Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, William Sadler, Dennis Franz
Synopsis: Two years after the release of the original film, John McClane returns to, well, basically do exactly the same thing he did in the first film!!
A review by Film Nerd
I have decided to continue through with my reviews of the Die Hard franchise, so doing this in order, I hear comment on the first sequel, and perhaps the entry in the franchise that is the least spectacular. Yes, there is great action and great character moments, but there is really nothing to set it apart from the original film. You could feasibly just replace wherever it says high-rise building in the original with the word airport, and that is Die Hard 2.
This does not mean that it is a bad film, it just often feels repetitive, and we have seen it all before. Another terrorist, another christmas, McClane’s wife is in trouble, McClane himself becomes a one man army because the authorities are incompetent and will do nothing. At least the film does comment itself on how unlikely this scenario is, McClane quipping “How can the same thing happen to the same guy twice?” But the quipping is also the problem. It made him that little bit different from the action heroes at the time in the original, his running commentary bringing levity to proceedings. In DH2, however, the jokes often feel forced, and even worse, it is clearly at times overdubbed, almost criminally so when McClane’s voice is not muffled by the parachute he is buried in.
One doesn’t watch these films though to pick apart plot, they are watched purely for action. On this front, the film delivers, with punch ups, explosions, and McClane progressively getting bloodier, dirtier, and sweatier throughout. For a sit back and watch it is great, and those who have not seen the original perhaps will not have the gripes with the film that I mentioned above. But the other main problem is that the lead villain cannot match Alan Rickman’s charisma in the original, and none of the supporting players are quite as memorable as those in the first outing either.
Yes it is a good film, that suffers by comparison. It was an intelligent decision by the producers to get original director John McTiernan in to direct the next chapter.
3 stars (out of a possible 5)
Die Hard 2 on IMDB
Die Hard 2 on Rotten Tomatoes