Film Reviews

Bang for your buck

Page 3 of 3

As Simon, Jeremy Irons is utterly wasted in a brief, sketchy role that should've called on his considerable powers of arch Euro-nastiness. Irons was scarier as the voice of the fratricidal Scar in Disney's Lion King, than as this erudite terrorist who holds thousands of innocent lives in his hands.

It doesn't help that the filmmakers declaw Simon early in the movie by painting him as an object of ridicule rather than fear. He has a foreign accent, he's educated, he stutters when he becomes anxious, and he's not nearly as butch as our smart-ass heroes. Thus, Willis and Jackson are given a series of audience-pleasing one-liners to taunt Irons about his masculinity--in the space of less than 10 minutes, he's referred to as "a cross-dresser," a "well-laid ass," and a psycho who wants to "dress up and fuck" Willis.

Which brings us to the most expendable character in Die Hard With a Vengeance--the one played by Bruce Willis. While I've often enjoyed Willis' character turns, he's got to be one of the most annoying, least intuitive action heroes ever to strut across a blast site. Willis appears to have perfected his tough-guy acting technique for With a Vengeance by wearing an athletic supporter a few sizes too small--he smirks, he grimaces, he squints, but never does he relay to us the gravity of the situations he must confront.

When all is said and done, Die Hard With a Vengeance--by offering nonstop cataclysm and a script that blatantly targets a junior high school mentality--may best the superior Crimson Tide in the summer box office race.

Crimson Tide. Hollywood Pictures. Denzel Washington, Gene Hackman, George Dzundza. Written by Robert Schiffer, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Towne. Directed by Tony Scott. Now showing.

Die Hard With a Vengeance. 20th Century Fox. Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Irons. Written by Jonathan Hensleigh. Directed by John McTiernan. Opens May 19.

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Jimmy Fowler