Yippe ki-yay, motherfucker.
There are several movies I was convinced were well-received whose Rotten Tomatoes score I checked just to be sure — Children of Men, Clueless, Black Dynamite, etc — but none shocked me until I saw the critics’ scores for Die Hard: With A Vengeance.
Fifty-one percent?? For arguably the greatest Die Hard / Bruce Willis action movie of all-time? INSANITY.
“…just the familiar escalation of car chases and big bangs?” Your mom’s just the familiar escalation of car chases and big bangs, bro. This is Die Hard: With A Vengeance we’re talking about. It wrote the BOOK on how to do R-rated multi-racial buddy action. Bruce Willis / Samuel L. Jackson versus Simon Gruber? A 51%? Not on my watch.
Here’s why the third Die Hard is supremely underrated:
10. What tha FUH!?
I work for a website whose comment section is populated by keyboard tough guys and internet racists — gotta give the people what they want.
Specifically for me this early scene is forever the “WHAT DA FUH” scene, as one of the Gang Members 1-7–
–yelled “fuck” in a way that I’ve tried to copy for decades. What tha FUH!? The pitch and sincerity cannot be duplicated.
Funny thing is nowadays walking around Harlem with an “I Hate Niggers” sign would probably just get Bruce Willis Instagrammed by broke uptown hipsters and an evil eye from a group of fat Spanish chicks.
9. Simon Gruber
Evil German militia leader with a penchant for riddles and a plot to simultaneously avenge his brother and steal all of New York’s gold? That’s how action movies are supposed to be written, folks.
Oh, and in case you like me were never able to figure out the water jug riddle:
“Fill up the 3,pour into the 5. Fill up the 3 again and pour into the 5 until full leaving 1 in the 3, pour out all the 5.Pour the 1 from the 3 into the 5. fill up the 3 again and pour into the 5 giving you 4.”
8. This Shot Of Bloody Sam Jackson & Bloody Bruce Willis Running With A Twin Tower Backdrop
7. John McClane’s Ill Wheel Work
“Stop all that goddamned yellin I know what I’m doin’.” – JM
Somehow he’s a better driver than the driver from Drive. Doesn’t make sense, but dammit if it doesn’t make the movie that much better. “How are we gonna get that many blocks south in this traffic?” Through the park, dummy. Perfect combination of impossible 90′s action movie magic, Bruce Willis badassery, and Sam Jackson screams.
6.YOLO Guard Gets Sliced Like A Pig
Tried to upload a video of the whole scene but FOX seems pretty protective of their movies and took them down immediately. Gotta give this guard credit for going for broke. Loaded up all the shells and tore into that wall plaster like Rambo. Really a shame the bosses lady was creeping behind him with a fucking SICKLE ready to open all his jugular veins and stab him all about the stomach and back.
5. “$140 Billion, ten times what’s in Kentucky. Fort Knox — HA — is for tourists!”
Basically robbing Ft. Knox is for pussies and Simon Gruber and his small militia are about to have enough money to buy countries / armies / their way onto a map. All while the NYPD are out looking for a giant fake bomb in a school.
“It’s Christmas you could rob City Haawwwl!”
4. Oh Shit It’s Mixing
3. The “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” Theme
Great movies need great and memorable movie soundtracks. The song most of us know as “The Ants Go Marching” is actually a Civil War song, and composer Michael Kamen earned his paycheck by bringing us this version. The soundtrack also features Fu-Schnickens so any argument against is invalid.
2. McBain McClane Does What He Does Best
It’s a fucking Die Hard movie. If in the end Bruce Willis isn’t covered in scars and blood and victorious then it’s an abject failure.
1. Sam Jackson As Zeus Carver
“Why you keep callin’ me Jesus I look Puerto Rican to you?”
He is without question the best part of this movie. Even better in Italian. The other Die Hards are great and everything, but this was the perfect Samuel L. Jackson role and the one that snowballed his career of loudness/cursing/being in every movie afterwards. Sure Pulp Fiction was a year ahead of this, but it took a major blockbuster like the Die Hard franchise to prove to producers that Sam could carry over that success.
His blatant racism, confusion, and furrrious anger are the perfect counter to McClane and take the movie from “decent 90′s action movie” to “Hall Of Fame on-screen buddy cop duo”.
There are so many excellent scenes in this movie from freaky German post-murder sex to absurd jumps onto ships from bridges to Zeus’ nephews being too stupid to evacuate a school when policemen tell them to. So much action and suspense and yelling and blood. Certified American action classic however you slice it. Yippe ki-yay, motherfucker.