Anthony's Film Review

Die Hard 2 (1990)

The sequel to Die Hard is not as great as the original, but it's something...

It's practically a Hollywood rule of thumb that any blockbuster movie that is very entertaining (or even just entertaining enough) will have a sequel. The 1988 action movie Die Hard thrilled so many action movie lovers, with its great action, character, and story, and it's no exception to the sequel rule. Hence, we have the 1990 sequel Die Hard 2, which brings back Bruce Willis as tough cop John McClane but moves him from the Nakatomi Corporation building in Los Angeles to Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC. If a bloody duel against terrorists is exciting in a skyscraper, surely it can work if the setting is a busy airport.

Much of this review will involve me comparing Die Hard 1 and Die Hard 2. First, I will say that Die Hard 2 is not as good as the first Die Hard. At the same time, it's not bad either. It's still pretty good.

The first thing that I noticed was the setup and pacing. In Die Hard 1, it takes a while for McClane to meet up with his wife in the Nakatomi building and for the terrorists to execute their plan. Die Hard 2 also involves a setup that takes a while, because McClane is at Dulles waiting to pick up his wife flying into town, but notices some suspicious men whom he discovers to be professional terrorists. There is an action scene at that point, but after that, there is more drama without action as McClane has to put up with airport police, including its inept chief played by Dennis Franz. As a result, Die Hard 2 seems to start off slower than Die Hard 1.

Another thing that is better in Die Hard 1 than Die Hard 2 is the villain. The first movie has Alan Rickman in a fine performance as German terrorist Hans Gruber. In Die Hard 2, the villain, also a terrorist, seems more like a cardboard movie villain, not as memorable as Hans Gruber. What's also noticably absent is the cat-and-mouse game. Die Hard 1 involves the good guy and the bad guy making their moves carefully to not give the other side an advantage. In Die Hard 2, the villain is in hiding, and all McClane can really do is survive while scrambling to find out where the villain is operating from.

So this is enough for me to not rate Die Hard 2 as high as Die Hard 1. With that said, there are two good things that are still present: the protagonist and the action. John McClane is as cool of a tough guy as in Die Hard 1, and it's just as fun to listen to his witty remarks in various scenes. As for the action, what can I say? It's bloody and brutal, but exciting and a whole lot of fun. Keep in mind that, because of the slow setup, you'll have to wait until the second hour of the movie to really see all of this. But once you get past that, it'll be a fun ride until the very end.

In conclusion, Die Hard 2 deserves a rating that is lower than that of Die Hard 1, but not so much lower that it ends up in the part of my rating spectrum reserved for bad movies. This is still a good one. So while you shouldn't expect a sequel that is as great as Die Hard 1, rest assured that it's still a worthy part of the Die Hard series. This is a movie where you can still utter McClane's famous line: "Yippie Ki-Yay m_____." Maybe not with great enthusiasm, but with some excitement nonetheless.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Die Hard 2, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my review of the following:

The Die Hard Films


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