DIE HARD 2
(aka DIE HARDER)

(1990)
With Bruce Willis, Bonnie Bedelia, William Atherton, William Sadler, John Amos, Fred Dalton Thomas, Dennis Franz, Reginald VelJohnson, Art Evans
Directed by Renny Harlin
Review by JB

     DIE HARD 2 is a solid if implausible action film that suffers heavily from sequelitis.  It is as if the writers polled audiences of the original DIE HARD on what they liked best, and then shoehorned those elements into the script.  Hey, they liked McLane's wife in jeopardy?  Let's put her on a plane that's running low on fuel! They enjoyed that local cop who helped McClane out?  Let's give him a scene!  That annoying TV reporter - he'll be on the plane with McClane's wife!  And let's make it all happen on Christmas Eve again!

    Another symptom of sequelitis is the tendency to go for "bigger and better".  So, in DIE HARD 2, Willis's cop John McClane becomes James Bond, ejecting himself from planes, battling bad guys on airplane wings and riding around on snowmobiles. The story itself, about a group of military men hijacking Dulles Airport in order to free an extradited dictator, is illogical enough, and is given enough extra layers of Ian Fleming touches to make the original DIE HARD look like a model of realism.  It doesn't help that grand finale, where McClane finally gets rid of the last few bad guys in a big way, is simply not physically possible.  I won't spoil it, but there are just too many elements working against it for it to actually happen.

    There is also the "I know what a shark looks like!" JAWS 2 symptom where a character constantly spouts dialogue that reminds us that, yes, this is a sequel to a movie you all know and love.  In this film, Bruce Willis is given tons of dialogue (monologue, really) that references the first movie, and it only serving to remind us how much DIE HARD 2 is desperate to copy the much better DIE HARD.

    However, as a mindless action movie, DIE HARD 2 works, thanks to Willis's portrayal of McClane, and excellent support from Dennis Franz, Fred Dalton Thomas and Art Evans, and plenty of fights, gun battles and explosions.  The villains are not nearly as memorable as Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber, but they are serviceable.  In short, this is a 3-star action movie, good enough for an evening's entertainment but quite a comedown from the five-star original.  3 - JB

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