Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990)
Directed by Renny Harlin
John McClane (Bruce Willis) is back in “Die Hard 2,” the shoot-em-up sequel to the 1988 blockbuster. And this time, 30 stories turns into 30,000 feet in the air when a group of U.S. Army soldiers turned mercenaries blackmail D.C.’s biggest airport on Christmas Eve (again) in order to save a captured foreign dictator. In a crowded airport with overbooked planes, the stakes are much, much higher.
It doesn’t take long for the guns to start blazing. After all, look who’s shooting. “Die Hard 2” has some amusing nods to its predecessor, but eventually it all becomes a big joke. Looking for a filler line? Why don’t you mention something about the first movie…that’ll remind them of better times. And that’s exactly what it is. Maybe if you remember the first one for just a second, the second doesn’t seem so bad. It doesn’t work.
There’s mystery and suspense in not knowing what’s underfoot, but “Die Hard 2” seems like it has a giant secret and it’s not letting you in on it. The secret I’m referring to is the “why” behind the film’s unexpected twist. Where a backstory would be helpful, we get nothing but a giant camouflage veil. Even so, that shocking turn of events saves this from what would have been a clunker – a summer blockbummer. Of course, I wouldn’t spoil it for the world.
Disregarding the surprising U-turn and the events that follow, “Die Hard 2” lacks the constant excitement that the first movie seemed to have. This thriller is slow and calculating, but not in the good way. It doesn’t lead us to the conclusion, it loses us somewhere in the process. Sure, there are some exciting parts. But for John McClane (donned in a more appropriate winter wear, a thick tan sweater) it’s pretty weak.
“Die Hard 2” does not, as the title suggests, die harder than its predecessor. But it puts up a good fight.