13 Reasonsdie Hard With Vengeanceis Onlydie Hardyou Need
Twenty years ago, after two blockbuster movies and a five-year wait, the 'Die Hard' franchise roared back into theaters with the explosive ' Die Hard with a Vengeance .'
The movie was released on May 19, 1995, and it was an instant classic, thanks to a smart script, exciting plot, and the absolutely stellar chemistry between Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson . But not only was 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' a great movie, it was also arguably the best of its kind: unstoppable, and untoppable.
Below, we round up the reasons why the third film in the series is the greatest 'Die Hard' that ever was, or ever will be.
- It's got the best opening scene in 'Die Hard' history. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpITBvfUeSU
The insanely catchy strains of the Lovin' Spoonful's 'Summer in the City' makes the perfect backdrop for this steamy, gritty introduction into New York's daily grind -- and you're in full-on bopping-along mode when everything suddenly goes BOOM.
- Let's see that again.
Keeping in mind that DHwaV was filmed before CGI made it possible to create scenes like this without breaking a single window, this moment is utter, terrifying perfection.
- No dumb, punny title.
Amid all the playing-on-words of the latter 'Die Hard' movies ('A Good Day to Die Hard,' 'Live Free or Die Hard,' 'Die Hard 2: Die Harder'), it's nice to see a film in the franchise break from tradition a little bit. ('Should we called it 'Die Hardest'?' 'Nah, that's dumb. Just tack on some badass-sounding words and call it a day.')
- Samuel L. Jackson in these glasses.
Hello there, sir.
- Samuel L. Jackson in general.
Perfect performance is perfect.
- Contemporary race issues get almost as much screen time as the explosions and gunfighting.
The out-in-the-open way that 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' deals with race was unusual at the time, which makes it feel unusually fresh and timely 20 years later.
- Bruce Willis's leading man appeal was at peak grizzle.
He was exactly the right amount of bald, too.
- Jeremy Irons is the ultimate VILF.
That's villain we'd like to... y'know.
- Also, his bad guy shirts are the best.
IT'S A PURPLE SLEEVELESS CROP TOP, YOU GUYS.
- The part where this man calls John McClane 'a toilet bug.'
[Stage whisper] A toilet bug?!
- There's little to no Holly drama.
Much as we love the earlier Die Hards, McClane's constant butthurt over things like his wife having a career (gasp!) or keeping her name (horror!) was getting old by the time this one came out. The fact that this movie found the couple estranged was both realistic and a relief.
- It's the 'Die Hard' for smart people.
How often do you get an action flick where the heroes spend the entire first half of the film solving puzzles to save lives?
- But it's still very, very 'Die Hard.'
In a franchise that distinguishes itself with action that toes the line between 'creative' and 'ridiculous,' 'Die Hard with a Vengeance' stays on brand, in the best way.