Die Hard 2 (1990)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox Reissue)
Movie Connections:
Die Hard
> Die Hard (1988)
> Die Hard 2 (1990)
> Die Hard: With A Vengeance (1995)
> Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)
Renny Harlin Renny Harlin
Bruce Willis Bruce Willis
Bonnie Bedelia Bonnie Bedelia
William Atherton William Atherton
Reginald VelJohnson Reginald VelJohnson
Franco Nero Franco Nero
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> Holiday: Christmas

7.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres / Traits: Action, Action Thriller, Christmas
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Review by Chad
Added: August 31, 2007
Who said that you can have too much of a good thing? Whoever it was probably never saw Die Hard 2, a film which borrows a few cues from its predecessor, adds in a couple of new twists, and delivers us another helping of Bruce Willis at his best. Is it as good as the first? Nah... but it's still a damned fine film, and it's surprisingly good considering that it's a sequel which was rushed through production and into theaters.

The storyline for this one picks up a year after the Nakatomi situation from the original film, and we soon find out that former New York cop John McClane (Bruce Willis) has transferred to Los Angeles to be with his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). As our feature film kicks into gear, John finds himself in an airport awaiting Holly's arrival, and while there, a group of terrorists led by Col. Stuart (William Sadler) moves in and causes all sorts of havoc. Why? Well, it turns out that a prominent drug lord by the name of Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero) has been captured by the authorities who are also en route to this particular airport with their prisoner in tow, and these terrorists are dead set on setting him free. They plan to do this by shutting down the airport runways until they get what they want, and - as you can imagine - doing this leaves numerous planes without a spot to land. If the terrorists don't get what they want and fast, planes will start dropping out of the sky... including the one that John's wife is on. The airport security, the Washington police, and even the FBI all get involved with the situation, but as always, they're a small step above incompetent in their efforts. Therefore, it's up to Bruce Willis to set things right, kick some ass, and as always, save the lives of countless innocent people.

First, the bad - now, there's really not a whole lot of bad things to be said about this one, so I figured that I should just go ahead and get it out of the way first. My one true complaint about the film is actually one that I probably wouldn't have had if this were entitled anything other than Die Hard 2. You see, when watching the sequel immediately after the original, it quickly becomes obvious that this one just doesn't measure up to the first. The action sequences just aren't as thrilling (with the exception of one or two), Bruce Willis isn't quite as charming as he was the last time around, scenes are rehashed from the first film, and the overall film just feels like a minor step down. You may think that this is a minor gripe, but after seeing how awesome the original was, I went into this expecting more of the same type of material that was either on par with the first film or even better; what I got was more of the same, but it was a small step down in terms of quality.

Now, observant readers may notice that I used a lot of adjectives like "small" and "minor" when describing the quality differences between the two films. This is because it's enough to be noticeable, but this is still a damned fine film that is enjoying as hell. When I said that the action sequences weren't quite as thrilling, I wasn't trying to imply that they were boring or lackluster; they may not have measured up to those found in the original, but they're still highly entertaining and a couple of them are even better than the stuff we saw in the original (the "yippie-kay-yay" moment in this one is actually one of the better moments in the entire series). The same can be said about the pacing of the film and the storyline contained within; it's not as good as the original, but damned if it doesn't come close.

In terms of his actual performance, Bruce Willis is just as good this time around as well; the problem that I mentioned above is really more a result of the character that he was playing rather than the actual man portraying it. You see, it's the same John McClane, and although he did have a few one-liners in the previous film, he wasn't exactly a comedian there. Here, it seems as though he's dropping a one-liner in every other scene, and that really takes away from the tension of the film. I mean, if there was a very good chance that your wife would be dead in the next hour and if you had just got into a massive gunfight with a bunch of terrorists and if you were bleeding profusely from a dozen wounds, would you be cracking jokes every three minutes? I sure wouldn't, and it's distracting when he does it here. Again, this is a minor concern, but it's just one more way that this one fails to live up to the greatness of the first. William Sadler does an admirable job as the main villain, but - I find myself saying this a lot in this review - he's not quite on the same level as Alan Rickman in the previous film. He's a vile man and he does play a damned good villain, but again, he's just a few notches below Rickman.

Overall, it's taken me three paragraphs to tell you that this film is highly enjoyable and will certainly please fans of the original, but it doesn't quite live up to the standards set in John McTiernan's film. However, it's still great by sequel standards and it definitely belongs in any action fan's DVD library. 8/10.
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Ginose #1: Ginose - added 09/01/2007, 03:46 AM
Epic. Not quite the amzing fest that the first was, but still a very solid action film. Worth every second. 8.9/10
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 09/03/2007, 05:32 PM
Watched this again last night for the first time in a while. Not as great as the first and William Sadler and John Amos are not nearly as credible villains as Alan Rickman, but still very entertaining. 8/10.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 11/22/2007, 07:49 PM
I like how you capped the "Just the fax, ma'am, just the fax" scene. Odd choice, but a good one. This isn't as good as the original, obviously, but as far as sequels go, it couldn't get any better than this. 9/10
Edd #4: Edd - added 03/31/2008, 09:54 AM
I actually prefer this over the original. 9/10
Lucid Dreams #5: Lucid Dreams - added 05/30/2010, 10:25 PM
I agree with Ginose that it isn't as amzing as the first, but it's still one of the best action movies in the 90's, so I'll round it up from his 8.9 to a 9. 9/10
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