on 23 January 2014
Once again, John McClane is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This time he's waiting for his wife's plane to arrive at Washington's Dulles Airport when he uncovers a plot to sabotage the airport's landing system.
The criminals wish to free a drug baron being extradited to America for trial by holding the airport to ransom until they all safely escape on another plane.
However, if they'd known that Holly McClane was on a flight home to the very airport they were hijacking, they would have picked another day....
Round two of the Franchise, isn't a patch on the first movie, but it's still a bast of a movie. Harlin has a lot of flair when it comes to directing action scenes, but lets himself go a bit when it comes to more dramatic scenes.
and this is the films weak spot. Whenever we are located in the tower, the film loses it's edge, and Franz really overdoes his head cop role, and almost heads into pantomime villain mode.
But it's still a solid movie, Willis is really comfortable in his role, and the cast are also great.
The set pieces are great, and even 22 years later, the special effects and pyrotechnics really hold up.
So well worth seeing, a really great movie, but in my opinion, the weakest of the series.
Since I enjoyed Die Hard when I saw it a few months back, I took advantage of a recent chance to watch the sequel Die Hard 2 - Die Harder. Despite the unoriginal name, the movie does a good job of taking the same characters and putting them in another suspenseful situation that doesn't feel too much like a retread.
It’s just before Christmas, and John McClane (Bruce Willis) is in Washington DC for the holiday. He headed there a few days early with his kids, and now he’s returned to Dulles to pick up his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) whose plane is a little late.
While he’s waiting, he sees some men behaving strangely. He follows them and gets shot at for his efforts. But trying to convince Captain Lorenzo (Dennis Franz) of the airport police that something sinister is going on is all but impossible.
That is until the terrorists take over the airport. They control all the electronics and will keep all the planes in the air circling until their demands are met. They want a deposed president who has been arrested under the War on Drugs to be freed. But McClane is not going to let that happen without a fight. Will he be able to stop them before his wife’s plane runs out of fuel?
As with the first movie, this one follows a pretty basic action movie formula. I’m not saying that isn’t entertaining, but it also means I’m not quite on the edge of my seat for some of the action scenes. Others have me glued to the screen. Go figure.
I am actually impressed that they found a way to recreate the basics of the first movie so it familiar enough to be a sequel without it feeling like they are just rehashing the same things. What do I mean? McClane is trying to rescue his wife from terrorists, but the terrorists want different things and the danger she is in is completely different.
Another sign of that is that only four of the characters from the first movie made it back. Even at that, Reginald VelJohnson’s LA police officer Al Powell is basically reduced to a well-used cameo. He provides some useful information, but they didn’t try to drag him into the action across the country any more than that. Playing a bigger part is William Atherton’s reporter Richard Thornburg. He’s just as big a pain as he was in the first movie, although there are more laughs at his expense. Honestly, I’m wondering why he is there other than to give Holly something to do besides wait patiently in the plane. Really, their sub-plot is pretty much pointless and leads to one of the most nonsensical scenes of the movie.
Another strike against this film is the villain. William Sadler’s Colonel Stuart is evil, and he shows it, but he doesn’t feel as well defined as the villain in the first movie. Still, it’s easy to root for him to lose.
I was surprised at some of the people who showed up in supporting roles. We’ve got Fred Thompson as the head of the communications area of the airport and Star Trek: Deep Space 9’s Colm Meaney as a pilot of a plane stuck in the air. John Amos is also here as an army major brought in to fight against the terrorists. Needless to say, the entire cast is great in their parts. While some of the characters could have been stronger, that’s more in the writing than the acting.
While I did say earlier that the action scenes didn’t quite have me on the edge of my seat, that’s not to say the action isn’t good. As you’d expect, there are lots of great stunts.
Released in 1990, elements of the film are a little dated – mainly hair and clothing styles. The special effects are not dated, and I believed everything I saw on the screen.
Like the first movie, this one earns its R rating from plenty of foul language and violence. This isn't a kid's movie, but adults should enjoy it.
No, Die Hard 2 - Die Harder doesn’t quite live up to the original. But it is a worthy sequel will keep you entertained.
John McClane is back! This time it's an airport he has to save from destruction - and he's pretty much alone on his crusade. When he sees a gang of misfits breaking into the luggage area, John gets rightfully suspicious; but the Captain thinks it's just punks fooling around. How wrong is he?
With John facing an apocalypse if he doesn't restore control, and he's got few friends, and a lot of enemies including mercs and the lack of cooperation from the police.
