Directed by Renny Harlin, the 1990 sequel, Die Hard 2 (unofficially referred to as Die Harder), doesn't match the level of the original, but it's still an exciting thrill ride with some terrific action sequences. One year ... more »after the Nakatomi incident, McClane (Bruce Willis) is awaiting his wife's (Bonnie Bedelia) plane to arrive at Dulles Airport when he stumbles onto a plot to paralyze the entire airport, including all the planes trying to land. It's up to McClane to take on the cadre of bad guys despite all the bureaucrats standing in his way, and before the planes run out of fuel and crash to the ground. The cast includes William Sadler as rogue military man Col. Stuart, Dennis Franz as the latest bureaucratic cop to get in McClane's way, Richard Thornburg as the annoying reporter from the original movie, John Amos as a special-forces commander, early-in-their-career John Leguizamo and Robert Patrick as terrorists, and future politician and Law and Order actor Fred Thompson as the head of air traffic control. --David Horiuchi« less
Once again John McClane deals with terrorists at Christmas time; once again McClane is forced to crawl through ventilation shafts muttering to himself; once again McClane climbs up and out of elevators; once again no one's going to take the threat seriously but McClane. And once again, McClane gets to drop everyone's favorite line: "Yippi ki-yay, motherf----r."
To make things worse, the film itself, adapted from the novel "58 Minutes" by Walter Wager, is unrealistic nearly to the point of ridiculousness. McClane dodges bullets and chases villains on snowmobiles like Roger Moore's James Bond. What made McClane so appealing in the original film was the fact that he was an everyman, not the unbeatable hero he would seem in "Die Hard 2," were he not saved by a down-to-earth performance from Willis. There are points at which scoffing is inevitable. That's not helped by William Sadler's villain, who pales in comparison with Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber. There's plenty of: -cussing -shooting -Explosions, and -action In other words a typical Die Hard movie
"Die Hard 2" isn't bad, though. Viewed as a standalone film, it's actually quite good, and considering the stature of its predecessor, it's a decent sequel, too. It recalls "Die Hard" enough to get by, but what really keeps the film afloat is Harlin's cold, sharp style, which adds just the visual flair the film needs to entertain. On the topic of visuals, there are two truly stellar shots in this film. The first is a frightening plane crash, the one time John McClane doesn't succeed (though of course what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger). The second is a shot of McClane, strapped to an ejector seat, shooting up into the sky toward the camera as a jet blows up below him, cursing and then falling to the ground.
Though it's not the action spectacle that was McTiernan's classic, "Die Hard 2" is a decent film, guaranteed to liven up a dull night. It has enough of the original to satisfy, enough brainless action to entertain, and the kind of clever directing that makes that brainless action seem worth something.
Recommended for fans of Bruce Willis and Die Hard fans
Gunner January, 2008
NOT AS GOOD AS THE FIRST, BUT A WORTHY SEQUEL!
! MR. KNOW IT ALL ;-b | TRI STATE AREA | 08/11/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I did not remember the story in Die Hard 2 as well as the original. This made seeing it again a treat, because I did not know what was going to happen. Some complain that it is a "been there, done that" Movie, but I didn't see it that way at all. This is a very good action film! Willis is great as the wisecracking cop who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. The action never stops and the plot twist did surprise me. I have the Ultimate collection and I think that is the way to go if you are into the Die Hard films. Each film comes with great transfers and plenty of extras of two disc sets for each! I found the set for peanuts. Under $15.00 for a 6 disc set isn't bad."
How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?
