A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Die Hard with a Vengeance includes constant violent episodes and a series of threats of violence. (This installment in the Die Hard franchise does, however, have less hand-to-hand combat and individual violence. Instead, it includes larger explosions that target an increased number of innocent citizens.) Both good guys and bad guys use vulgar language and physical violence to get their points across. McClane drives recklessly when in pursuit of the villains. Parents may seriously want to consider the effects of watching this film in post-9/11 America. The bad guys blow up city blocks, plant bombs in parks, and target the subway system. It may be a little too close to real life for comfort. In addition, as with all of the Die Hard films, the protagonist John seeks justice through his own means (and contrary to rules of law).
- Parents say
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What's the story?
It's round three for John McClane (Bruce Willis). His wife has left him. He has been suspended from the NYPD. Nonetheless, trouble finds him. A mysterious man calling himself Simon (Jeremy Irons) wants to make McClane pay for his past sins. (If you've seen Die Hard, you'll understand why.) He must either jump through Simon's hoops or risk a series of explosions around the city. McCane must find Simon and save the city, but this time he has a partner. Zeus (Samuel L. Jackson), a Harlem shopkeeper with less than friendly feelings toward white society, finds himself paired with John's wing nut style of justice. Will they find Simon before he says "boom?"
Is it any good?
One might consider Die Hard with a Vengeance a kinder and gentler Die Hard. Straying from its traditional shoot 'em up scenarios, this film balances action with ruminations on race relations and an individual's responsibility to the greater good. (And is the first time McClane isn't trying to save his wife.) The presence of a buddy also allows for the "real" John McClane to come through in dialogue. There are some excellent explosions, yet the third installment lacks the excitement of the first two films.
Parents may seriously want to consider the effects of watching this film in post-9/11 America. The villains blow up city blocks, plant bombs in parks, and target the subway system. It may be a little too close to real life for comfort. Families that have experienced the lost of love ones in such attacks might find the movie traumatizing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about issues regarding race and public knowledge. What drives Zeus's feelings regarding race? How do his actions adhere to or deviate from the opinions he expresses early on? How can individuals work though such feelings?
What is the point of all the violence in this movie? Is it used to illustrate a point, or for entertainment? What affect does watching a lot of violence have on kids, teens, and adults?
During the film, the police know of a threat on a public school. They withhold this information in an attempt to avoid a citywide panic. Should the police have shared this kind of information with the public or keep it a secret in to attempt to maintain public safety?
- In theaters: May 18, 1995
- On DVD or streaming: March 9, 1999
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Jeremy Irons, Samuel L. Jackson
- Director: John McTiernan
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 131 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence and pervasive strong language
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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