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Empire's 50 Greatest Movie Sequels | The follow-ups that achieve greatness in their own right

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Die Hard With A Vengeance
DIRECTED BY JOHN MCTIERNAN
RELEASED: 1995

Why's it so good? Renny Harlin's efficient Die Harder was an enjoyable, larger-scale retread of the first movie. Die Hard With A Vengeance, though, saw original director John McTiernan come back and open out the claustrophobic, single-location franchise to a much bigger playground: New York City. Adding an antagonistic Samuel L. Jackson for Bruce Willis - whose John McClane is a slobbish wreck here, as opposed to the flawless superman of the first sequel - to bounce off pays dividends, while Jeremy Irons, having enormous fun with an outrageous accent, makes the hokey plot device of a vengeful long-lost brother actually work.

Die Hard With A Vengeance Die Hard With A Vengeance
How does it stack up to the original? The original is the greatest action movie of all time, so this can't beat it. But Vengeance is an enormously confident movie that balances ludicrous set pieces (McClane escaping from a tidal wave in the New York sewers) with first-class banter between its two stars.

Glaring error: The climax, reshot to replace an explosive finale that Fox bosses thought might draw unfavourable reaction in the wake of the Oklahoma bombing, doesn't really work.


GAP BETWEEN SEQUEL AND ORIGINAL: 82 MONTHS


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