Another fine film, thankfully remastered for Blu-Ray disk. The picture is beautiful and full framed, running at a staggering 30MB/s average, and the tru-HD sound at 20MB/s is absolutely amazing. It really does feel like you're in the cinema. There are two languages: French and Spanish, and the commentary from director Renny Harlin, which is quite interesting. The 1080p transfer is a big welcome, as it's smooth, and colourful, and a beauty to watch.
The extras are the best I've seen in a while: 4 deleted scenes which are pretty good, the making of, a featurette about the bad guys, a documentary: Die Harder: The Making of Die Hard 2 and some trailers. If you really like these Die Hard films, I think you're really going to be in your element with this Blu-Ray disk.
The film itself is a masterpiece, with Bruce Willis having some great lines and action sequences. Also some great lines from Mrs McClane (Bonnie Bedelia) on the plane. It's not the best Die Hard, but it's in order of 3,1,2,4 for me.
Definitely worth getting if you love the series, and to show off your high def kit.
on 10 May 2016
The bar had been set very high by the original and this first sequel certainly doesn't up the ante or bring anything particularly fresh to the table. That being said, it's still an entertaining follow up, which delivers solid action and plenty of thrills, albeit with less wit and charm than its predecessor.
on 8 January 2015
With the success of the 1988 movie, obviously there was going to be a sequel : it keeps some continuity of the original, however if one is after an average storyline and plenty of action scenes, then "Hard 2" is a good choice.
Just don't expect the 1990 episode to be like the first one.
on 8 June 2014
The DVD artwork received was not as advertised. Instead of the original cover, Amazon shamelessly sent some new design, which is terrible.
Fortunately the movie itself is the true original version.
"Die Hard" has become the standard by which every action film made since 1988 has been judged and almost invariably found wanting. Films were sold in Hollywood on the basis of being reduced to such ideas as "'Die Hard' in a bus" (i.e, "Speed"). Of course another Hollywood tradition is to make a sequel of any successful film, so in 1990 Bruce Willis went back in front of the camera, this time with director Renny Harlin ("The Long Kiss Goodnight"), to do a sequel. "Die Hard 2: Die Harder" is not as good as the original, but it does have a self-reflexivity that (for the most part) makes this film work. Ultimately I would rate this at 4.5 stars, but by the standard of sequels that is an exceptional accomplishment, so I round up.
The plot for "Die Hard 2," which is more unsettling today than it was at the time, has a group of terrorists taking control of Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C in order to secure the release of a South American drug lord (Franco Nero) on his way to the United States for trial. If their demands are not met, they are going to start crashing the circling airplanes. Once again, John McClane (Willis) is in the wrong place at the wrong time, at the airport to pick up his wife, Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), who is on one of those circling airliners. McClane picks up on something wrong and when the airport cops refuse to take it seriously he starts pursuing it on his own, getting in deeper and deeper into the situation. Soon it is clear that what we have here is "Die Hard" in an airport.
As I indicated above, the self-reflexivity of the film works in its favor for the most part. The exception to this idea is when McClane repeats the "Yippie-kay-yay" line from the first film, albeit in a large context this time around, put the best example is when a bewildered Holly turns to her husband and asks "Why do these things keep happening to us?" Otherwise, throughout the film what McClane did at the Nakatomi Building comes into play as various characters either dismiss him out of hand or take him seriously because of his reputation. The first time around it was his anonimity that was one of his biggest weapons; this time his "fame" is a double-edged sword.
In many ways this sequel follows the original. But the scope has been enlarged as other parties besides the terrorists become much more problematic for our hero than they were the first time around. Plus, this time McClane gets to keep his shoes on, which is good because there is a blizzard going on in addition to the all the terrorist fun. Actually, there is probably too much going on, because "Die Hard 2" lacks the driving focus of the original. It also lacks as strong of a villain, with William Sadler's Colonel Stewart being restrained to the point of inertness. Granted, it would be hard to top Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber, but they certainly could have found something and someone that would have worked a lot better.
They could not work Reginald Veljohnson in for anything more than a cameo in this one, but the cinematic law of convenient coincidences finds William Atherton's slimy reporter stuck on the plane with Holly. Of the new members of the supporting cast Art Evans as Chief Engineer Leslie Barnes, who can come up with creative problem solving in an emergency, Dennis Franz as Capt. Carmine Lorenzo, the airport chief of security who has no use for McClane, Tom Bower as Marvin, who lives in the bowels of the airport with all of the maps, John Amos as the major from special forces who taught the bad guy everything he knows, and future senator Fred Dalton Thomas as the man in charge of the airport control tower.
