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Movie Reviews

Die Hard 2



Released: August 17th 1990 UK)

Director: Renny Harlin

Stars: Bruce Willis, William Sadler

Certificate: 18 (UK)

Reviewer: Richard O’Toole

The second instalment of the Die Hard series is based loosely on Walter Wagers novel 58 Minutes. Again it’s set at Christmas time and once again it’s John McClane (Bruce Willis) who is going to have to save the day (well, airport). Almost immediately we learn that McClane is now LAPD (showing that regardless of how tough you are, your wife will always get her own way). In this case McClane had to up sticks and move to Los Angeles to be with his wife Holly McClane (Bonnie Bedelia) and children.

The narrative truly begins when McClane is innocently having a drink and a smoke at the airport bar. With his eagle eyes he spots two suspicious men, of course he decides to follow them and notices they enter a restricted area of the airport. He pursues them, which leads to a two on one brawl in the luggage department. Whilst shouting out witty one liners like ‘What is this? A tag team?!’ he manages to kill one of the bad guys and later discovers the guy has already been registered as dead. Uh oh, something major is going down and once again John McClane is a part of it.

It turns out that the man he killed was once part of the U.S. Special Forces and his team is led by Colonel Stuart (William Sadler). Their aim is to rescue super-terrorist-drug-lord General Ramon Esperanza (Franco Nero) who is currently flying to New York. To do this they seize control of the airports air traffic control tower and turn off all the runway lights. Meaning Holly’s aeroplane won’t be able to land and having learned the nuisance that is Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) is also on her flight it’s a double header of bad news. After discovering Holly’s aeroplane doesn’t have enough fuel to keep circling above, McClane begins to kick ass.

Die Hard 2 is seen by many as the most pointless of the series. Where as the other films in the Die Hard series are tied together some how, Die Hard 2 has very little to do with the overall series progression and could have quite easily been skipped. I’m personally glad they didn’t skip it. Anyone who watches this film expecting an amazing narrative is clearly going to be let down, this type of film is for people who love watching action mixed with comedy and with Die Hard this comes in the form of John McClane.

Willis once again provides a brilliant performance as McClane, juggling between tough guy, family man and comedy genius. I thought the character of Col. Stuart lacked significantly to Die Hard’s Hans Gruber, but Sadler did what he could with the role – though it could have done without the nude karate.

Harlin’s direction of the film is nothing to scream about, it sees numerous Hollywood action sequences of things blowing up and people being shot, along with what must be one of the first snowmobile chase sequences ever.

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