trebe | 06/26/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The makers of Die Hard 2, hoped to surpass the success of the original Die Hard. While the second film may feature action on a larger scale, the plot does not draw the audience into the story in the same way the first Die Hard did. Director and action movie specialist, Renny Harlin, is only partially successful at creating and sustaining a high level of suspense and excitement, working with a script that could have been stood a bit more polish. Once again police officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) gets into some heavy-duty action on Christmas Eve. This time it's at Dulles Airport, in Washington, where terrorists have taken control and seek the release of a foreign general. McClane is suddenly in the middle of the action, seeking to foil the plot and also save his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), who is a passenger on a circling plane, in danger of running out of fuel. Die Hard 2, is a very different film from Die Hard. Some of the elements most critical to the success of the first film, are not present. The first time around, action was confined to a limited area, a few floors in the Nakatomi Plaza. The danger to McClane's wife was more immediate and real, reinforced by the menacing presence of supercrook Hans Gruber, played with style by Alan Rickman. There was real antagonism between McClane and Gruber, which propelled the movie. In Die Hard 2, the action is spread over a much wider stage, with many more players. McClane, though still a one-man army, never establishes a relationship with one principal "baddie". Colonel Stuart (William Sadler), the wild-eyed leader of the mercenaries is rather robotic, and lacks any special charisma. McClane and wife Holly, are pretty much out of touch throughout the critical phases of the movie. And if not for the "coincidental" presence of news reporter Dick Thornburg (William Atherton) from the first film, Holly would have almost nothing to do. A logical plot, is secondary to the action. If not, then the "same thing" wouldn't happen to the "same guy".Die Hard 2 - Die Harder, is a good action film, that takes a different approach from its predecessor. There is no shortage of action, but the "intimacy" that characterized the first film is absent. Bigger? Yes. Better? Perhaps not. The Special Edition DVD features director Renny Harlin's detailed and revealing commentary. As usual, he is very informative, insightful, and frank, in discussing the production of the film. Harlin's commentaries are among the best, for their honesty. You also get a second disc with a couple of documentaries, deleted scenes, interview with Harlin, and other special features."
Better than the first film
jakelamotta | PHELAN, CA United States | 05/26/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you ask me I think that "Die Hard 2" is vastly superior to the first film, the main reason being it has more action, the first film had a few shootouts and that was it. While the first film had a much stronger story than this film, this film is better directed than the first one."
An Underrated Triumph
C. Chow | Leesburg VA | 05/15/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
`Die Hard 2' is NOT a guilty pleasure but story telling and film making at its very best. I will valiantly defend it as one of the greatest action/terrorist films ever made. It is extremely effective at invoking fear and emotion.
The Plot: For those of you who haven't seen the film, it is a sequel to Bruce Willis' groundbreaking star making film `Die Hard'. Again, away from his home environment LA cop John McClane innocently travels to Washington DC's Dulles Airport (not located in DC but Ashburn VA) to pick up his wife (Bonnie Badelia) again on Christmas. McClane finds himself in the center of WWIII when terrorists seize the entire airport threatening crash every plane unless a South American tyrant is set free. Hindered by incompetent and arrogant police chief Dennis Franz it is up to McClane to literally single handedly stop an army of better armed and better trained terrorists.
Comic relief is heavy from Willis' one liners and Badelia who finds herself stuck on an airplane with William Atherton, the same sleazy reporter she punched out in `Die Hard.'
The film credits a pulp novel by Walter H. Wager `58 Minutes.' Although they have a similar premise they two stories are very different and I do not recommend '58 Minutes' as a book.
What sets `Die Hard 2' apart from other action films are many effective and unique elements.
1. By far the best aspect of the film are the villains headed by William Sadler. While lacking any charisma their lack of emotion I their strong suite they are true soldiers who will sacrifice innocent lives and their own without conscious to complete their mission. They are pure evil, thus we hate them even more.
2. The terrorists are smarter, better armed and better prepared than Willis much like the original `Die Hard'. The terrorists are American x-special forces who look cool in army boots, leather jackets and sporting the latest weapons, Glock pistols and MP5 submachine guns. Our hero is the underdog thus the bigger they come the harder they fall. We admire our hero's accomplishments more because they are so difficult.
3. The terrorists actually commit an act of terrorism. Unlike most films in which the terrorists merely threaten innocent lives, here they actually take them. One of the film's most dramatic scenes is when they crash a British airplane killing hundreds of people.
4. Being a terrorist is not enough to be a villain. Their hostages are mere numbers. We start to hate them very early in the film when they try to kill our hero. Someone we care about.
5. High production quality also helps with excellent photography, set design, and editing.
6. The incompetence and interference of the authorities is also effective in making us admire our hero. He's on his own. Everything the police try to do is either bureaucratic or counter productive. Dennis Franz and Senator Fred Thompson are brilliant as comical bureaucrats. They're real jerks.
We are able to truly hate and fear the terrorists. The danger seems very real.
Even minor things in the script are genius. For example, what appears to be side talk in the beginning turns out to be significant later. In the opening a terrorist's nonchalant remark is that the only problem is a last minute change in personal. Later a SWAT member casually mentions he is new and only here because the regular guy got a an appendicitis. Only later do we realize the significance of these and the replacement is killed because he's the only one not in on the plot.