See Bruce Willis In The Wild Die Hard With A Vengeance Alternate Ending

In the alternate Die Hard with a Vengeance ending, Bruce Willis plays an unhinged John McClane.

By Sean Thiessen | Published

Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis in Die Hard with a Vengeance

John McClane is everyone’s favorite everyman action hero, but the iconic Bruce Willis character nearly got a much darker treatment in the alternate ending of the third film in the Die Hard franchise, Die Hard With a Vengeance. The clip sees McClane playing sadistic games with the film’s villain, a wild departure from McClane’s good cop persona.

Bruce Willis returns as John McClane in Die Hard With a Vengeance to battle Simon, a ruthless master thief played by Jeremy Irons. Simon plots to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in New York City, where John McClane lives and works for the NYPD.

But Simon wants more than money. He is revealed to be the brother of Hans Gruber, the villain McClane took down in the first Die Hard. Simon wants revenge on McClane, and what ensues is a torturous pursuit that brings John McClane to the edge.

At the climax of the film, Simon flies away with his money in a helicopter. In classic Bruce Willis action hero fashion, John McClane tries to distract Simon, who has the cop between the sights of a rifle. McClane shoots a cable that swings down and tangles in the helicopter’s blades. As Simon careens toward death, McClane references the first Die Hard with a stone cold one-liner: “Say hello to your brother.”

It is a classic Die Hard ending. After exhausting his by-the-book options, John McClane uses wit and grit to pull the rug out from under a bad guy who believes he has won.

The alternate ending offers a longer, quieter, and much more tense sequence. In it, Simon escapes New York. The story picks up with Simon relaxing with a drink, safe, sound, and smug. He is interrupted by the unmistakable voice of Bruce Willis, who waltzes in to turn Die Hard With a Vengeance on its head.

Jeremy Irons as Simon Gruber in Die Hard with a Vengeance

The pair banter like old friends – classic good guys/bad guy stuff. Then Simon tries to make a phone call to one of his guards, but he rings the phone in McClane’s hand; McClane took out all the guards to be here.

Now the power dynamic shifts. Bruce Willis delivers a chilling performance as he revels in making Simon sweat, a move typically reserved for Die Hard villains. He pulls out a Chinese rocket launcher with its sights stripped; neither man can tell which side the rocket will fire from when the trigger is pulled.

McClane places the rocket launcher between them and tells Simon to orient it however he chooses. McClane rattles off a series of riddles, and when Simon answers one incorrectly, he has to pull the trigger. Simon chooses wrong and blows himself away, and Bruce Willis walks out of Die Hard With a Vengeance as a psychologically snapped, cold-blooded murderer.

The alternate ending is kind of awesome. It is tense, witty, and engrossing. The scene was cut because it flew in the face of who John McClane had been for three movies: an everyman good guy.

Bruce Willis and the Die Hard franchise was an answer to the action heroes of the era who delighted in killing the bad guys. John McClane was not born to kick ass, he does it out of necessity. In order to preserve the integrity of McClane, the tense standoff at the end of Die Hard With a Vengeance was cut.

The original ending is better for the movie, but the alternate ending is worth a watch, as it offers a fascinating look at what could have been. If you love Bruce Willis and the Die Hard films, this cut scene will have you saying “Yippee-ki-yay” all over again.