Sunday, January 30, 2011

Die Hard 2 [Die Hard 2: Die Harder] - 2/5

When it comes to "Die Hard" films, there seems to be a line drawn in the sand for "Die Hard 2". It's definitely a love it or hate it kind of film for sure. As one can tell from my rating, the 'Die Harder' entry is significantly weaker than its predecessor and I happen to be the 'hate' side of said fence. Although the action is solid, the story is far weaker, even more ridiculous, and its inability to blend the humor and the action like the first film makes for a fun watch but a rather weak one.

John McClane (Willis) is in DC to meet his wife at the airport on Christmas Eve. The man who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time seems to have stuck action gold again as terrorists hijack the entire airport (yes, the ENTIRE airport) to break out a drug lord on his way there for trial. Now its a race against time to stop these mercenaries before his wife's plane runs out of fuel and crashes. Bullets will fly. Bodies will fly. Blood will fly. Curse words will fly. But the planes may not.

Despite the action brilliance of the original "Die Hard", this inevitable sequel seems to rather drag its heels on giving us the things that made the original one such a damn thrill ride. Oh it doubles the action (and explosions by wrecking two, read that again, two fucking planes), but it lacks the cohesiveness and charm that made the first one so good. McClane ceases to be the 'everyman' he was and has now become a franchise hero instead. His odd placed one liners and humor seems almost forced. Occasionally it works, the 'oh shit' as he descends from his ejector seat is nicely timed, but its rather ill written the majority of the time.

The film also lacks the realism of the surrealistic circumstances for our hero. Although when one thought about "Die Hard" it was out there, at the time it felt like it could happen. Not with "Die Hard 2". Its out there. As action films got bigger and bigger in the 90s, they also got dumber and dumber. Although terrorists in an airport seems legit, the rapid fire twists and turns that this film takes make for a rather outrageous watch. It quickly circles the 'really?!' drain more and more as it goes on. Fun, but it's rarely believable.

What "Die Hard 2" does rock is some seriously cool action scenes. It's slightly heavier on the violence and blood, McClane does bite off a man's finger, and the film focuses on this. This works. After our initial scene to set up the players and location (which takes like 10 minutes since there is no character arches here), the film pretty much goes into a sprint from there. Explosions. Snowmobile chases. Shoot outs. And of course, William Sadler doing naked martial arts...hold on. Wait. No that's not a positive part of this movie, sorry. Otherwise it cranks on the adrenaline meter and never turns it down.

If you want a non-serious and ridiculous action film, then "Die Hard 2" will work for you. Compared to the original its lackluster and poorly constructed, but its still fun. By far the weakest entry for the franchise as far as I'm concerned. 

Written By Matt Reifschneider

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