And finally we get around to number three in the franchise. Obviously, by this stage (some years after the first two), Bonnie Bedelia had decided she no longer wanted to reprise the role of McClane’s wife, and so she’s nowhere to be seen in this movie. We only hear that he’s apparently having difficulties with his marriage and she’s in LA.
Which is a pity, because it means that McClane’s now borderline alcoholic, world-weary detective has no real emotional reason to drive him through the events of this film. It just becomes purely about the chase.
Perhaps for that reason, the scriptwriters threw in Samuel L. Jackson’s character – who livens things up by constantly seeing a racist under every bush, and haranguing one and all with his sharp tongue throughout the entire picture.
But characters aside, how was the movie? As far as the action goes, it stands up pretty well. Considering that 30 seconds into the movie, a building blows up, there’s no real mucking around on the part of John McTiernan (who directed the first film, plus Predator, if you’re really into your trivia). And certainly Jeremy Irons, as the rather bemused German criminal whose gang has unleashed all this calamity upon New York, has great fun doing all the ultra bad guy stuff.
Action films are a rather personal thing. By the time I got to this third film, I was finding that variations on driving fast, blowing things up, death-defying leaps from great heights, ducking bullets, etc. was getting a bit tired. Some people never get tired of these things and could happily lap up every single one of this genre that comes out at the cinemas. I can put up with it about once a year. But I’ve now seen three of these films in the six months . . . so I’m kind of overdosing here.
I’ll give it 3 1/2 as well, but with a preference still being for the second film.