Die Hard 2 Movie Review

Die Hard had it all: a sympathetic hero, a wonderfully serpentine villain, kick-ass fight scenes and shootouts (which are really hard to make entertaining, in the glut of routine action flicks that overflow our video racks), an enjoyably quirky supporting cast of character actors, and dialogue you could really sink your teeth into. ("I wanted this to be professional. Efficient, adroit, cooperative, not a lot to ask. Alas, your Mr. Takagi did not see it that way, so he won't be joining us for the rest of his life.") This flick was so pervasive, we had to endure a slew of rip-offs: Die Hard at sea, Die Hard on an ocean liner, Die Hard in a friggin' library! OK, so they never did one in a library, but that would be pretty funny, wouldn't it? [Indeed they did do it in a library: Masterminds. -Ed.]

What a pity that Die Hard 2: Die Harder (based on the novel 58 Minutes) falls into the trap of being just another Die Hard in Washington's Dulles Airport. I mean, it's kinda funny that John McClane (Bruce Willis, having a good ol' time) acknowledges his pathetic luck. Not this shit again! He's waiting for his wife's plane to land when terrorists seize control of the airport, crashing a plane just to prove that they'll stop at nothing. Yes, they will stop at nothing! Insert an evil laugh here, and throw in a moustache twirl, why dontcha?

Bruce Willis is not to blame. There are plenty of other movies he destroyed with his monstrous ego, but I've always been fond of his blue collar cop that takes a licking but keeps on ticking. The biggest problem is the lack of any memorable bad guys. William Sadler plays a sneaky Oliver North buckaroo presiding over a team of faceless assassins, and Franco Nero is the South American dictator they're gonna extradite (or something.) They lack the personality of Alan Rickman's sinister and silky Hans Gruber, who did not so much speak his lines as purrrrr them. They also lack the balletic grace of Alexander Godunov as Rickman's trusty, ferocious kickboxing psycho-killer right-hand-man. Come to think of it, they're lacking in almost every way. Were they even in the movie?

No matter. A good action scene could make it all palatable. Ha! Too much to ask. A lot of people get shot and many punches are thrown, but there are zero memorable setpieces. OK, so we all remember the scene where Willis takes flight in the exploding chair, but it wasn't a particularly effective special effect. It calls attention to itself too much. LOOK AT ME! I much preferred Willis hanging from the skyscraper hanging on to a fire hose for dear life -- now that was a scene. (Not in this movie, though! Director Renny Harlin is nothing but a well paid hack.) I was so bored throughout Die Hard 2, I started evaluating the squib shots: Yes, that one looked realistic. Hmm, that one was extra-bloody. Wow -- the blood looks just like ketchup in this scene.

Many of the original Die Hard cast members are back for round two, though none of them are particularly well used. Bonnie Bedelia frets and pouts as Mrs. McClane, William Atherton has entirely too much screen time as obnoxious reporter Dick Thornburg, and Reginald VelJohnson is given a pointless cameo as donut muchin' Detective Al Powell. New faces fare better, including NYPD Blue regular Dennis Franz as, what else, an obnoxious cop, and John Amos as a soft-spoken major (sent in to help John McClane) who may have an ace up his sleeve.

There is exactly one good scene in Die Hard 2. (OK, there's some adequate stuff, but really only one bona fide good moment.) Poor John McClane is forced to climb through another ventilation system. Poor bastard. At least he's in on the joke. "Just once, I'd like a regular, normal Christmas. A little eggnog, a fuckin' Christmas tree, a little turkey. But, no! I gotta crawl around in this motherfuckin' tin can!"

Followed by Die Hard: With a Vengeance.


Die Hard 2 Rating

" Grim "

Rating: R, 1990


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