (1988), and The Hunt for Red October (1990). His later well-known films include the action-comedy-fantasy film Last Action Hero (1993), the action film sequel Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), the heist-film remake The Thomas Crown Affair (1999), and The 13th Warrior (1999). His last completed feature film was the mystery-thriller Basic, released in 2003.
Andrew G. Vajna was a Hungarian-American film producer.
The Saint is a 1997 American espionage thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Jonathan Hensleigh and Wesley Strick, and starring Val Kilmer in the title role, with Elisabeth Shue and Rade Šerbedžija. The plot of the films revolves around the title character who is a high tech thief and master of disguise who becomes the anti-hero while using the moniker of various saints. He paradoxically lives in the underworld of international industrial theft and espionage. The film was a financial success with a worldwide box office of $169.4 million, rentals of $28.2 million, and continuous DVD sales.
Live Free or Die Hard is a 2007 American action-thriller film and the fourth installment in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by Len Wiseman and starred Bruce Willis as John McClane. The film's name was adapted from New Hampshire's state motto, "Live Free or Die". In the film, McClane attempts to stop cyber-terrorists who hack into government and commercial computers across the United States with the goal of starting a "fire sale" that would disable key elements of the nation's infrastructure. The film was based on the 1997 article "A Farewell to Arms" written for Wired magazine by John Carlin.
Die Hard: Vendetta is a first-person shooter video game developed by Bits Studios for the GameCube in North America and Europe, and also for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox in Europe. The game was published by 2 subsidiaries of Vivendi Universal Games: NDA Productions in Europe and Sierra Entertainment in the United States.
John McClane is a fictional character and main protagonist of the Die Hard film series, based on Roderick Thorp's action novel Nothing Lasts Forever. McClane was portrayed in all five films by actor Bruce Willis, and is known for his sardonic one-liners, including the famous catchphrase "Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker".
Jonathan Blair Hensleigh is an American screenwriter and film director, working primarily in the action-adventure genre, best known for writing films such as Jumanji, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Armageddon, as well as making his own directorial debut with the 2004 comic book action film The Punisher.
Nothing Lasts Forever is a 1979 action thriller novel by American author Roderick Thorp, a sequel to his 1966 novel The Detective. The novel is mostly known through its 1988 film adaptation Die Hard, starring Bruce Willis. In 2012, the book was brought back into print and released as an ebook for the 25th anniversary of the film.
Cinergi Pictures Entertainment Inc. was an independent production company that was founded by Andrew G. Vajna, after he had sold his interest in his first production company, Carolco International Pictures, in 1989. The company had a number of major hit films, most notably Tombstone, Die Hard with a Vengeance and Evita. However, the majority of their films lost money. A string of box office bombs – including Renaissance Man, Color of Night, Judge Dredd, The Scarlet Letter, Nixon, Shadow Conspiracy, Deep Rising and An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn – ultimately undid the company, and it was dissolved in 1998. Cinergi Pictures' library is now owned by Disney.
Die Hard is an American action film series that originated with Roderick Thorp's novel Nothing Lasts Forever. All five films revolve around the main character of John McClane, a New York City/Los Angeles police detective who continually finds himself in the middle of a crisis where he is the only hope against disaster. The films have grossed a combined $1.4 billion worldwide.
A Good Day to Die Hard is a 2013 American action-thriller film and the fifth installment in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by John Moore and written by Skip Woods, and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane. The main plot finds McClane travelling to Russia to get his estranged son, Jack, an undercover CIA agent, out of prison. He is soon caught in the crossfire of a global terrorist plot. Alongside Willis, the film also stars Jai Courtney, Cole Hauser, Yulia Snigir and Sebastian Koch.
Carver is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Patrick Poivey was a French actor. He was primarily known for being a voice actor, having dubbed Bruce Willis's films and series from 1987 until his death.
Die Hard: Year One is an eight-issue comic book limited series which serves as prequel to the film Die Hard and was published by Boom! Studios and written by Howard Chaykin. There were 8 comic issues produced in the series between September 2009 and April 2010. Its story is set in 1976 and follows John McClane as a rookie cop in the NYPD.
Hans Gruber is a fictional character and the main antagonist of the 1988 action film Die Hard portrayed by Alan Rickman.
Sergeant Al Powell is a fictional character from the 1988 action film Die Hard, portrayed by Reginald VelJohnson. Powell is an off-duty police officer who gets called into work to investigate a potential hostage situation at Nakatomi Plaza. Powell then becomes a central character in the conflict, and a source of moral support for protagonist John McClane.
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