In the final analysis despite the problems with this movie, especially in comparison to the original, it is Bruce Willis as John McClane who makes this work because he manages to keep his character as more or less a real person in extraordinary circumstances. He is not as strong as Stallone or Swarzenegger and he is not as smart as Harrison Ford or whoever is playing James Bond in any given year. But he has enough to get the job done. More importantly, I did not have the sense of disappointment that so often comes at the end of movies with this one, which is a pretty good bottom line for anything coming out of Hollywood. We will have to see what happens with the upcoming "Die Hard 4.0" next year.
on 21 March 2014
The film is in great order and perfect for getting my wife to watch action films she only recently watched the first die hard movie. Roll on the next film
The first, and worst, sequel to Die Hard (until Die Hard 4, if you count that as a real Die Hard film), is terrorized by the same plot as the original. While waiting for his wife's plane to arrive at Dulles Airport (on Xmas Eve), McClane notices a few suspicious exchanges between a group of men amidst the busy yuletide passengers.
Before you know he is neck deep in trouble with an army of mercenaries, led by Colonel Stewart (William Sadler), who are hell-bent on setting free a corrupt South American General/Drug Baron (Franco Nero). There are more bad guys than before. And more suspension of disbelief is required.
There are so many plot holes and illogical moments that the film almost drowns in its own absurdity. But there is enough action and stunts to cancel it out and distract our attention. Though they not presented in a breathtaking or memorable way. It's all too generic and a bit mean-spirited. No audience nowadays would be satisfied with it so prepare yourself for 80's violence with lots of superfluous F-Bombs.
William Sadler and Franco Nero lack the callous efficiency of Alan Rickman. And a hero can only be measured by his nemesis. But most of the time McClane is just capping off nameless Mercs. How boring. Tho this should not be blamed on Sadler, he has a threatening and intense presence and as he has proven himself in movies like Trespass and Demon Knight. Too bad his character here is so badly written and underdeveloped. I'm sorry but blowing up 250 people off-screen to show how evil you are just won't cut it.
This movie without a doubt certified Renny Harlin as an action director. It was a tough, and huge, movie to pull off. Only he just did it off with no particular charm, it's very workman-like. Though he does a wonderful job of capturing the look and feel of an East Coast winter. The wide-open snowfields and ice-covered runways will definitely make you feel chilly and gives it a more Xmas-y look than the first film.
Although this is another problem. The first Die Hard worked entirely within the space of Nakatomi Plaza. It was claustrophobic and almost plausible. The scale and scope of Die Hard 2 is too big for its own good. The staples of reality are ripped out with ignorance and over-confidence. The bulk of the film is nothing but one dumb action scene after another. It doesn't make for coherent viewing.
Die Hard 2 is a definite lag in between both of McTiernan's very strong outings. By today's standards it seems dated and very 90's. Which is a shame considering the original and 'With A Vengeance' are, in a way, 'timeless'. It's movies like this that inspired 'Last Action Hero'.
Filmed in Panavision, the 2.35:1 1080p picture is superb looking with true blacks (a lot of this film is set at night) and nice fleshtones. Fire effects and colors look beautifully orange and overall the quality is top notch. The gunshots are loud and ferocious in DTS HD-MA. All explosions and every punch and kick are rendered with amazing clarity. Some of the surrounds tend to stick to mono but the plane crash in the middle of the movie will convince it is actually happening in your living room. Dialogue scenes tend to stick to the front speaker, and the musical score by Michael Kamen is well recorded and is sure to excite.
Renny Harlin's commentary is much more interesting that John McTiernan's fatigued and labored effort on the first movie. Harlin talks about the characters more and how he prefers his movies to be in terms of motivation and why characters should smoke only if it is necessary. Among other things. Such as how many of the effects he did then, in many different ways, would be so much quicker and easier to do today in Digital CGI.
The Featurette was made for Fox TV back in 1990 and it is a bit better than the usual, self-congratulatory nonsense that bogs down most featurettes. But it still can't resist talking about how 'great' the movie is. Tho thanks to this extra we now know that most of the snow in the movie is shredded soap. A second, 4-minute, Featurette is basically an extended trailer.
There are a few deleted scenes that are not that interesting and it's easy to see why they were cut from the film. Although the alternate scene on how McClane gets to the Annex Skywalk (The Boiler Room) is quite cool.
The interview with Renny Harlin and the Villain's Profile are promotional titbits in which they discuss how to direct a high-concept sequel and how to be an evil bad guy.
Behind the scenes and storyboards focuses on 2 scenes. The first is 'Breaking the Ice' and the second is 'Chaos on the Conveyor Belt'. The storyboard and film comparison is for the 'Skywalk Ambush' sequence.
Visual effects breakdowns explore, in great length and tedious, repetitive slo-mo, the Ejector seat scene and the Airport Runway. These are basically green-screen evolutions. The other model effects scenes broken down are 'Chopper', 'Airplane Models' and 'Wing Fight'.
Just brilliant a great movie